As most of you know I recently had the opportunity to guest blog for Frito-Lay. They were kind enough to invite me and nine other bloggers to a Blogger Event at Frito-Lay’s global headquarters in Plano, TX. I have to say that I’ve never seen a corporate building like that before. (I know – I’m a smallish town girl.) The grounds were lovely, the people were nice, and the loyalty of the employees was evident in every one we met.
You may be wondering why in the world Frito-Lay would invite someone like me? (I secretly wondered the same thing!) It turns out that there are a couple of reasons. Even though I blog about weight loss and weight maintenance, I also am a believer in learning to eat in moderation, and that can include snack foods. I would be the first to tell you that you can’t eat junk all day and stay healthy, but for a lot of us, we like the occasional snacky food and aren’t going to completely give them up. The second reason is that Frito-Lay has been working hard this past year in developing a few different snack lines developed specifically for women. Product lines like SmartFood are designed to appeal to women. They are lower in calories, higher in fiber and quite frankly – tasty.
While I was there I learned a lot of things I didn’t know. I learned that Frito-Lay has developed the first bio-degradable chip bag which will be introduced next year in their SunChip line. I learned that they are partnering with TerraCycle to recycle their other lines chip bags which aren’t really heavy enough to be recycled by companies, and I learned that in spite of being a huge corporation, there are real people trying to make a difference. No company is perfect, but then neither am I! They also send some of their extra bags to the high end designerEcoist who makes them into interesting designer accessories.
Here’s some tidbits you might find interesting:
This man is Frito-Lay’s first ever head chef. Stephen Kalil gave us a fascinating demonstration of how they developed the flavors of a new “top-secret” SmartFood selection that will unveil next year, and then he showed us how the Cheeseburger flavor of Doritos was developed. (It did taste like a cheeseburger, but probably not a chip flavor I’d eat. My husband though – yes!) We then got a tour of the culinary center.
This is the kitchen. (Don’t you wish yours looked like this?)
Here’s the pantry. (A lot of these ingredients looked familiar to me.)
Here’s the cookbooks they sometimes reference. Stephen said something interesting about discovering new trends. He said even though he has access to all sorts of research sites, he enjoys watching certain “regular” websites and seeing what real people are cooking and what new flavors they are using!
I have to confess that I never really thought too much about how companies come up with the products they make. I knew I either liked them or I didn’t. One interesting part of the visit was the plant tour. They wouldn’t let us take pictures but it was fascinating to see how the Baked line of chips/doritos/tostitos was made. I even got to try them hot off the line and they were quite tasty. Although I wasn’t so sure about the Hot Fries! I’d never had those before and thought my mouth was on fire when I tasted it! The other bloggers laughed at me because they knew how hot those things were!
All in all it was a lot of fun and something I’ll probably never get to do again. I missed my family a lot, but knowing John was handling the homeschooling duties made me rest easy. (Well, not really, but it was a nice wifely thing to write!) Diane
I’ve edited this post so those of you who are interested can check out the nutrition label on their new SmartFood popcorn clusters for yourself. Here’s nutrition info on the PeanutButter Apple Flavor.