Creating products that are nominally “for women” is treacherous territory. Recall the "Bic for Her" laughing stock, or the “Beer for Her” that made a scores of people upset this past summer. All that isn’t stopping Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, from wading into this minefield.
PepsiCo manufactures far more than soda, including lots of foodstuffs under brands like Lays, Doritos, and Tostitos. Nooyi, an India native who is one of the few female CEOs populating what is an otherwise overwhelmingly male space, told Freakonomics host Stephen Dubner on Wednesday’s episode of the radio program that the company is strongly considering developing a line of chips for women.
"When you eat out of a flex bag, one of our single-serve bags , especially as you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste of the flavor, and the broken chips in the bottom,” Nooyi claimed.
Men are cheerful slobs, in other words. Women, though, are told to suppress those public displays of appetite, according to Nooyi, creating a vacuum within the market that PepsiCo can easily fill. "They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public,” Nooyi told Dubner. "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.”
To rectify this, Nooyi told Dubner that PepsiCo. Is planning on rolling out a line of snacks for women that are packaged to be more friendly to their needs. They’ll be "low-crunch” while maintaining a full taste profile and without having residual flavor stick to your skin. You can stick them in your purse. Marrying design to innovation is cardinal, Nooyi said, to the PepsiCo brand.
PepsiCo did not respond to immediate request for comment from MUNCHIES on Friday regarding what kind of market research it conducted to arrive at these conclusions, what a product line catering to women might look like, and when it may materialize.
Who knows? Maybe PepsiCo. will succeed where others have failed. But, uh, if a line of pens just for women didn't go over so well, it's unclear why a line of chips would.