I can't say that I've ever found myself wishing for a non-cheesy version of Cheetos — Chester's finger-staining snacks have never been something that appealed to me — but if you have, good news: Frito-Lay just announced Sweetos, the first sweet and sugary version of Cheetos ever to be released in the brand's 67-year history. Um...yay? Or something? If, y'know, that's your thing.
According to USA Today, the idea behind Sweetos takes the basic puffed base of Cheetos and covers it not with cheese, but with cinnamon and sugar. A seven-ounce bag will retail for $3.49, and most hilariously, they're meant to be a seasonal food. How exactly does one theme a Cheeto? By shaping it like an Easter egg and shilling it in the spring, of course. How else would you do it?
Apparently Sweetos are an attempt to cash in on current snacking trends, which show a preference for the sweet over the salty; there's also a big push for novelty in the world of snack foods. Frito-Lay has gamely been taking on such challenges in recent years, including experiments in cappuccino-flavored potato chips and those wacky Loaded Doritos things we taste-tested over the summer so you didn't have to. And these...shall we say, interesting experiments don't look like they're going anywhere anytime soon: Jeff Klein, VP of brand marketing for Frito-Lay North America, told USA Today, "This is not a short-term strategy. We are looking for growth outside of the cheese puff segment."
Not going to lie: I just want to know how long it took him to be able to say "We are looking for growth outside of the cheese puff segment" with a straight face.
In any event, it hasn't yet been announced precisely when Sweetos will hit shelves; given that Easter is on April 5 this year, though, I imagine it'll be sometime in the month prior to it. And as for when it might be more appropriate to break out the Sweetos instead of the Cheetos? I've got some ideas — check 'em out below. Anyone have any to add?
1. In Easter Baskets
Duh, given that they're supposed to be a seasonally appropriate Easter offering. Although it's not uncommon to find a few salty or savory snacks squirreled away in the far corners of your Easter basket, sweets are really the star of the show. Cheetos sound weird when held up next to a chocolate bunny, but Sweetos sound spectacular.
2. During Your Once Upon a Time Mid-Season Premiere Viewing Party
Something about cinnamon and sugar seems better suited to a show featuring various Disney/fairy-tale characters than powdery, neon-orange cheese dust does. Season four resumes on March 1; if you're having a viewing party, it might be a good time to break out these sweet little snacks.
3. As a Nickname for Your Significant Other
Calling someone "Cheeto" doesn't exactly sound like the stuff of which romance is made. Of course, "Sweeto" isn't really much better...but it's an improvement.
4. On Top of Ice Cream
Is it just me, or do crumbled up Sweetos sound like they'd be a terrific ice cream topping? Cheetos, on the other hand...not so much.
5. For Breakfast
Not that I advocate eating snack foods for breakfast, but cinnamon- and sugar-coated, crunchy, puffed things sound a lot like the types of sugary cereals that are usually marketed toward kids. Add some milk, and in a pinch it could work.