A 'lady-friendly' Doritos concept has been slammed as sexist for what appears to be an underlying belief that women need to be more quiet and cause less mess while munching on the popular snack.
Doritos’ parent company PepsiCo has been widely criticised after its CEO suggested the popular corn chips brand was preparing to launch a lady-friendly version.
It is what makes the chip lady-friendly that has caused the stir.
Speaking with podcast Freakonomics, Indra Nooyi told Stephen Dubner that women eat the tortilla chips differently to men, and need a product that doesn’t crunch as loudly, doesn’t leave flavouring stuck to their fingers, and could fit in their handbags.
“When you eat out of a flex bag — one of our single-serve bags — especially as you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and 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, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavour, and the broken chips in the bottom,” she said.
“Women would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavour into their mouth.”
When pressed by Dubner on whether such a product was in the works, she said there would be an imminent roll-out.
“It’s not a male and female as much as ‘are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?’ And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon,” she replied.
“For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavour stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”
Unsurprisingly, the comments have been deemed sexist and copped plenty of backlash both in mainstream and social media.
Feature writer for The Telegraph UK, Eleanor Steafel said the marketing concept was patronising at best.
“Gosh, it really is so kind of PepsiCo to think of us ladies languishing in our little flavourless world. I have thought many a time, while munching on a cheesy snack on a train, of simply strapping my crisp packet to my face like a small foil feedbag in order to really make sure I’m getting the full flavour experience,” she began.
I have thought many a time… of simply strapping my crisp packet to my face like a small foil feedbag in order to really make sure I’m getting the full flavour experience.
“Not wishing to look like a two legged horse, I’ve always refrained and picked daintily at my crisps like the lady I am. And then there are those pesky crumbs which get on your fingers – absolute nightmare to clean off, they are. Thank goodness these new crisps will leave my mits clean as a whistle.
“This is gendered advertising gone mad. First they came for our pens (cast your memory back to the time BIC tried to bring out a lady pen, for dainty lady fingers – come to think of it, why do ad agencies have a creepy obsession with our hands?), now they’re coming for our crisps. Advertisers should take note: if you want women to buy your product, perhaps try not to patronise them in your ad campaign.”
Also unsurprisingly, PepsiCo has done an about-turn, and said Nooyi’s comments were misinterpreted.
“We already have Doritos for women – they’re called Doritos, and they’re enjoyed by millions of people every day,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
“At the same time, we know needs and preferences continue to evolve and we’re always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers.”
Way to read the room, Doritos. pic.twitter.com/xwWrsznZbn
— Late Night with Seth Meyers (@LateNightSeth) February 6, 2018
women: give us equal pay, stop harassing us, stop literally threatening our lives
brands: how about quiet doritos for women?
women: no, that's–
brands: snacks you can fit into your purse!
women: what? no–
brands: a pen that's comfy for your lady hands!
— Sammy Nickalls 🧚♀️ (@sammynickalls) February 5, 2018
Thank god because my fragile, feminine, woman jaw just about breaks every time I have a normal dorito. By the time I finish a bag, I’ve already been to the hospital 17 times for a shattered lady mandible! It hurts my girlish dainty hands to type this out, but thank you Doritos! https://t.co/sJJ2HsCWYJ
— em 🌿 (@uhhmmily) February 5, 2018