Opinion: Dear PepsiCo, Women Don’t Need Low Crunch Doritos


In what I can only assume was a throwback to the 1950’s, during an interview with Freakonomics Radio PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi made some startling assumptions about the way women snack. In the segment Nooyi mentioned how when young men eat chips, in particular, Doritos, they “lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag, they pour the little, broken pieces into their mouth.”

Nooyi added that “women I think would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And, you know, they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.”

Nooyi mentioned that the company is looking into snacks that can be designed and packaged differently for women, and that they’re getting ready to launch some of them soon. Attributes, she said, include “low-crunch,” “not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers,” and be portable in a purse.

Why It’s Problematic

While I’m certain that Indra Nooyi’s comments weren’t intended to propagate sexist stereotypes and instead were a commentary on the way gender norms work in society today (I know I’m still told to ‘sit like a lady’) as she mentions as well that “women I think would love to do the same, but they don’t” her statements are still problematic.

There are certain perceptions in place about  the way women snack, eat, and drink even in ‘liberal societies’ (servers primarily focus on the male as it’s assumed that they will pay the bill and hence the tip, a beer, and a cocktail are ordered the cocktail immediately goes in front of the woman and the beer in front of the man, etc). Especially in India, there is a direct link between food and sexism as Rituparna Chatterjee’s thread on Twitter points out.

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These less crunchy, less flavorful chips are symbolic of the way women are consciously or subconsciously ‘told how to behave’ not to mention, we’re, of course, charged more for the ‘additional attributes’ (lest we forget the Bic pens for women).

In the end, I agree with Kim Bongiorno’s list of questions which PepsiCo really should answer.

PepsiCo, if you want to make Doritos for women, just make Doritos – but cheaper because of the gender wage gap, oh, and they don’t have to be pink or purple.

Christina George

Compulsive junk food eater, football watcher, and book reader. Hate the unicorn trend, love laughing at my own jokes; also, sometimes I write about food.

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