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10 Cheesy Cheetos Facts That You Never Knew

There are plenty of salty snacks that get lost in the shuffle, but Cheetos are a Cheesy treat that has long been a favorite with snackers around the world. You are likely familiar with both the puffy and crunchy varieties of Cheetos, but there is a lot more to learn. 

10. A Salty Fix

When it comes to Cheetos and other salty snacks it seems like one is never enough and we can quickly find ourselves reaching our orange stained fingers into an empty bag looking for more. This isn’t surprising because they taste so good, but is there more to it than this? People have studied the airy consistency of the puffy Cheetos and have found that this design helps to fool the snacker’s brain into thinking that many fewer calories are being consumed than is actually the case. This type of product engineering isn’t restricted to Cheetos or even to salty snacks. The food and beverage industries want us to consume as much of their products as possible – this is simple good business as far as they are concerned. There has been a lot of talk over the years about how McDonald’s supposedly manipulates its French fries recipes with sugar and other ingredients to leave customers craving more of the Golden Arch’s signature fast food staple. Stories abound of snack food manufactures trying to make “addictive” foods so customers will buy more of them. Frito-Lay certainly isn’t the only company that wants us to buy more of its products. But we also have to recognize that eating certain foods can make us feel good, at least in the moment, and helps to explain the powerful allure of our favorite comfort foods. Even if Cheetos aren’t one of your comfort foods their airy, salty goodness make it easy to enjoy them and to over indulge as well. 

9. Cleaning Up With Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

This story deserves to be filed under American Dream: fulfilled. Richard Montanez was working as a janitor, but he had bigger ideas in mind. He loved to eat Cheetos, but they weren’t spicy enough for his tastes so he went to work so he quietly went to work to change this. After some research and experimentation and more than a little taste-testing he came up with a hot and spicy version of his beloved Cheetos snacks. What happened next is the stuff of feel good Hollywood movies. Mr. Montanez was able to convince the snack company to give him a meeting with the CEO to discuss his snack invention. He went to the fateful meeting well prepared with samples and marketing research and succeeded in dazzling the Cheetos people with his new spicy flavor. Montanez was rewarded with an impressive executive vice president position and we were rewarded with the delightful spiciness of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. It is unclear whether Mr. Montanez came up with the catchy name for his new product, but he certainly hit the bull’s eye with his hot take on a cheesy classic. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos has become one of Frito-Lay’s most successful snacks so here’s to Mr. Montanez and his inspiring story. Maybe there are more people out there with the next great Cheetos flavor idea waiting to make us all happy.

8. Making Cheetos ’till the Cows Come Home

Like most modern corporations the folks at Frito-Lay, the folks who make many of our favorite snacks like Doritos, Fritos and Cheetos, keep track of a lot of information about their snacks. Of course they keep track of basic things like sales figures, but many of these statistics they collect concern the logistics behind the production of the snacks many of us enjoy. For instance, the company reports that it uses as many as 11 million gallons of milk a year to produce this savory snack. This massive amount of cows milk is enough to make about 10 million pounds of cheddar cheese. But this particular supply of cheese isn’t destined for your local supermarket because Frito-Lay has other plans for it. This tasty supply cheese is used to make the savory, cheesy powder that gives Cheetos their distinctively sharp, cheese taste that has made this snack so popular around the world. All of this Cheetos production puts a lot of pressure on the cows because this amount of production would require 5,000 cows to each produce an average of 2,200 gallons of milk. The next time you find yourself licking the cheesy powder from your fingers you might want to take a moment to acknowledge the essential contribution of those thousands of cows that made your bag of Cheetos possible!

