Let’s be honest, when you crack into a bag of Doritos you’re probably not bothering to think about how healthy they are. But in the wake of Amazon’s recent takeover of Whole Foods, it looks like the finger-staining snack and health-oriented organic foods may soon play in the same sandbox, with the launch of all-new, certified organic Doritos under Frito-Lay’s healthier-sounding spinoff brand, Simply. That’s right, organic Doritos.
The junk food giant announced it is launching a host of new, organic snacks, including Simply Organic White Cheddar Doritos, aimed squarely at health food aisles where you’d never expect to find, say, a bag of Cool Ranch. If organic Doritos sound crazy and morally antithetical to your Sunday football-watching flow, it’s because they kind of... are? Nonetheless, there’s some real business ingenuity behind it, as explained by business analyst Ali Dibadj in a report by Bloomberg.
Basically, Whole Foods' sale to Amazon signals that Amazon wants to sell products in "healthy" or "organic" categories. In the past, Whole Foods would have avoided Big Food products like Doritos outright, but Amazon -- seeking to expand its e-retail footprint in the organic food market -- won't have the same qualms.
"Amazon’s acquisition makes it much more likely that Whole Foods will carry these better-for-you brands, even if they’re made by large incumbent [consumer packaged goods] players," Dibadj said, per the report. "The smaller brands just can’t keep up with the spending and velocity required from Amazon anymore. We expect Whole Foods to carry more -- and more big brands too."
These Simply chips appear to be a way to put the snack brands of Frito-Lay (which is owned by multinational conglomerate PepsiCo) in that marketplace. Doritos aren't the only chips that Frito-Lay's introduced under the Simply brand, after all. Here's a list of those announced:
- Simply Organic Doritos White Cheddar
- Simply Organic Tostitos Blue Corn
- Simply Organic Tostitos Scoops
- Simply Organic Tostitos Yellow Corn
- Simply Ruffles Sea Salted
- Simply Tostitos Black Bean
- Simply Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar
- Simply Cheetos Puffs White Cheddar Jalapeño
- Simply Lay's Sea Salted
Given this lineup, PepsiCo seems serious about it, but it remains to be seen whether these snacks will actually sway folks who shop at Whole Foods. For one thing, Grub Street's Clint Rainey compared the ingredients of the Simply Organic Doritos White Cheddar with those on a standard Doritos Nacho Cheese package, and concluded that "the Simply version really isn’t any healthier... effectively no extra nutrients, either, and it somehow manages to pack another ten calories into every serving."
And for another, honestly, you're still buying Doritos. Or Cheetos Puffs. Or sea-salted Lay's. They're called junk food for a reason, and making them with "no artificial flavors or colors" actually doesn't change the fact that structurally designed to be maximally binge-able. Michael Moss, the author of Salt, Sugar, Fat -- a deep investigative dive into Big Food -- described companies like PepsiCo as "concerted and targeted" in their money-driven scientific effort to find the "the magical formulation" to tantalize your taste buds.
The next time you eat a Dorito, organic or otherwise, chew on that.