Frito-Lay Just Launched Certified Organic Doritos

Frito-Lay has unveiled new organic Doritos as part of its Simply snack line, which is now comprised of 11 items including preservative-free versions of sea salt Ruffles, Tostitos Scoops, and cheddar-jalapeño Cheetos.

Many news outlets have already noted that this release is perfectly timed to Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market.

“Whole Foods was pretty against the idea of Ruffles on the chip aisle (to say nothing of Cheetos or Funyons),” Grub Street writes, noting that if Amazon seeks to expand Whole Foods at a rate that smaller brands can’t keep up with, “Amazon might turn to Big Food to pick up the slack, assuming it has products that tick off the right organic boxes.”

Market analyst Ali Dibadj of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. agrees.

“Amazon’s acquisition makes it much more likely that Whole Foods will carry these better-for-you brands, even if they’re made by large incumbent CPG players,” he told Bloomberg. “The smaller brands just can’t keep up with the spending and velocity required from Amazon anymore. We expect Whole Foods to carry more – and more big brands too.”

This announcement is in line with Frito-Lay parent company PepsiCo’s other moves toward products appealing to natural shoppers, including its release of organic Gatorade last summer. PepsiCo executive Jonathan McIntyre told Bloomberg that natural products like the new organic Doritos are currently the biggest source of growth for the industry, so this new release is the perfect way for the brand to reach the ever-growing community of organic food shoppers.

“The notion of clean and simple is very important to a segment of consumers,” Frito-Lay Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Saenz told Bloomberg. “They’re searching for that.”

To help its products appeal to these customers while they peruse grocery aisles, Frito-Lay has modified its signature packaging. Organic Doritos and other items in the new line feature “Simply” in large capital letters above a smaller brand logo.

“The challenge is, will Cheetos ever connote ‘good for you’? That’s a difficult premise to work on,” Dibadj said. “But perhaps Cheetos Simply can connote ‘better for you,’ and that might be enough for some consumers.”

The endeavor has already received a myriad of skeptical op-ed responses, including one from Forbes contributor Brian Freedman, who notes the danger of this “veneer of healthfulness” with regard to organic yet highly processed packaged items. Clark Wolf, also writing for Forbes, calls the new chips “certified organic junk food.”

The new white cheddar flavored organic Doritos contain as much fat and 81 percent the sodium of regular nacho cheese Doritos. They also contain ten extra calories per serving.

Grub Street reports that as compared to regular nacho cheese Doritos, the ingredient list of the new organic Doritos is “Shorter, but still incredibly long.”

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Emily Monaco is a food and culture writer based in Paris. Her work has been featured in the Wall... More about Emily Monaco