WHAT'S IN FRITO-LAY'S CHEDDAR POPCORNS?
CHEESE POPCORNS - CLOSEST TO HOMEMADE™
Do you remember the first time you tasted Cheddar Popcorn? I do. Wow! Two things meant to be together, for sure. Let’s look at what’s in the big brands of cheese popcorn.
SMARTFOOD IS FRITO-LAY’S FLAGSHIP CHEESE POPCORN ITEM. A highly profitable business, Smartfood was acquired by PepsiCo and this allowed for significant increased distribution which grew the brand to a dominant position in the ready-to-eat popcorn arena. Smartfood is dwarfed in popularity by make-at-home brands like Orville Redenbacher and Pop Secret. (Source: Statista 2019)
PEPSICO’S FRITO-LAY HAS A MULTI-TIERED SNACK STRATEGY, DISPLAYED HERE IN THE CHEESE POPCORN CATEGORY.
Producer of Smartfood popcorn, Frito-Lay produces other cheddar popcorns as well like the value-positioned Chester’s brand Cheddar flavored popcorn which is an extension of the Cheetos’ Chester the Cheetah spokesperson equity.
This multiple offerings within a category strategy allows Frito-Lay to compete at different price points, appealing to different consumers.
FRITO-LAY HAS A CHEESE POPCORN FOR CONSUMERS SEEKING VALUE: Cheese Popcorn consumers who aren’t too concerned with health and are seeking the lowest price point will gravitate towards Frito-Lay’s Chester pre-priced lower quality product >> the distribution of this product will be based on creating access for these users.
Although the Chester product was never developed for Whole Foods Markets’ distribution, these Frito-Lay snacks contain three ingredients which are banned at Whole Foods Market who cites these ingredients as “unacceptable in food”, including Monosodium Glutamate (a.k.a. MSG), Artificial Flavors and Artificial Color(s). (Source for Chester Cheddar Popcorn ingredients: Frito-Lay Web site 1/26/19) (Source for ingredients banned: Whole Foods Web site 1/19)
FRITO-LAY ALSO HAS A CHEESE POPCORN FOR CONSUMERS SEEKING A HEALTHIER/CLEANER PRODUCT: Cheese Popcorn consumers who are seeking healthier snack options are likely willing to pay more for a higher quality product >> these users will purchase items like Frito-Lay’s higher-priced Smartfood Cheddar Cheese Popcorn. (Source for Smartfood Cheddar Cheese Popcorn ingredients: Smartfood Web site 1/26/19)
Let’s compare Frito-Lay’s Smartfood Cheddar Cheese Popcorn to their Chester’s Cheese Popcorn >> the cheaper Chester-branded product uses cheaper ingredients.
ALTHOUGH THE ORIGINAL SMARTFOOD PRODUCT REMAINS TRUE TO ITS INGREDIENT ORIGINS, FRITO-LAY’S LINE EXTENSIONS UNDER THE SMARTFOOD BANNER HAVE COMPROMISED THE NUTRITIONAL INTEGRITY OF THE BRAND. Smartfood line extensions include Not In Kitchen™ ingredients >> ingredients which would never be in our kitchens if we were making versions of these popcorns at home >> like added flavors, added colors, preservatives, salt substitutes, flavor enhancers and commercial-grade ingredients like maltodextrin, reduced lactose whey, soy lecithin, caramel color, corn syrup and canola oil in the coating.
For example, here is a snapshot of the ingredients in Smartfood Kettle Corn Flavored Popcorn >> the word “flavored” (shown in relatively tiny type on the package front) is an indication that there are added flavorings in this product as we see below in the form of added Natural Flavors.
FRITO-LAY’S SMARTFOOD CHEDDAR CHEESE POPCORN vs. SMARTFOOD DELIGHT CHEDDAR POPCORN COMPARISON.
SMARTFOOD DELIGHT CHEDDAR POPCORN HAS MORE INGREDIENTS NOT IN KITCHEN™ THAN BASIC SMARTFOOD CHEDDAR CHEESE POPCORN.
The Smartfood Delight product is a low calorie offering within the Smartfood line >> most people who are pursuing low calorie tend to be more health conscious, yet the reduced calorie Smartfood Delight Cheddar product has more ingredients Not In Kitchen™ than the basic Smartfood Cheddar Cheese product.
Despite the fact that it contains fewer calories than the base brand, the so-called healthier Smartfood Delight Cheddar Popcorn option from Frito-Lay is actually less healthy in terms of ingredients than Smartfood Cheddar Cheese Popcorn.
SMARTFOOD NOMENCLATURE IS DIFFERENT ON THE BASE BRAND vs. THE DELIGHT EXTENSION: The original one says “White Cheddar Cheese”, while the Smartfood Delight says “White Cheddar” with no ‘cheese’ designation >> this suggests that legally Frito-Lay is unable to use the word ‘cheese’ on the Smartfood Delight White Cheddar product. There is also no depiction of real cheese on the Smartfood Delight White Cheddar package front, whereas a photograph of real cheese is featured on the original Smartfood Cheddar Cheese popcorn bag.
WHAT’S IN SKINNY POP WHITE CHEDDAR POPCORN PUFFS? This product has four ingredients which are Not In Kitchen™ including added flavorings, added Lactic Acid and added Yeast Extract. (Source for ingredients: Skinny Pop Web site 1/26/19)
REAL CHEESE POPCORNS WHICH ARE CLOSEST TO HOMEMADE™ ARE ORGANIC/NON-GMO, HAVE NO ADDED FLAVORS OR COLORS AND NO PRESERVATIVES. These brands include General Mills’ Annie’s Organic White Cheddar Popcorn, Whole Foods Market 365 brand Organic White Cheddar Popcorn and Cadia Organic White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn.
Q: WHY IS FRITO-LAY’S SMARTFOOD CHEDDAR CHEESE POPCORN NOT ON THE Closest To Homemade™ LIST?
A: Smartfood Cheddar Cheese Popcorn is not organic + contains corn oil + possibly canola oil. According to the FDA 2019, 92% of U.S. corn is GMO and 95% of U.S. canola is GMO. Genetically Modified ingredients are Far From Homemade™.
IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GMO CORN CONCERNS: Watch the YouTube Ingredient Inspector video on High Fructose Corn Syrup to learn more about GMO Corn and concerns surrounding its production + consumption.