My travel, meeting & experiences with Frito-Lay

On November 2nd, I had the pleasure to go visit a company that most of us know of; Frito-Lay. I flew to Dallas, TX to meet with a company that I have had in my home for my family and grew up with most of my life. I was more than honored to take this opportunity.

Upon my arrival, I was among a fabulous group of bloggers:

I flew in from Chicago, after a fun day of tailgating at the Bears Game in Chicago (Go Bears!), I was beyond exhausted, but was met at the hotel by Katja, Andrea, Lori, and Amanda. I had to crash once I arrived from being up since 3am.

The next morning, we all met up in the lobby, and headed to breakfast. Keep in mind that we were in gorgeous weather in Dallas, Texas; my home state! I was so excited to be back in Texas, but sad to not have time to see my family. I did have an amazing time with a great company with great bloggers, however!

We really should not have had breakfast; we just didn’t know what we were up against with the yummy taste testing we had coming to us later ;). It was so nice to have breakfast with all the girls before the events.

Around 12:30, we all caught a shuttle over to have lunch at Frito-Lay headquarters. Amazing! Stunning! Jaw dropping! I lived in Dallas for a few years and never realized that Frito-Lay was in my own back yard – literally!

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Right around 12:45pm, we were served lunch. This Texas gal was loving the menu! BBQ Brisket, BBQ Chicken and beans. Felt like I was home!  

During lunch, we met and had the honor to meet Aurora Gonzales. Aurora rocked it! She was so full of information, I felt as if I could sit there for a week and poke at her for information about the company. I love getting to know the company that my family has loved for so many years.

First off in our meeting: introduction of staff and bloggers. I liked this because we were able to meet who we would be with all day. I honestly felt like I knew them before the event was started. I was familiar with a couple of blogs, but it was so awesome to put faces to those names. This was a fabulous way to start our day; introducing ourselves.

Around 2:00pm, we all loaded up and headed over to the Culinary area for a tour of the kitchen. On our way to the culinary center, we stopped and fueled on Starbuck’s – yes, IN the Frito-Lay headquarters. I was in heaven with my blended Chai. What a way to wake up in the morning.

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I had the utmost pleasure to visit the Culinary Center and visit with Stephen Kaili; Executive Chef for Frito Lay, and check out the Regional flavor development for Lay’s. Stephen did a nice research of the bloggers who attended. He knew where we were all from, what our blogs were about, etc. I felt like he knew us already just from the short time we had with him. I truly enjoyed meeting and talking with Stephen so much! Here, in the culinary area, I learned SO MUCH on how Frito-Lay comes to develop tastes, flavors and new products. 

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I have always had a passion and love for Culinology. I love to cook and have always wanted to go to cooking school to learn new things. What is Culinology? It is the blending of culinary arts and food technology. Stephen taught us that it’s not about flavor, it’s about taste. Taste is, after all, the #1 experience.

We learned so much on ‘how creations are started’, for example: Cheeseburger chips.

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You might be thinking ‘Gross!’, but these were so awesome! I am a plain cheeseburger (meat and cheese only) girl, but I had to try these. I was amazed at all the flavors that were in the chip itself that were pulled from the actual flavor of a cheeseburger. So cool!

After finished our table conversation, we headed in to the culinary kitchen. I was in Heaven. Heaven is the only clear word I can use for this – heaven!

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I can only dream and imagine having this many spices and goodies to cook with!

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In Product Development, there is a myth: Culinary inspired forms and flavors are for the elite and not the mainstream.

After meeting with and talking with Stephen Kalil and the other Frito-Lay Chefs, my mind truly started turning. I wanted to get home and start doing some of my own experiments. Now, while I won’t be able to make Corn Dog flavored Doritos in my home, my mind was opened up to so many new cooking possibilities. Since I have been home, I have been branching out and experimenting on so many new flavors and ideas.

Just before 4:00pm, we headed back to our main room we began at to have a Frito-Lay sustainability discussion. Sustainability is one of PepsiCo’s most important business imperatives. You gotta love a company that is well put together, well organized, great people working there and fabulous products. It is, literally, an all in one corporation. One thing that I love about Frito-Lay, is they are working to get most of the facilities LEED certified. (The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). You can read more about LEED Certification here. I was fascinated to learn that there are 32 Frito-Lay plants in the US, as well as some in Canada.

Some of you may be asking about goals, such as waste and reduction goals. Guess what? Frito-Lay has that planned out already.

