FLAVOR PROFILES

Pepsi’s CEO says the brand is designing special “snacks for women”

Women, you know how it is. You want a snack, and those potato chips in the vending machine look so good, but you’re worried. What if the salt gets all over your fingers? What if the crunch is really loud and people look at you and then everyone knows the terrible secret that you eat food?

Fear no more. PepsiCo, the brands of which include Cheetos, Fritos, Lay’s, and Doritos, is apparently developing snacks that speak to gender-specific snack habits, according to a recent Freakonomics interview with the company’s CEO. Finally, there will be chips—for her.

Market research has apparently identified noticeable differences in how men and women consume chips (or crisps, depending on your part of the world).

“As you watch a lot of the young guys eat the chips, they love their Doritos, and they lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth, because they don’t want to lose that taste,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told host Stephen Dubner on a recent episode of the Freakonomics podcast. “Women I think would love to do the same, but they don’t. They don’t like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don’t lick their fingers generously and they don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.”

Are stereotypically feminine chip consumption habits more hygienic? Sure. But, as Nooyi pointed out, leaving bits of chips and flavoring particles on the bottom of the packet means that women are getting less flavor than men. There is a flavor gap, if you will, between the genders. And this gap, business is super eager to fix.

“Are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently? And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon,” Nooyi said. “For women, low-crunch, the full taste profile, not have so much of the flavor stick on the fingers, and how can you put it in a purse?”

Pepsi has not yet announced what these snacks will look like, exactly. Quartz asked Pepsi for comment and will update upon hearing the response. If the women-friendly snacks are anything like previous attempts at women’s versions of typically non-gendered products, there’s a lot to look forward to.


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