Take That Frito-Lay!

Maybe you remember my boycott against Frito-Lay due to their claims of "0 Grams Trans Fat!" even though they still use partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat) in Doritos. Maybe you don't.

During my last grocery shopping adventure I had a wicked craving for Cool Ranch Doritos. I had to turn my cart around and seek out the chip aisle, knowing that I couldn't buy them, but hoping I could find some product from some other brand that would quench my hunger. And that's when I found out that Roundy's makes ranch tortilla chips.

Roundy's.. the brand I'm always afraid to buy. The cheapest of the cheap. But Roundy's doesn't use trans fats in their tortilla chips (that I could tell). Roundy's Ranch Tortilla Chips are also less than half the price per ounce as Cool Ranch Doritos.

Reluctantly.. I finally opened the bag this morning when making my lunch and nom'd on a few.

The result? I think I've got a keeper. The flavor isn't as strong or quite the same as the boycotted Doritos, but they're half the price and have more than half the flavor… my taste buds will adjust.

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Email To Frito-Lay

If you read my previous post "Deceptive Labeling On My Doritos" you'll know that I'm currently boycotting all Frito-Lay products because of their use of trans fats and their claims and labeling that they don't use trans fats. I've taken this a step further than a boycott and it is now my mission, no, my quest, to see trans fats completely removed from Doritos and other Frito-Lay products.

The following email was just sent to Frito-Lay:

Use of Trans Fats in Frito-Lay Products
I'm writing today in hopes of learning Frito-Lay's official stance on
the use of "trans fats" in its products.

Using Doritos as an example – a given bag of Doritos will contain on
its packaging a label claiming "0 Grams Trans Fats." That same bag
will list "partially hydrogenated soybean oil," a TRANS Fat, in its
ingredients list. I understand that FDA labeling regulations allow any
trans fat content under half a gram per serving to be listed as "0
grams," but I'm sure you'll agree that such labeling is deceptive and
misleading to the consumer. Is this the path that Frito-Lay has
willfully chosen to take? A path that has already cost the company one
customer, one that is determined to cause others to follow suit.

To make matters worse, this deception extends well beyond nutritional
and product labeling. The "Good Questions" section on the FritoLay.com
website states that "Since 2003, Frito Lay discontinued the use of
hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils in making our snack
chips, thus eliminating trans fats." No mention is made of the trace,
yet still unhealthy, amounts still present due to skirting of labeling
requirements. In a press release dated September 24, 2002 (also on
FritoLay.com) then current President and CEO Al Bru stated "Early next
year, Frito-Lay is eliminating trans fat oils from our big brands
including Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos. And the great news is that
there is no compromise in taste."

I would strongly suggest that this issue is brought to the attention
of those in a position to actually remove trans fats from your
products completely. Until the words "partially hydrogenated" are no
longer on the ingredients list, all official references by Frito-Lay
about the removal of trans fats are, in effect, false. Since these
statements could be seen as part of the marketing and advertising for
the products, one could even go as far as to say that these claims are
false advertising. I would also suggest that this change be made
quickly and voluntarily before Frito-Lay's reputation is further

A response would be appreciated. More importantly though, I would like
to see trans fats disappear completely from your products, since I
will make it a point to purchase only from your competitors, and will
encourage others to do the same, until then.

Comments (16)

Deceptive Labeling On My Doritos

As of last night, I am now boycotting all Frito-Lay products.

When it comes to buying food, snacks particularly, I'm pretty lazy. I'll buy what appears to have the best balance between taste, health, and ease of preparation.. and when looking for something to snack on, chips are a no-brainer. I do my best to avoid trans fat/partially hydrogenated oils, so seeing a prominently displayed "0 Grams Trans Fat" badge on the bag of Cool Ranch Doritos, well, I figured I didn't even need to check the back of the bag.

Imagine my surprise when I open the bag and glance down the ingredients list to see "partially hydrogenated soybean oil"… which is a trans fat. Seems Frito-Lay is taking advantage of the labeling loophole that allows anything less than .5 grams per serving to be listed as 0 grams.

To make matters worse, they stated in a press release dated September 24, 2002 that they would be eliminating trans fat from their products:

PLANO, TX (September 24, 2002) – Frito-Lay announced today that it is taking major steps in its commitment to offering a wide variety of better-for-you snacks by eliminating trans fats from America's favorite salty snacks – Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos – while still offering great taste. Along with the trans fat elimination, Frito-Lay will also introduce Lay's Reduced Fat chips and Cheetos Reduced Fat snacks in the coming months.

"We're taking several steps that will change the way America snacks," said Al Bru, President and Chief Executive Officer of Frito-Lay North America. "Early next year, Frito-Lay is eliminating trans fat oils from our big brands including Doritos, Tostitos and Cheetos. And the great news is that there is no compromise in taste. We will also introduce Lay's Reduced Fat chips and Cheetos Reduced Fat snacks in the coming months that offer our consumers better tasting, better-for-you snacks."

It's now 2008, and if I were to eat 24 chips (2 servings), it's possible that I would have just consumed .9 grams of poison. That's not zero, Frito-Lay.. that's more than not zero. Shame.

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