Dating way back, and crushing the margins of popularity each day, and staying as one of the top choices of snacks worldwide, Cheetos really created a name for itself. We all know how Cheetos taste like and how they are being destroyed in homes while watching TV and cinemas across the country.
But what a lot of people don’t know, and would like to, is how are Cheetos made? We took a look at the factory to bring the birth of Cheetos a bit more closely to you.
The History of Cheetos
The cheesy corn snack was invented by Fritos creator who made a few test batches, and they sold out in no time. Since he didn’t have the capacity to launch Cheetos throughout the nation, he partnered with potato chip business owner Herman Lay.
In 1948 Cheetos were sold nationwide with great success, which led to merging the two companies into Frito-Lay Inc. Soon Cheetos become one of the four most wanted snack foods produced by the company with major earnings.
The Cheetos Products
The first Cheetos ever made was Crunchy Cheetos. It was the only product of the Cheetos brand until Cheetos Puffs appeared in 1971. The next Cheetos product was Baked Cheetos and all of the products from that moment had different shapes and flavors.
Cheetos also are a part of Munchies mix in which you can find various products of the Frito-Lay company. In the mid-2000 with the coming of Frito-Lay’s Natural Line of products, Cheetos Natural emerged.
Cheetos started to spread across the world starting with Brazil and followed by Australia. What is really interesting is that Cheetos was the first US brand to be distributed and later made in China. As the time passed, Cheetos expanded to 36 different countries and later even more.
Cheetos products have different flavors depending on the country they are made in. That’s why you can find Strawberry Cheetos in Japan, Cheese & Bacon Balls Cheetos in Australia and Cheetos Whoosh in India.
They also all come in different colors. The sweet version was released as a limited edition named “Sweetos, ” and it was the first sweet snack that Cheetos ever made.
Cheetos come in flavors such as Crunchy, Puffs, Flamin’ Hot Crunchy, Flamin’ Hot Puffs, Flamin’ Hot Limon Crunchy, XXTRA Flamin’ Hot Crunchy, Cheddar Jalapeño Crunchy, and some versions with reduced fat.
Public Appearance and Popularity
You probably don’t remember the first mascot of Cheetos which was using the slogan “Hail Chee-sar!” and was named Cheetos Mouse. But the brand is now known by the Chester Cheetah which is the current mascot.
Chester appeared on TV commercials with a lot of different slogans over time, with the most famous “It ain’t easy being cheesy” following with “Dangerously Cheesy.” In the US, Chester was a computer-generated character, while in the other countries he was animated in a traditional way.
Cheetos marketing evolved to appeal certain ages, with the accent on the adult population. In 2009 Cheetos made its first appearance in the Super Bowl. In 2017 the company made the pop-up restaurant in New York with dishes that were made with Cheetos. The brand became so popular that the reserve spots quickly sold out.
Cheetos have been popular in the general population and in the media due to the shapes that form in the production process. People found Cheetos that resemble the popular and historical figures.
There even was a single Cheeto that was sold for $35 at the time of Michael Jackson’s death because it resembled him doing the moonwalk dance. There was one found that resembles Jesus Christ, which gave it the name Cheesus.
How’s it’s Made?
Cheetos are made of cornmeal, and producing them takes only about twenty minutes. Of course to perform such production is so little time, it requires industrial machines.
The cornmeal is stored in a silo, and it’s transferred through a large tube into the manufacturing plant. From there it enters a big hopper from where it is being made into the finished product. The cornmeal is fed into the extruder which rubs the cornmeal between two plates.
The friction the metal plates are causing melts the cornstarch and heats up the moisture. When it goes above the boiling point, the cornmeal creates the shape that you see in the bag of Cheetos. The Cheetos are then going out of the extruder onto the conveyor belt.
All this is done in one minute. Now it’s time for frying. The Cheetos go through a hot pan filled with vegetable oil which gives the fatty flavor and fries the snack until its moisture drops below 2%. That process of reducing the moisture is the key to the crunchiness of Cheetos.
When the cooking process is complete, the pieces of Cheetos go on the conveyor belt once again. They are transferred to a large drum where nozzles spray the flavor and cheese onto the pieces. Once the spraying process is complete, and it takes around one minute to finish, the pieces of Cheetos go to the last conveyor belt where the remaining moisture is being steamed off, and they remain to cool off.
Once they are cooled to the room temperature, they are moving forward to the packaging area to be packed and shipped. This process goes on and on, and every half hour, samples are being pulled off from the bunch and being delivered to the lab for analysis.
After the analysis and inspection of the chemical composition and the nutritional content, every four hours there are four persons who inspect the samples further and taste them while comparing them with previous samples. Kind of a dream job isn’t it?
With its many flavors, the production process still stays the same. It’s a process that is being carefully developed to achieve the maximum level of crispiness and cheesiness. We could presume the ingredients and the production process, but surely, we didn’t know it is done so fast.
We can now say with certainty that we will enjoy this snack in kind of, enlightened way since we know everything about it and how are Cheetos made.