The current Cheetos logo, used since 2002.

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, North America, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Africa, South America, South Korea, Turkey, Spain, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States

Cheetos(formerly styled asChee-tosuntil 1998) is a brand ofcheese-flavored puffed cornmealsnacks made byFrito-Lay, a subsidiary ofPepsiCoFritoscreatorCharles Elmer Doolininvented Cheetos in 1948, and began national distribution in the U.S. The initial success of Cheetos was a contributing factor to the merger between The Frito Company and H.W. Lay & Company in 1961 to form Frito-Lay. In 1965 Frito-Lay became a subsidiary of The Pepsi-Cola Company, forming PepsiCo, the current owner of the Cheetos brand.

In 2010, Cheetos was ranked as the top selling brand of cheese puffs in its primary market of the United States; worldwide the annual retail sales totaled approximately $4billion. The originalCrunchy Cheetosare still in production but the product line has since expanded to include 21 different types of Cheetos inNorth Americaalone. As Cheetos are sold in more than 36 countries, the flavor and composition is often varied to match regional taste and cultural preferencessuch asSavory American CreaminChina, andStrawberry CheetosinJapan.1

Cheetos were invented in 1948 by Fritos creator Charles Elmer Doolin, who cooked early test batches in the Frito CompanysDallasTexas-based research and development kitchen. The cheese-flavored snack sold quickly, but Doolin did not have the production or distribution capacity to support a nationwide launch. This led Doolin to partner with potato chip businessman Herman W. Lay for marketing and distribution, and Cheetos were introduced nationally in the U.S. in 1948 along with a potato product called Fritatos.2The success of Cheetos prompted Doolin and Lay to merge their two companies in 1961, forming Frito-Lay Inc.3At the time, Cheetos was one of four large snack food brands produced by the company, which had annual revenues of $127million.4Frito-Lay merged with the Pepsi-Cola Company to form PepsiCo in 1965, prompting further distribution of Cheetos outside of North America.5

While Cheetos was the first snack food of its kind, competing products in the snack food category have since emergedincludingUtzCheese Curls,HerrsCheese Curls and. Most of the competing cheese-flavored snacks are distributed in specific regions of the U.S., and as of 2010 Cheetos remains as the top-selling cheese puff in America.36

As of 2011, Cheetos are produced, marketed and distributed under three different PepsiCo operating divisions:PepsiCo Americas Foods(which includesFrito-Layin the United States andCanada,7SabritasinMexico8and Latin Americas Foods inBrazilColombiaArgentinaVenezuelaandPeru.9),PepsiCo EuropeandPepsiCo Asia, Middle East & Africa.10PepsiCo also granted a license to theStrauss-Elite companyto distribute the Cheetos snack. In 2010, worldwide annual sales of Cheetos totaled approximately $4billion, making it the 11th-largest PepsiCo brand.10

The first Cheetos product wasCrunchy Cheetos, invented in 1948 inSan Antonio, Texas. Crunchy Cheetos remained the brands sole product for 23 years until the introduction ofCheetos Puffsin 1971. The baked varieties, otherwise known asBaked Cheetos, became available beginning in 2004. As of 2010, there are 21 different variants of Cheetos snacks distributed in the United States.11In addition to the original Crunchy Cheetos, Cheetos Puffs and Baked varieties are sold in alternate shape and flavor variationsincluding a spicy variety known asFlamin Hot Cheetos.12

Cheetos are among the snack varieties included in the Frito-LayMunchiessnack mix.

With the introduction ofFrito-LaysNatural Line, Cheetos Natural were introduced in the mid-2000s, with all natural ingredients, and natural, and real, Cheetos Natural are unique for Cheetos. They accompany others in theNaturalline, and are a direct competitor to other natural competitors, such asPirates Booty.

Cheetos first enteredBrazilin 1976,13followed by other countries such asAustraliaduring the 1980s.14In 1994, Cheetos became the first American brand of snack food to be made and distributed inChina.15As the distribution of Cheetos expanded outside the U.S. to include more than 36 different countries,16localized versions were produced to conform to regional tastes and cultural preferences.17

Frito-Lay conducted extensive testing before settling on flavors for the Chinese market, with ranch dressing, North Sea crab, smoked octopus and caramel being passed up for two flavors:Savory American CreamandZesty Japanese Steak.18These flavors were produced as the result of focus group testing, in which the original Crunchy Cheetos did not test as well.1819Strawberry Cheetos, a variation of the original Crunchy Cheetos dipped in a flavored icing, are produced and distributed inJapan.20Also produced in Japan areMountain Dew-flavored Cheetos.21In India,Cheetos Whooshare sold, made of ingredients such aswhole grainand vegetables.22In Pakistan Cheetos are available in six different flavors: Bites: Vegetable, Stars: Cream N Herb, Ocean Safari: Cheese, X & O: Spicy Twist, Red Flavoured Mast and Ketchup.23The sole Cheetos product produced in Australia isCheetos Cheese & Bacon Balls.24Cheetos come in all different colors.

