Organic Doritos, Cheetos and Tostitos could make their way into Whole Foods stores since they’re already on Amazon.
Your next Dorito could be organic.
Frito-Lay launched healthier versions of fattening favorites like Cheetos, Doritos and Tostitos without artificial ingredients — and the snack brand’s healthy-ish chips could be sold at Whole Foods under the label name “Simply.”
The collaboration comes with Amazon’s recent $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods. The better-for-you Simply line chips are already sold on the e-commerce site for between $5 to $6.99 for an 8-ounce bag. A regular bag costs about $2.99.
They apparently meet all the criteria needed to be sold at Whole Foods stores, a PepsiCo exec told Bloomberg.
A bag of the Simply Cheetos puffs is 160 calories per 32 puffs and 9 grams of fat, versus the 150 calories and 10 grams of fat for a handful of the real stuff.
Natural products are the biggest source of growth for the industry, currently with 78% of U.S. families buying some organic food. Sales of organic food and drinks have grown from $1 billion in 1990 to an estimated $29 billion by 2011, according to the Organic Trade Association, but that only represents 4.2% of all food sold in the country. Still, selling nearly a dozen different organic chips is a push to put Frito-Lay in the trendy health food space — and have an excuse to charge more for it.
“Organic, like gluten-free, and low-fat labels, are health halos. They give off an illusion that they’re health food, so people think they’re okay to buy,” Dr. Lisa Young, a certified nutritionist, tells Moneyish.
But perhaps one of the most challenging things for junk food retailers is convincing people that they can sell the same product that’s less bad for you. To do this, they typically create or buy smaller brands.
Some of the country’s biggest food giants like Kellogg, General Mills and Coca-Cola have acquired a chunk of the natural market with smaller products. General Mills, maker of Cheerios and sugar-filled snacks like Fruit Roll-Ups and Go-Gurt, is behind Annie’s Homegrown, which boasts organic pastas and fruit snacks sold at Whole Foods. And Happy Family, an organic baby food brand, is owned by yogurt giant Danone.
They also sometimes re-brand and tweak existing products. Last year, PepsiCo released an organic version of Gatorade to appeal to market, calling it G-Organic. And it also released its canned “craft” soda 1893 boasting “real sugar” and “real ginger” along with other natural ingredients.
Some worry that shoppers may be tricked into thinking that the organic labels now owned by big, mass marketed brands are really healthy for you.
“Organic junk food is still junk food,” says Young.
“If the ingredient list has a lot of salt, white flour or junk than they’re not health products regardless if they’re organic. Save your organic products for produce like fruits and vegetables, and if you want to have a little bit of junk as a treat, have the real stuff.”
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