7. The Cheetos Colorz Caper

Anyone familiar with Cheetos snacks knows that the powdery cheese coating turns your fingers orange. In the early 2000’s Frito-Lay decided to try a new twist on this a develop a line of Cheetos that would turn your tongue, not orange, but either blue or green. These specially made Cheetos were called Cheetos Mystery Colorz. Customers responded with mixed feelings about these unique varieties. Some snackers complained that tiny blue and green specs on these Mystery Colorz reminded them too much of mold. Clearly, this was not the kind of reaction the makers of Cheetos were hoping for when they dreamed these up. Snackers didn’t know whether their tongues would turn blue or green and this element of surprise helped to boost curiosity about these products. However, the novelty soon wore thin and these Mystery Colorz Cheetos were soon discontinued with seemingly little opposition from customers who weren’t as enamored of their stained tongues as Frito-Lay hoped. This idea likely failed because it was too gimmicky. Coloring people’s tongues has nothing to do with flavor and Cheetos lovers crave distinct flavors – not colors. This was one idea from Frito-Lay probably best left on the drawing board. 

6. A Career In Cheetos

So you say you love Cheetos more than anything. How does this sound for a dream job? The Frito-Lay production facilities spread around the world struggle to keep the taste and quality of their products consistently good. One way they do this is to assign employees to periodically taste the Cheetos coming off the assembly lines. These fresh samples are compared to samples sent from Frito-Lay headquarters. First the chemical composition of the fresh Cheetos are tested to make sure everything is all right with the recipe. But then comes the fun part. A batch of Cheetos snacks must be tasted about every four hours by a group of lucky employees who must really like Cheetos. These particular employees are referred to as a quality control panel, but this really just sounds like a group of lucky Cheetos lovers who get to binge on snacks several times a day. Can there be too much of a good thing? Even if you truly love these cheesy snacks would actually having this kind of job ruin these snacks for you? It would probably be worth a try to find out. Who wouldn’t want to get paid to eat one of their favorite snacks?

5. The Gorilla Cheetos

You’ve probably heard about someone seeing the face of Jesus in a home-made tortilla or in a bag of potato chips, but have you heard the one about the Cheetos that looked like Harambe? Harambe was a 17-year-old western lowland gorilla who made the news in 2016 when he was unfortunately killed at a Cincinnati zoo when a kid fell into the gorilla enclosure. Harambe, however, made something of a comeback and made it back into the news when a Cheetos lover reached into a bag of the Flamin’ Hot variety for another handful. The man’s hand came out with a unique looking Cheeto. The young man immediately noticed a resemblance to the recently deceased gorilla and recognized that there might be money to be made with this unique piece of food. This particular Cheeto in question was put up for auction on eBay with the following listing: “I opened up a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and as soon as I looked inside I came across this unique Cheetos that looks like Harambe the gorilla,” the item description read, noting the Flamin’ Hot Harambe measured about 1.5 inches in length.” The bidding started low at around $11.99, but soared as high as $99,700.00 before being sold. It’s not clear what the new owner of the most expensive Cheeto in history did with it. Do you think he ate it or is sitting somewhere under glass?

4. Cheetos For Dinner

How much do you love Cheetos? Do you love this snack enough to scramble to reservations to for pop-up restaurant based on Cheetos recipes? In 2017 thousands of New Yorkers did exactly this so they could be one of the lucky ones to get a taste of these cheesy snack infused dishes. Extra points if you guessed that the name of the trendy restaurant was called The Spotted Cheetah after the Cheetos mascot himself, Chester Cheetah. This New York eatery specialized in everything Cheetos including Cheetos meatballs, mac & cheese with Cheetos on top and even tacos with Cheetos inside. The menu also offered a variety of salads and sandwiches with you guessed it – Cheetos! If you were lucky enough to get a table you had to bring a generous appetite and a big affection for all things cheese and Cheetos. This pop-up restaurant had a good, if a very short run of three days, in New York City. This unique eatery certainly left fans of the cheesy snack wanting more, but like all good things it had to come to and end before its time. However, like some of the discontinued flavors that were returned to the store shelves, perhaps The Spotted Cheetah will be given another chance. This could happen in New York again or perhaps another city hungry for the addictively cheesy taste of Cheetos.

