PepsiCo just introduced a new flavor of its popular Wavy brand of chips: Roasted Garlic & Sea Salt. Wavy, part of company’s $13 billion Frito-Lay division, has been around for 20 years. It’s–did you know this?–meant for women. Even the redesigned package will feature “vibrant colors and a font that exudes the brand’s approachable and playful personality to better appeal to its target female consumer.” Americans on average reportedly eat 2.3 pounds of garlic each year, a propensity Pepsi cites as the basis for its new flavor.
Why is Wavy a female brand? Men presumably eat garlic at an equal pace, and are famously fond of salt and chips generally. Are men just too devoted to Wavy’s brother brand, Doritos, to even know Wavy is alive? Or have Pepsi scientists–a group which includes some of the most advanced chemists in the world–begun to make discoveries about gender and taste, gender and flavor desire? Having hired Dr. Mehmood Khan in 2007 as its Chief Scientific Officer, Pepsi has committed itself to research, vowing to make its offerings healthier. Khan’s experience includes a stint at the Mayo Clinic, where he worked on diabetes. Besides getting healthier, is PepsiCo now developing snacks that will work like the new DNA-based personalized medicines? Chips customized for your individual biological make-up? Or is it just that font business that appeals to women? After all, there’s nothing about a chip that makes it gender specific–it’s not a tampon or a jock strap or even a Virginia Slim. Or is there, Dr. Khan?