The Reason Why 'Doritos Breath' Stopped Being a Problem

iStock/FotografiaBasica
iStock/FotografiaBasica

In the 1960s, Frito-Lay marketing executive Arch West returned from a family vacation in California singing the praises of toasted tortillas he had sampled at a roadside stop. In 1972, his discovery morphed into Doritos, a plain, crispy tortilla chip that was sprinkled with powdered gold in the form of nacho cheese flavoring.

Doritos enthusiasts were soon identifiable by the bright orange cheese coating that covered their fingers. But there was another giveaway that they had been snacking: a garlic-laden, oppressive odor emanating from their mouths. The socially stigmatizing condition became known as "Doritos breath." And while the snack still packs a potent post-mastication smell, it’s not nearly as severe as it was in the 1970s and 1980s. So what happened?

Like most consumer product companies, Frito-Lay regularly solicits the opinions of focus groups on how to improve their products. The company spent more than a decade compiling requests, which eventually boiled down to two recurring issues: Doritos fans wanted a cheesier taste, and they also wanted their breath to stop wilting flowers.

The latter complaint was not considered a pressing issue. Despite their pungent nature, Doritos were a $1.3 billion brand in the early 1990s, so clearly people were willing to risk interpersonal relationships after inhaling a bag. But in the course of formulating a cheesier taste—which the company eventually dubbed Nacho Cheesier Doritos—they found that it altered the impact of the garlic powder used in making the chip. Infused with the savory taste known as umami, the garlic powder was what gave Doritos their lingering stink. Tinkering with the garlic flavoring had the unintended—but very happy—consequence of significantly reducing the smell.

“It was not an objective at all,” Stephen Liguori, then-vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay, told the Associated Press in April 1992. “It turned out to be a pleasant side effect of the new and improved seasoning.”

Frito-Lay offered snack-sized bags of the new flavor and enlisted former heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman to promote it. Ever since, complaints of the scent of Doritos wafting from the maws of co-workers have been significantly reduced, and the Nacho Cheesier variation has remained the Doritos flavor of choice among consumers.

When Arch West died in 2011 at the age of 97, his family decided to sprinkle Doritos in his grave. They were plain. Not because of the smell, but because his daughter, Jana Hacker, believed that mourners wouldn’t want nacho cheese powder on their fingers.

Move Over, Gritty: Whizzy the Geno's Cheesesteak Is Philadelphia's Newest Mascot

Meet Whizzy: The new mascot at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia.
Meet Whizzy: The new mascot at Geno's Steaks in Philadelphia.

When you think of the characters that represent Philadelphia, you might picture Gritty, the Phillie Phanatic, or a Benjamin Franklin impersonator looting a Wawa after the Super Bowl. Now, there's a new mascot presiding over the city of brotherly love. As The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Geno's Steaks is now home to Whizzy—a giant, anthropomorphic cheesesteak with a perpetual smile.

Geno's, known for its cheesesteaks and glowing neon facade, is a Philly institution. The restaurant's new mascot is the product of more than eight months of redesigns. His name, an homage to Geno's classic steak sandwich with Cheez Whiz, also went through a several iterations, including "Whiz Head," before the name Whizzy became official.

Geno's Steaks unveiled Whizzy to the world on Monday, October 21. The costumed character has all the elements of a Geno's cheesesteak, with a body consisting a long roll stuffed with cheese, onions, and thinly sliced rib-eye. But unlike the fare you'd normally fine at Geno's, this cheesesteak also has limbs and a face—and barely fits inside the kitchen.

The mascot's debut kicked off Geno's "week of giving." On Tuesday, Whizzy and Geno's owner Geno Vento will deliver a $1500 check to Easterseals, a nonprofit dedicated to children and adults with disabilities, and on Thursday, they will give a check in the same amount to the Engine 10 fire station in South Philly. Geno's will also hand out free coupons and cheesesteaks in honor of the week.

Pat's King of Steaks, Geno's competitor across the street, tells The Inquirer they have no plans to come up with a rival mascot as of yet.

[h/t The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Starbucks Has a New Phantom Frappuccino That’s All Black and Covered With Slime

Starbucks EMEA
Starbucks EMEA

Starbucks is about to release a beverage that looks suspiciously like something Hocus Pocus’s Sanderson sisters might brew in their human-sized cauldron.

If the Tie-Dye Frappuccino was Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, the Phantom Frappuccino is absolutely the Wicked Witch of the West. It’s a sinister-looking mixture of black sludge and green slime, and it seems about as edible as an oil spill.

However, if you’re familiar with the Broadway musical Wicked, you know that Oz's famous villain was tragically misunderstood based partially on her off-putting appearance—so, too, is the Phantom Frappuccino. According to Delish, it’s actually refreshingly fruity, and vegan to boot. The drink contains coconut milk, mango, pineapple essence, crème Frappuccino syrup, and charcoal powder, and the slime is a combination of lime juice, lemon juice, more charcoal powder, and spirulina extract (which is green).

It’s a welcome break for anybody who started sipping pumpkin spice lattes way back in August and is already experiencing burnout. Unfortunately for Americans, this ghoulish drink is only available in Europe; Starbucks is launching it on October 26 for five days only.

An impulse jaunt across the pond for the sole purpose of getting your hands on a delightfully evil-looking Frappuccino might not be the best financial decision, but you can always concoct your own at home—activated charcoal is used in everything from toothpaste to skincare products, and you can buy a whole pound of the powder on Amazon for just $12.

[h/t Delish]

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