Doritos Cool Original

overall rating:



Katy Tol
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CRISPS. I love them. Simply cannot get enough of them! As soon as pop open a packet of crisps I’m hooked, and I must eat the entire thing. Amongst friends, we open a packet of these salty snacks and joke about how they must have crack in them because we simply can’t stop eating! What are they actually made of? And more importantly, are they made sustainably? Doritos are my go-to, particularly the blue cool original as they are called in the UK. They are a sub-division of Pepsi-Co as they were bought by Frito Lays which Pepsi-Co then bought. So with this information, I went in apprehensive as I know how unsustainable Pepsi-Co is. They are the only gluten-free Dorito flavour and so I eat them by the bucket. Should I be doing this? In my research before this, I found that tortilla chip-style crisps aren’t particularly sustainable, so I didn’t hold out much hope for my favourite crisps, but this is what I found.

What it's made of:


The ingredients are the usual as can be seen with tortilla chips in the chip part but with the flavouring, it gets more complicated and less sustainable.  

The Chip: Corn (Maize), Vegetable Oils [Corn, Sunflower, Rapeseed, in varying  proportions), 

Cool Original Flavour: [Flavouring (contains Milk), Salt, Glucose Syrup, Sugar,  Onion Powder, Potassium Chloride, Cheese Powder (from Milk), Garlic Powder,  Tomato Powder, Flavour Enhancers (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium 5'- Ribonucleotides), Acidity Regulators (Malic Acid, Sodium Acetates, Citric Acid),  Colour (Annatto Bixin), Milk Protein, Spice] 

Firstly, I looked at some of these and thought what the… why does that need to be there it sounds like a bloody chemistry experiment like ewww no thanks. Why am I eating ribonucleotides? I learnt in Biology, that it was part of RNA (kind of sounds like ribonucleic acid). These cannot be good for the environment. They are flavour enhancers and surprisingly they are made from the byproduct of cheese whey. Cheese whey is a huge environmental negative of cheese production until producers found it could be turned into helpful substances for food and pharmaceutical products. So that shocked me I like that! Then for acidity regulators or E numbers. First of all, I didn’t know that was what E numbers were so that’s fun! Second, they can be sourced naturally from citrus fruits but on an industrial scale, they require a fermentation process. I couldn’t find large amounts of information on the process and its environmental effects, but I know that E numbers are not a  loved ingredient in foods and it causes lots of health implications like nausea, headaches,  palpitations and digestive disorders. This is not good and is used so that they can contain milk products and have a long shelf life. There is not much that can be done, and I looked and couldn’t find any substitutes and they are found in many snacks and processed foods. So, it’s down to the consumer if you choose to eat the E  numbers or avoid the product completely. They are the scary big names commonly found in crisps that I wanted to look into but with regards to the actual chip and what it’s made of it's simpler. So when you look up corn production it’s a bit bleak and the first thing I saw was that corn production leads to 4,300 premature deaths in the US from ammonia being used as fertilisers on the crops. But what about Doritos how and where do they get their ingredients. I

HAVE NO IDEA. They are so secretive. I have been googling for hours typing in versions of the same question reading article after article and have no idea. I even saw an article where a  journalist called up PepsiCo and asked about pork enzymes and other things about Doritos. The man from the company came back to each of the 7 questions saying that the answer to this was proprietary. Why are they so cagey? So many other companies are more transparent with their products what is it Doritos? The only answer they got was that Doritos was Spanish for little bits of gold. LOL. So no transparency from them which puts them low on my list. I saw somewhere the corn may be from Nebraska but who knows. Such a big company with so many secrets it’s giving me Gretchen Weiner’s hair from Mean Girls vibes or Krabby patty formula.  They aren’t organic so I’m thinking fertilizers are used and so the corn is used. All they have given me on the PepsiCo website is that 100% sustainably sourced corn is used. Ok. Great.  From where? How? By whom? Tell me more. What even are their criteria for sustainably sourced? So not in love with the materials and what it is made of for Doritos. There seems to be little transparency and so it’s hard to tell for sure but not loving this for Doritos. I would give you a 0 but it's ‘sustainably sourced’ so I give you a 0.1 (I hope you get the reference)

How it's made:


