Frito-Lay, the makers of new Strawberry Cheetos, is a division of PepsiCo... the same folks who brought out Pepsi Ice Cucumber during Japan's record-breaking hot summer of 2007. This tells us two things: (A) the company is not afraid to pitch distinctive products to the Japanese market, and (B), they may not understand the Japanese market as well as they might think. Or not - Strawberry Cheetos join Milk Chocolate Cheetos in Japan's legion of snack vending machines.
Milk Chocolate Cheetos... seriously!Cheetos have come a long way since San Antonio, Texas food chemist Charles Elmer Doolin invented them, Fritos corn chips, and a potato-based snack called "Fritatos". While Fritatos died on the vine, Cheetos spread across the snacking world to become one of Frito-Lay's most well-known products, along with Doritos. Competition is dog-eat-dog (or chip-eat-chip) in the snackin' biz, though, so the pressure to create new appealing snacks is intense.
Maybe too intense... as FL's most recent Japanese Doritos flavor (Honey Butter Doritos) illustrates. Imagine watching Japanese TV while snacking on Honey Butter Doritos and washing 'em down with slugs of Pepsi Ice Cucumber... sounds worse than snacking on slugs! Japanese consumers have also had something called "Caramel Doritos Sweets" inflicted upon them. Perhaps PepsiCo's marketing wizards figure if they'll buy Pepsi Ice Cucumber, they'll buy anything!