Flamin’ Hot Cheetos among wild new mac ’n cheese flavors from PepsiCo
Shoppers have been stocking up on salty snacks and macaroni and cheese during the coronavirus pandemic, and now there’s a single product line to satisfy both cravings.
PepsiCo is launching what might be the ultimate meal for snackers: Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese, which comes in three flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot and Cheesy Jalapeño. The corkscrew pasta comes in boxes and in cups. For now it is available only at Walmart.
“We’ve seen incredible culinary creativity from our Cheetos fans through the years, taking our product and using as an actual ingredient in recipes—whether at restaurants, or now more than ever, at home,” Rachel Ferdinando, senior VP and chief marketing officer, Frito-Lay North America, said in a statement.
If Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese sounds familiar, that’s because in 2016 Burger King introduced Mac ‘n Cheetos. Cheetos has done other mashups as well, including last year's Cheetos chicken sandwich at KFC. But this product is solely for at-home dining, which has gotten a boost due to COVID-19. And macaroni and cheese is having a moment. Earlier this week, rival Kraft Heinz began to promote its iconic mac & cheese dinner as a breakfast food to ease the stress of frazzled parents.
PepsiCo is on a roll with mashups. This line comes days after the introduction of the popcorn-meets-cereal combination called Smartfood Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix. Like that product, this one relied on the push from fans and the knowledge from two of PepsiCo Inc’s food divisions, Frito-Lay North America and Quaker Foods North America. While its name evokes the cereal category, Quaker also manages the Pasta Roni brand.
“This one-of-a-kind innovation leverages the strength of our brands to hack into a household staple and take it to the next level with unique flavor experiences only Cheetos can provide,” Kristin Kroepfl, VP and CMO, Quaker Foods North America, said in the statement.
Boxes and cups of Cheetos Mac ‘n Cheese are selling at a suggested retail price of 98 cents, PepsiCo said. The product is set to expand to other U.S. retailers in 2021.
The mac 'n cheese line isn't Cheetos first product outside its usual bag this year. In early 2020, Frito-Lay introduced bagged Cheetos Popcorn. That product, which followed a movie theater version (remember movie theaters?) was featured in a Super Bowl ad starring MC Hammer.