In 2015, Cheetos rolled out a limited edition cinnamon sugar-flavored snack called Sweetos to US markets. Sweetos was the first sweet snack that Cheetos has released in the brands 67-year history.25

Cheetos are manufactured by blending corn and water. The germ of the corn is removed to prevent spoiling; the germless corn is then ground into cornmeal. Because the cornmeal lacks the nutrients provided by the germs, it is enriched by adding nutrients in order to increase its nutritional value. (Enriched cornmeal is found in the following flavors: Crunchy,26Puffs,27Flamin Hot Crunchy,2829Flamin Hot Puffs,30Flamin Hot Limon Crunchy,31XXTRA Flamin Hot Crunchy,32Reduced Fat Flamin Hot Puffs,33Reduced Fat Puffs,34and Cheddar Jalapeño Crunchy.35) The mixture is heated under pressure, and then extruded through a die. The texture of the snack is formed as a result of contact with hot air, causing steam in the mixture to expand and creating its characteristic texture. After oven-drying or frying, the product is then tumbled with the desired flavor components (the originalCrunchy Cheetosarefried). The process takes approximately 19 minutes and each half hour an in-house lab team inspects and taste-tests each batch. At this point, the result of the inspection is determined by comparing each batch to product sent from Frito-Lay headquarters.36Other flavor and format variations such asCheetos Puffs,Cheetos Paws,Cheetos Twists,Cheetos Balls, andCheetos Whirlsare all finished with a drying stage in large ovens.37As of 2010, Frito-Lay has 14 fried-Cheetos plants in 11 states throughout theUnited States.36

The first Cheetos mascot was the Cheetos Mouse, which debuted in 1971 using the slogansThe cheese that goes crunch!andHail Chee-sar!. The character was phased out around 1979.

The Cheetos brand is commonly recognized by association with its second and currentmascot, ananthropomorphicsly, smooth-voicednamedChester Cheetah. Chester first appeared in television commercials in 1986, known for concluding Cheetos advertisements withslogans, which have evolved over time. He used bothThe cheese that goes crunch!andIt aint easy bein cheesyas slogans from 1986 to 1997, and thenDangerously cheesyfrom 1997 onwards.38In 2003, Chester was first rendered as a computer-generated character in the United State, while continuing to appear in a traditionally-animated form in some other countries where the brand is sold.39

Beginning in 2008, Cheetos advertising and promotion broadened in regards to age appeal, with a revised focus on an adult demographic. In this personification, Chester speaks with amid-Atlantic accentand encourages people to use their Cheetos in acts of revenge or to solve problems.39In February 2009, Cheetos was the subject of its firstSuper Bowl commercial. In theUS$3million, 30 second advertisement, a loud, chatty woman is talking on her mobile phone at a restaurant. Chester the Cheetah persuades another customer to toss Cheetos onto the ground, attracting a flock of birds to drive away the obnoxious loud-talking customer.4041The scenario depicted in this commercial exemplifies the adult-oriented themes ofsubversionand revenge, which continue to be prevalent in Cheetos advertisements produced since 2008.39

On August 15, 2017, Frito-Lay announced the opening of its The Spotted Cheetahpop-up restaurantin New York, with dishes made with Cheetos with chefAnne Burrell. According to theWall Street Journal, the restaurants reserve spots quickly sold out.42

Cheetos have been the subject of public and media attention on multiple occasions due to the unpredictable shapes that form during the manufacturing process. Cheetos have been found in shapes which resembled the appearance of popular or historical figures. A single Cheeto described as being in the shape ofMichael Jacksondoing theMoonwalk Dancesold for $35.18 oneBayin the summer of 2009 at the time of Jacksons death, attracting national media coverage in the U.S.43A couple who found a Cheetos snack in a shape they described as resemblingJesus Christnicknamed it Cheesus and garnered media attention as a result of their consideration of selling on eBay.4445In 2016-7, Cheeto Jesus and variations thereon became a common nickname forDonald Trump.464748

Note that these are the main flavors available year-round worldwide, there are many other seasonal flavors, as well as differently shaped Cheetos.49

Strawberry Flavored Cheetos Seduce Sweet-Loving Snackers.

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