The humble Cheeto is a mainstay of the American garbage diet—crunchy, chemical, and delicious. For decades after their invention in the halcyon post-war days of 1948, we were satisfied with garden-variety Cheetos, and since our normal addition to chips is cheese, they didn’t even require a dip, the way Fritos have been paired with bean dip or tortilla chips with literally everything else. The Cheeto was self-sufficient.
That era is at its end. A chilling new piece on Eater calls attention to our increasing dissatisfaction with the standard “Cheeto” experience, heavily suggesting that our thirst for innovation is putting an unsustainable strain on the globe’s leading snack thinkers. As the article details, humanity’s earliest experiments with nonstandard Cheeto flavors were for global markets, including the invention of the “savory American cream” flavor for China and the introduction of Strawberry and Pepsi flavored varieties in Japan. Last year, a similar product was introduced to American audience called Sweetos. Though discontinued, the cinnamon sugar puffs are still available for $6-$10 on eBay.
It was really this year when, power-mad from the newfound snack food/entrée fusion possibilities introduced by 2013’s Doritos Locos Taco, we began pushing Cheetos to their breaking point. First came Burger King’s Cheeto-dusted macaroni and cheese bites:
Then an experimental burrito from Taco Bell:
Then Burger King returned to the well for their Cheetos Chicken Fries:
Just last month, Taco Bell introduced Cheetos quesadillas in the Philippines:
Time will tell whether this Cheetos bubble bursts or moves into a Cold War, with restaurants throughout the world stockpiling Cheetos-infused Whoppers and Dr Pepper-flavored Cheeto straws far from the public’s eyes. The entire piece on Eater, which goes into much more depth, is worth a read.