Monday, May 17, 2021

Frito-Lay Says Movie-Inspiring Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Origin Story Is ‘Urban Legend’

 The story of Flamin' hot cheetos, a mainstay in the American snackiverse and soon to be the subject of a major motion picture, has added a new wrinkle.

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As claimed in a Los Angeles Times piece over the weekend, Richard Montañez—who was previously said to have been working as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant when he had the idea to pitch the company on a new flavor of Cheeto—“didn’t invent Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.” 

The piece, penned by Sam Dean and published on Sunday, pulls from interviews with more than 12 former Frito-Lay employees, as well as directly from the company. In a statement included in the Times piece, a rep for Frito-Lay—the PepsiCo subsidiary responsible for Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, and more—said that no records show Montañez to have been involved “in any capacity” with the Flamin’ Hot cheetos test market. Furthermore, the Frito-Lay rep added, multiple people associated with the test market said that Montañez was not involved. 

“That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard, but the facts do not support the urban legend,” the rep said.

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