Reduction goals for 2010

  • Water 40%
  • Natural gas: 33%
  • Electricity 23%
  • Landfill waste: 5%, renewing primary packaging 50%, CO2, emissions 10%

What about recycling? Oh, Frito-Lay is big in to recycling! They believe that efficiencies can relate to better benefits. Their delivery cartons reused up to 5 times before recycling, so this isn’t wasted. I have more to come about recycling that you will love!

One thing that I learned that was so fascinating to me, is that Sunchips are actually made with the help of the sun. I thought this was just a name of the chip; I had no idea they were actually made by the sun. There is a solar field at Modesto, and also, they run a solar billboard in San Francisco, as well as a creation of a solar newspaper ad. I am utterly amazed at technology and how Frito-Lay is utilizing all of the resources they can. With this said, Frito-Lay has three main goals to creating more sustainable packaging:

  1. Reduce use of nonrenewable resources
  2. Improve our environmental footprint
  3. Eliminate litter

In 2010, SunChips will be made of a 100% compostable bag. What does this mean? Check out this video!

How great is that for our environment? If that isn’t amazing, you will love this!

All Frito-Lay chip bags are recyclable. What does this really mean? They have created a partnership with TerraCycle. This is a program that converts Frito-Lay packaging in to fun, functional new products. To date Frito-Lay has kept 500,000 pounds of packaging out of the landfill. How is this possible? You can help too!

Start a Bag Brigade:
Terracycle makes fun products from bags, purses, and even speakers. What? Speakers made of a Cheetos bag? You bet!

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The possibilities are endless!

  1. Sign up to start a bag collection team. www.terracycle.net/brigades
  2. Collect and send in bags to terra cycle
  3. Earn case for schools or charities

You can make .02 per bag for your school or charity. While this may not sound like a lot, every penny adds up. I am currently talking with our local school about this. The kids eat chips, we eat chips, so why trash a bag when we can stash a bag and recycle for some cash for our schools?

While this information may seem like ‘information overload’, this was right up my alley. I love knowing more about the company(ies) that we use every day.

Just after 4:30pm, we had another conversation that was so cool to have! How they market to women. We talked with Marissa Jarratt and she keyed us in on some fantastic conversation and marketing tips that they use for how they market their product to the right audience.

One thing that I still cannot get out of my head is what Marissa told us that is so funny, and so true:

These are the top 5 words in never thought I would say at Frito-Lay

  1. Hot flashes
  2. Bra
  3. Panties
  4. Bikini Season
               and last, but not least…
  5. Gynecologist

Women say, think and do these things, but this is where the creative play comes in. You have heard of Only in a Woman’s World, right?

I had to share this with you! One of my favorite episodes so far!

When it comes to marketing those specific target areas, did you know:

  • 85% of consumer purchases are made by women
  • 85% of creative departments are men
  • 58% of women are annoyed by the way advertisers are portrayed by their gender
  • 91% of women think advertisers don’t understand them
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All in all, I am more impressed and glad to be a part of the Frito-Lay family more so than ever. Sure, I grew up with this brand in my home, but to get a peek inside the company made me love them even more. After all the ’round table’ talk, we were taken, the next day, inside the plant of Frito-Lay. If you haven’t had a chance to see how things are made, such as chips – you are truly missing out. We weren’t able to take pictures or videos inside the plant, so I cannot take you on a visual tour. We were able to see from step one how Frito-Lay products are made from seeing and feeling the corn granules, walked around the plant to see the machines in action, we even tasted chips fresh and hot off the ‘press’. So amazing and so cool to witness!

For more information, I invite you to visit www.Culinology.org. This is the RCA: Research Chefs Association website, as well as www.fritolay.com for more information about Frito-Lay and their sister companies.

Mommy Goggles Review Policy: Thank you to Frito-Lay and Zocalo Group, who paid for my travel expenses to bring me to the Frito-Lay offices in Dallas, Texas to learn more about the company that my family has worked with and used in our home for many years. I do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products or conference events. I only review products and work with companies that I trust and have trusted over the years and that I have personally tested and used in my home, and all opinions expressed are my own.

Comments

  1. It sounds like you had so much fun Tanya! You did a great write-up and I so want a camera like yours! Maybe I can get one before BlogHer in August :)

  2. OK, girl…you were SERIOUSLY paying attention despite your quiet demeanor!!! What a great write-up! Frito Lay is definitely a great company with some amazing people!

    They still haven’t sold me on the Cheeseburger chips though! The smell is still in my nostrils.

    It was great finally meeting you in person too :)

  3. Very nice review on your experience with Frito Lay! Looks like you had an awesome time!