Business & Tech

PepsiCo is looking at making chips for women, and it’s not going over well

Mexican food concept: doritos, guacamole and salsa over vintage rusty metal tray
yvoneisenstein via AP

There might be a new chip on women’s collective shoulder.

The chief executive of PepsiCo, which makes Doritos and other snacks, announced last week that the company was looking into a female version of chips: a product with less flavor dust, a quieter crunch, in a bag that is purse-friendly.

Why? Because women, unlike men, “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,” said executive Indra Nooyi in a podcast series with Freakonomics.


Men, in contrast, “lick their fingers with great glee,” Nooyi noted, something she thinks women would love to do, but don’t.

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The idea of selling a feminine version of chips brought on an onslaught of criticism all over social media.

Nooyi, who worked as a strategy consultant with Boston Consulting Group and has a masters from the Yale School of Management, was interviewed as part of a special Freakonomics series on “ The Secret Life of C.E.O’s.” The interview extensively explores her path to becoming an executive at the global megabrand.

Users on social media, however, seemed to have more of an appetite — a “hangry” one at that — for her female-friendly chip comments.

This isn’t the first time a company has faced a backlash for making female versions of products.


When Bic released “Bic For Her”, a line of pink and purple pens marketed for their sleek design, social media blew up with anger over what some called another pointlessly gendered product.

Ellen DeGeneres responded to the Bic controversy with snark and humor. She told her audience during one of her shows: “Can you believe this? We’ve been using man pens all this time!”

Natasha Mascarenhas can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @nmasc_.