In addition to owning Quaker Oats and Gatorade , PepsiCo also owns Frito-Lay , which encompasses Tostitos, Doritos, Cheetos, Sunchips, Fritos, and Lay’s potato chips. Here in the U.S., we’re familiar with our standard chip flavors: ranch, nacho cheese, harvest cheddar, etc., but did you ever stop to think that maybe the folks over in China aren’t so fond of ranch? Or maybe people in Brazil don’t think nacho cheese is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Well PepsiCo did. They recognize these cultural variances in taste preference, and deliver their products in unique flavors all over the world!
Now, lucky for us Nutrition Communications interns, our fellow intern Leia had the inside hook-up with a foreign chip dealer (i.e., her mom works for PepsiCo and receives product samples from around the world). So we got our hands on some foreign chip products and decided to take our foodie taste buds on a cultural whirl.
First up was Lay’s Max, Hot Chili Squid flavor – a chip flavor native to Taiwan. As you can see, Ashley was a little apprehensive about this flavor, as we all were. Upon opening the bag, our intern room was immediately filled with what smelled like rancid seafood. We proceeded to pass the bag around like hot potato, until it finally landed on Jacqui as the first guinea pig to test them out. “Hmmm… tastes like chili, not so much seafood,” she mused, though she kept her fingers over her nose to ward off the smell coming from the bag.
One by one the rest of us gave in, and we each gave the chips a go. In the end we agreed that it was not so much the seafood taste that was the problem, as much as it was the smell.
Next up were Star Chips, in Cheese and Onion from Poland. These gems weren’t nearly as pungent as the Hot Chili Squid ones. They actually didn’t taste much like anything at all; kind of a weird cardboard texture, with a very bland flavor. After subjecting our taste buds to the Hot Chili Squid, Poland seemed pretty boring.
Brazil graced us with Cream Cheese flavored Ruffles, which actually tasted and smelled more like parmesan cheese, but were surprisingly tasty!
Then we tried two semi-Americanized flavors: Barbeque Ribs Ruffles from Brazil, and TeriyakiDoritos from Japan.
I have to say that these were the two favorites of the group (not surprisingly), though we were a little perplexed as to why the Teriyaki Doritos had a graphic of a burger on the bag?? Not typically what I think of when I think teriyaki…
Last but not least came the most bizarre one of the pack: Spicy Seafood Lay’s from Thailand. Leia won first tasting rights to these treats (doesn’t she look excited?!).
The graphic on the bag depicted flavors including lobster, crab, limes, chili peppers, and fire – just what you look for in a mid-afternoon snack, right?? These suckers were HOT!Luckily no rancid seafood taste or smell from this flavor, just tasted like a TONof wasabi mixed with lime juice.
We were extremely intrigued by the bag and the flavors, so we went online and found the accompanying commercial which has since provided us with countless hours of entertainment and laughs – check it out!
“Ah! Spicy Seafood!”
All in all it was an extremely interesting experience to see first-hand how widely taste preferences vary around the globe. Our office smelled like squid the rest of the day, but I think we all felt a little more worldly!