On to the production process. I had little hope as there was no transparency on the ingredients of Doritos. First, to kick start I watched a cringe, old video of unwrapped about Doritos. It’s a little dated but gave an overview of the nacho cheese Doritos production (which I assume is similar but different coating). They boil the corn – Water intensive and energy-intensive as it 

requires high temperatures. Then they press it into a paste and shape the paste into triangles.  Then they bake it at 500 degrees – energy intensive! Then they fry them for 1 minute at 300  degrees – energy intensive! Lastly, they coat the triangles in flavouring. So, the creation of Doritos from the growing of corn and sourcing of ingredients requires large amounts of  

water and energy. What type of energy do they use? All PepsiCo offered was that 100% of manufacturing plants use LED lights. OH goody. That’s harsh I mean that is a good step but for a multi-billion-dollar company. It’s not enough. One article I found said that the production uses a selection of electricity, steam, gas and diesel. That is not good and no sign of renewables there. However, supposedly PepsiCo aims to be net-zero by 2040 and part of that is increasing access to renewable electricity sources. If they actually do that’s another thing.  So not a great production process to be honest. I found this with most tortilla chips as they just require a lot of resources to break down corn, but I thought a massive company with endless funds and what seems like infinite power and control maybe they would do better. But no. so  I give you a 0 – everyone uses LED lights PepsiCo, come on.

Who makes it:


So, Doritos are a subdivision of PepsiCo, bought by the company after it merged with Frito Lay. As is well known PepsiCo is not a sustainable company and for such a large billion-dollar company it could and should always be doing more than it is currently claiming it is doing. In my research, much of their plans and alleged movements towards sustainability are surface level and mainly greenwashing and not really working towards creating a livable future at all. So, from the start, not a great product Doritos as its parent firm is repeatedly ignoring the urgency of the climate crisis by false claims of increasing company-wide sustainability and links to palm oil and human rights abuses. But what about when you look at the product itself. I then turned to the Doritos website itself. It offered nothing at all regarding environmental actions and how Doritos was looking towards creating a livable future or at the very least looking to minimize its effects on the environment.  Instead, it pointed you towards their parent company for information on environmental impacts. The biggest thing and in fact may be the only thing I like about Doritos is the campaign they have started called solid black. The campaign is advertised I saw it on the website and thought, are they doing anything or is this like PepsiCo and their greenwashing?

I  expected the worst and to be seething in rage, but I did some digging and found it wasn’t like that at all. They didn’t stop with posting black squares and publicity paragraphs, they put their money where their mouth is. They donated $100’000 to provide economic opportunities to black people and $150’000 to black lives matter and $100’000 to National Urban League and $50’000 to 7 black artists featured on PepsiCo media platforms. The solid  Black campaign also has committed to spending $ 5 million with the intent of amplifying black stories and joy. The campaign is also working to create an app to show users where there are black-owned restaurants and help young entrepreneurs set up restaurants. This is also only just Doritos contribution and PepsiCo aims to contribute $400million to the campaign over the next five years. If you look on their Instagram, they are using their enormous platform and voice and power to support and start a campaign that means something and that they truly seem to care about and be invested in. But is it enough? For such a big company is it enough money? That’s for each person to decide but it’s refreshing to see a big company with an enormous platform to make positive change. It’s not loads, $5m they surely have more money to give? Seems like a small change for a huge company. But their support doesn’t just come out for black history month or Juneteenth and doesn’t attempt to commercialise black history it seems to be doing something more meaningful than that. It’s good to see a huge company with massive influence create a campaign with such effect. I’m excited to see all it achieves and what it continues to do. For this, I give it a 2.4 as it aims to better the planet socially.


I would love to boycott all PepsiCo products truly because I dislike the greenwashing, I  dislike the links to human rights abuses, I dislike the palm oil use, I dislike the deforestation,  I dislike the false sustainability claims and I dislike the destruction of tropical rainforests. So  much to dislike and yet it’s so hard to avoid its products, they are everywhere! I’m currently  on the rural south coast of France and within about 50m in all directions, I can see at least one  PepsiCo product. They are everywhere! So, if I were to pick one product that I can continue  to use and try and avoid the rest it would probably be Doritos. They aren’t great for the  environment really no tortilla chip is, to be honest, but I love their solid black campaign and  seeing them use their platform in a continued way to promote changemakers is something  special and seems to be more than empty promises that are often given out by large  corporations. Whether you continue to eat this product is up to what you value,  environmentally not great but socially it is something to be appreciated.  

References: contributor-to-air-pollution-study-finds?t=1656759063704 _on_super_bowl_sunday/ 

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