3. It’s A Small Cheetos World

The cheesy goodness of Cheetos snacks aren’t just loved in America they are loved around the world who crave a wide variety of flavors. Frito-Lay can’t satisfy all this international demand just with production facilities located in the U.S. In fact, the snack company has facilities spread around the world in 22 different countries as diverse as Poland, Pakistan and Cyprus. Who knew that Chester Cheetos would become such an international star? Some of these facilities produce Cheetos snacks you would be familiar with, but many of them make more exotic flavors that appeal to specific local tastes. For example, snackers in Japan are crazy about Cheetos covered with strawberry icing and another variety that tastes like Pepsi Cola. These cola flavored Cheetos probably go well with a can of Pepsi. Apparently, Chinese snackers prefer Cheetos that tastes like steak and Eastern Europeans like peanut butter flavored Cheetos. There is something about the peanut butter flavored Cheetos that just sounds wrong. Cheetos lovers in Pakistan crave a variety called Ocean Safari. This one doesn’t sound all that appetizing, but there’s no accounting for taste. There are probably plenty of Cheetos lovers around the world who think the honey barbecue flavor is a strange flavor for this cheesy snack. When you include all of these regional favorites the Frito-Lay company produces a total of 50 different flavors of Cheetos to satisfy all of its international customers. Cheetos may have started as an American snack, but its popularity has truly grown to world wide proportions to satisfy a planet full of hungry snackers. 

2. Cheetos Strong

In the early 1930’s the founder of the Frito Company came up with a way to make powdered cheese that would alter the course of snack food history. Mr. C.E Doolin used a dairy preservative technique that had been studied by the U.S. military to allow him to use real milk in foods with a decent shelf life. The military had been developing ways to extend the shelf life of a wide variety of foods to better support the nutritional needs as well as the taste buds of troops spending extended periods out in the field. The troops usually didn’t have access to refrigeration for extended periods of time so these new techniques promised to be game changers. The U.S. military eventually perfected a process for dehydrating cheese to extend its shelf life. Mr. Doolin adopted this technique in the production of his famous line of snacks. This innovative technique allowed him to use real cheese in the recipes for his tasty snacks that have become favorites around the world. Without this research Mr. Doolin’s snacks would have, like other snacks of the time, had to rely only on artificial cheese products for flavoring. It’s hard to imagine Cheetos snacks becoming an international sensation if they had to rely on artificial chemicals for their cheesy flavor. You might want to salute the U.S. military for its contribution to snack history the next time you enjoy a cheesy bag of Cheetos. 

1. Gone But Not Forgotten

Most snackers are quite familiar with the classic cheddar cheese flavor associated with Cheetos, but over the years there has been a lot of other flavors introduced. Some of them have been very successful such as Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and other not so much. Perhaps one of the more successful discontinued flavors was called Cheesy Pizza Puffs. The name is rather self explanatory and they were sold from 2001 until 2005. Fans can always hope the flavor makes a return at some point. Some snackers aren’t willing to rely on hope and have taken matters into their own hands and launched social media campaigns to lobby for the return of their favorite discontinued flavor. Fans of the X’s and O’s variety are waiting to see if their efforts to bring back this particular variety will pay off for them. I the meantime have they resorted to playing tic tac toes on their tablets? Regardless it seems that so far not enough Cheetos lovers care about playing tic tac toe with these snacks so this unique variety is most likely destined to remain missing in action. Introduced in 2011, Cheetos Honey Barbecue Puffs found a bit of a following with its robust sweet and tangy flavor. However, the small following wasn’t enough and they were discontinued after a short run. A honey barbecue flavor sounds like an odd choice for a cheese puff and this probably explains its short shelf life. This one would probably worked better as a potato chip. Because some of the discontinued flavors developed fairly strong followings they are gone, but they are certainly not forgotten. 

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