This entry marks the start of hopefully will be a recurring weekly feature on Off the Broiler, the Snack of The Week. I’d like to give credit to the idea of this feature to Jonathan Lurie, novelty snack and candy product fiend extraordinaire, who will likely be contributing to this series in the future. While there are certainly some fine sites out there like Taquitos.net and Junk Food Blog that specialize in this sort of thing on a day to day basis, we think that we can bring a certain level of expertise to this area, despite being only able to do a few dozen of these a year.
To kick off this new feature, we have aptly chosen the new Doritos Fiery Habanero snack chip.
Snack At A Glance (SNAAG)
Product Name: Doritos Fiery Habanero
Manufacturer: Frito Lay, Inc.
Genre: Corn Tortilla Chip, Seasoned, Hot and Spicy
Year of Introduction: Late 2005/Early 2006.
Nutritional Data: 130 Calories per ounce (11 chips, or one serving) or 360 Calories per 2 and 3/4oz bag. 7 grams of fat per ounce, 240mg of Sodium per serving. Zero Trans-Fats and 16 carbs per serving.
Primary Seasonings: MSG, Cheese Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Tomato Powder, Habanero Chile
I’ve been a fan of Doritos for a very long time, ever since they were introduced in the mid-1970’s. Over the years Frito-Lay has experimented with a number of interesting flavors, including a short-lived “Taco” flavor in the late 70’s and the early ’80s which approximated the taste of Taco Bell-type beef tacos (which appears to have been recently revived but is not available in every market). Around 2003-2004 a “Nacho Bold” was introduced, which was later re-marketed as “Spicy Nacho”. “Ranchero”, a Chile/Lime flavor and “Salsa Verde” were also recently introduced, positioning Doritos as more of an authentic Mexican flavor tortilla snack and for a more adventurous and Chile-loving crowd than in previous incarnations. “Blazin’ Buffalo” also continues with this trend, merging their long-successful Cool Ranch flavor with a Buffalo-style wing sauce taste. Spicy Habanero is a major departure from previous Doritos snacks that have been introduced previously.
While Spicy Nacho, Ranchero and Blazin’ Buffalo all have some chile component in the seasoning blend, Spicy Habanero is really quite hot, approaching heat levels of specialty Chile-head snacks available in gourmet stores and boutique hot sauce shops. Remember, Doritos is a mass-market product, so this is a major change in marketing and demographics for such a large snack giant.
Fiery Habanero retains the signature base seasoning blend common to most Doritos, with MSG clearly in the the front, followed by the other savory elements, but finishing off with a huge, fruity Habanero chile whallop. It is not for the timid or for your average Joe Sixpack or whitebread American consumer. It is by far, the ballsiest Doritos and mass market chip snack yet to be introduced to the North American market. It is a tasty, albeit quite salty and very spicy snack, and is not to be pooh-poohed by the gourmet snack crowd just because it comes from a very mainstream snack producer.
I hope that this product is successful and Frito-Lay keeps it on the market, paving the way for more really spicy snacks to come.