Over the last 15 years I've worked on two projects to develop products that would appeal to Hispanics living in the U.S -- and both failed. You'd think we'd have been successful, since part of Frito-Lay's heritage is rooted in Mexican culture and cuisine. Being a persistent company, we're trying again, and I believe this time we got it right -- because this time we took more steps to make sure we better understand our consumers and their snacking preferences.
Our co-founder, Elmer Doolin, invented Fritos Corn Chips in San Antonio in 1932 by adapting an old Mexican recipe, using the same ingredients we use today. Since 1932 and the merging of the Frito company with the H.W. Lay company, we’ve added other products inspired by foods in Mexico under the Frito-Lay name, such as Tostitos Tortilla Chips and salsa and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
Our approach to developing Hispanic-inspired flavors is different today from in the past, as we have guidance and input from our Adelante employee network –- a multicultural Latino/Hispanic professional organization that seeks to help develop a diverse, inclusive culture at PepsiCo. Adelante helped lead the flavor innovation for our new Hispanic-themed product line, launching this month.
"Adelante convinced Frito-Lay management that we needed authentic flavors and snacks that appeal specifically to Hispanic consumers, the most rapidly growing population in the United States," says Marissa Solis, who was president of Adelente last year and is a manager in our Marketing department. “In 2010, there will be close to 50 million Hispanics in the U.S., with almost 2 million new consumers added every year.”
Marissa adds, "To develop the new flavors and the advertising and marketing programs to support them, several of us in Adelante gathered input from our relatives who recently moved to the U.S. from Mexico. It gave us real-world insights that are difficult to identify through conventional research approaches."
Based on the authentic input that Marissa describes, Adelante, along with Frito-Lay’s Marketing and Research & Development teams, created six new snacks, available in two sizes ($.99 and $1.99), primarily in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Texas and Chicago. The flavors are: Sabritas Chile Piquin and Habanero Limon potato chips, Doritos Toro Habanero and Diablo Enchilado tortilla chips and Cheetos Chile Limon and Salsa Roja cheese curls.
I think the line-up will prove successful. We’re bringing the Sabritas trademark, PepsiCo’s leading chip brand in Mexico, to the U.S., and the two Doritos flavors are authentic, well-known flavors in Mexico. Most importantly, we approached the process the right way -- starting with the Hispanic consumer and involving our customers. I've tried the new products, and while they target Hispanics, they taste great to my Midwestern taste buds. What are your favorite Hispanic products or flavors?