One criticism of American capitalism is the endless amount of variations of standard products. At worst, it’s excessive materialism. While each single innovation on standard toothpaste might be justified, the end effect of all the innovations is a paradox of choice in the toothpaste aisle of Walmart because, when it’s all said and done, I just want toothpaste and I don’t know which one to buy.
That endless innovation is starting to arrive in Latin America. When I first moved to Peru in 2008, I believe the extent of salty snack options from the United States included classic Doritos and classic Lay’s potato chips.
Since then, Lay’s has over a dozen variations of potato chips with various flavors distributed among classic cuts, ripples, “hilos” and “Stax.” Maybe more.
But the inspiration for this article only came when Frito Lay recently introduced two new varieties of Doritos to the Peruvian market. One is just a little spicier than the last spicy variant and the other is really fucking spicy.
I’m a product of the 90s. Doritos are my generation’s go-to for salt cravings. Although I must say that, while in Colombia, I often went for Margarita Limon, a Frito Lay variant of lime-juice potato chips.
Classic Doritos, which they call “Queso Atrevido,” were available in Peru and Colombia before I arrived.
In 2014, in Peru they introduced spicy Doritos, dubbed “Queso Fuego,” in a purple bag. I’m a spice guy. For those of you who are also in the spicy-cravings club, you know how it is. Once there’s a spicy option, we only get classic Doritos when the children might be eating some.
Apparently there are a lot of Peruvians in this club of ours. In 2016 they introduced “Doritos Ruleta,” which may technically be spicier than Queso Fuego if you measure all the spice in the bag. But it’s a “roulette” in the sense that only one in every four or five chips is really spicy, while all the rest are like classic Doritos. Encountering all the non-spicy Doritos was just annoying — a cocktease — so I stuck with Queso Fuego.
There were three Doritos varieties for the rest of 2016, which would have led me to believe that one would be discontinued. But I must’ve forgotten that Peru is F%#! … instead of discontinuing one, they introduced two more. These are so new Doritos Peru hasn’t officially announced, so I had to snap this pic at the store.
At first I thought they only introduced one, the Chile Apocoliptico, which is really fucking spicy and my new favorite. Impossible to justify going back to Queso Fuego if this is on the shelf.
Going for a second bag a few days later, I realized Doritos didn’t just launch one new spicier variant, but two. Above is Pique Diabolico, and I noticed the spiciness meter on the label. It’s not as spicy so I’ll leave it for the girls.
Five varieties of fucking Doritos. Are we in Latin America anymore? Are we approaching paradox-of-choice, American-abundance economy?
Not everywhere in Latin America is experiencing this economic orgy. Venezuela’s losing options by the day. McDonald’s temporarily discontinued serving Big Macs and French fries in the last two years. In Argentina you can’t legally buy an iPhone.
But Peru? Rich as f#%!.
I worked in foodservice for well over a decade in the United States: various restaurants, Anheuser-Busch, a small soda company. So I pay attention to food and beverage. Another salty-snack variety that piqued my curiosity was the new Lay’s Maracuya chips. Passionfruit is sour, so I thought it would be like Margarita Limon in Colombia. I bought a bag and was surprised to taste no sourness whatsoever. They’re sweet. The children like it. We’ll see if it sticks around.