J500 Media and the Environment

Localizing Frito-Lays Chips by tesshedrick
February 19, 2010, 4:05 pm
Filed under: J500 Week 5 | Tags: , , ,

I found the article about Frito Lays Chips being locally made by Bruce Horovitz to be very interesting. Frito-Lay is such a huge industry; it is hard to believe that they are trying to “localize” their industry. I stress the quotation marks because I laughed when I read that they were coming out with this new campaign about how their chips are “local.”

The article points out that the brand has always been an American brand. However, because the current trend is to go “local,” I believe Frito-Lay wants to jump on the bandwagon. The article states that Frito-Lay chips have always been produced in the United States. Now, Frito-Lay wants to make it blatant to its consumers that this is so by starting this campaign.

The article talked about a chip tracker on the Frito-Lay website, so I thought I would check it out. The chip tracker is a tech-device that tells what state a person’s specific bag of chips is from.

Currently, consumers want to know where their food is coming from. From a business standpoint, Frito-Lay did an excellent job. I checked out the chip tracker and found that a bag of chips I bought in Kansas could potentially be made in, say, Florida.

I mean, I think it is interesting to know where the chips were made, but then again, Florida is thousands of miles away! When I think of “local” food, I think foods that are produced no farther away than one’s state.

This leads me to believe that Frito-Lay may be trying to “local-wash” its consumers. To me, it seems like the company is tricking its consumers into believing that the chips are indeed local, even though they may actually have been produced across the country.

I believe this is where the ambiguous term of “local” comes into play. It seems like Frito-Lay’s definition of local may be “made in the United States.”

“Going green” has often been thought of as growing crops without any chemicals. However, on the Frito-Lays website, it stresses how many tens of millions of pounds of potatoes are grown in various states. If you click here, you will be able to see a map of the United States and be able to scroll over every state that produces Lays. Personally, this sounds a little fishy to me and too industrialized to be “green.”

I found this video of a farmer for Frito-Lay from Maine on the Frito-Lay website. The farmer appears quite personable in the video and it actually made me sigh with happiness. Then, it occurred to me that this family’s farm is most likely very industrialized and not environmentally friendly.

-Tess H.


3 Comments so far
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I found the chip tracker really funny. It makes Frito Lay look uninformed, claiming that Florida is “local” to Kansas. It does seem like Frito Lay may as well put “Made in the U.S.A” on the bag of chips. I think this is definitely a case of local washing, for the trend of it. It is scary to think that consumers cannot even believe huge “reliable” companies that we have been supporting all of our lives! If consumers took the time to do the research and find the truth, do you think they would stop buying their favorite Frito Lay chips?
Becca N.

Comment by beccan


In a perfect world, I think people would stop buying Frito-Lay after realizing that the “local” potatoes might actually be that local. I do think it would deter a few people however from buying the chips. I think this shows that companies are wanting to get in on the green movement any way they can.

Tess H.

Comment by tesshedrick


I wondered the same thing a couple of months ago when I noticed the words “find out where you potatoes are grown” (or something like that) on the back of a bag of chips that my mom had. I am curious though…. how do you think they should define local? You mentioned not outside of one’s state, but does that mean for us that eating something from 50 miles away on the other side of the state line in Missouri shouldn’t be considered local? -Kristina B.

Comment by kristinabev

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