Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi fell into some hot water this week after she described what could be the company’s next big marketing move.
In an interview with Freakonomics, Nooyi said she’s planning to release a new line of snacks tailored specifically for women. The snacks would be designed and packaged differently than the current snacks.
Pepsi currently owns such brands as Cheetos, Lays, Ruffles, Doritos and Tostitos.
Nooyi said she wants to release the new snacks because she thinks women don’t like crunchy snacks.
"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 flavor, and the broken chips in the bottom," Nooyi told Freakonomics. "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 flavor into their mouth."
Nooyi clarified in her interview that she wanted to provide women their own unique snack, rather than create a product to create a divide between men and women.
"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," Nooyi told Freakonomics. "For women, low-crunch, the full-taste profile, not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse? Because women love to carry a snack in their purse."
Twitter did not love the new idea of a "lady-friendly" snack, according to Time magazine.
A spokesman from the Women’s Equality Party told the New York Post that the snack idea perpetuates gender stereotypes.
“Companies that perpetuate these tired gender stereotypes will continue to lose out on the single biggest consumer group: women,” the spokesman said. “No doubt some male consumers will welcome the chance to have a bigger package. But the idea of shrinking products for women, no doubt for the same price, is as old as the ad men making these decisions.”10 comments on this story
Mashable writer Heather Dockray said she’s seen men and women both eat chips loudly, showing eating loud chips isn’t just an issue for women.
But Ann Widdecombe, who starred on the show “Big Brother,” told the Daily Telegraphthat the chips sound like a good idea.
“I think the idea of crisps for women is a bit daft, although I do think women are generally a bit fussier than men about these things,” she said. “I am a cruncher, but I’m fussy about where I crunch. Bully for them (Doritos), they’ve introduced polite crisps.”