The flavour Aussies are going nuts for
Snack food giant PepsiCo says it "can't keep up" with Aussie appetite for this new flavour of Twisties, Doritos and Cheetos.
Since it brought the "Flamin' Hot" variants from the US in August - Doritos and Twisties as limited editions - sales are "absolutely going (off)", according to PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand chief executive Danny Celoni.
"We can't keep up," he said.
Mr Celoni said it was more than just the novelty factor.
"We see there's a genuine space for it," he said.
"Households are saying, I'm going to buy my standard Twisties but then also the Flamin' Hot, because it's a bespoke flavour. We know it's responding well because we see (high) repeat purchase levels."
Mr Celoni said the Flamin' Hot range was "over-delivering" compared with PepsiCo's forecasts - but that research had suggested it would be popular.
"We do a whole bunch of flavour profile prioritising and we knew heat was up there," he said. "We saw it worked well in the States so decided to slowly trickle it in."
Mr Celoni cited the success of the new range as one of a number of "flavour extensions" PepsiCo was introducing across its snack and drinks portfolio - off the back of a massive change to its products that, with any luck, customers won't even notice.
The company announced today it has changed the cooking oil for its major snack brands to Australian canola oil, significantly reducing the saturated fat content in Doritos, Tostitos, Twisties, Burger Rings and Cheetos.
"The number one focus is for our consumers to still receive the exact same taste they love," he said.
"This move is going to mean that Burger Rings and Twisties will have a greater than 80 per cent reduction in saturated fats. That's a big thing while delivering on the same outstanding flavours consumers love."
PepsiCo already made the switch for Smith's chips last year and has now rolled out the change across its other snack brands.
The move means "90 per cent of our local snack portfolio meets our global PepsiCo 2025 goal to reduce saturated fat in our products to no more than 1.1 grams per 100 calories", Mr Celoni said.
The move is also a massive win for Aussie farmers.
"We're going to be sourcing over 14,000 tonnes of canola oil from here in Austraia, specifically in NSW and Victoria," he said.
He couldn't put a dollar figure on the spend but said it was "on top of the greater than 80 per cent of produce, potato and corn" sourced locally to the tune of $120 million a year.
Mr Celoni said customers were "looking to make healthier choices and we saw this as an opportunity to source local Australian canola oil which has better benefits from a health perspective in saturated fats".
"It's really still down to choice," he said.
"Customers are saying, don't tell me what you want me to eat but give me a choice, because there's some occasions during the day and the week (that they want to indulge)."
Mr Celoni was tight-lipped but said next year the "we've got a really exciting innovation portfolio".
"It's going to continue to be focused on doing great and exciting things on the core brands," he said.
"We're quite tight with our portfolio, we still have a great core business in Smith's, Red Rock Deli goes from strength to strength and Doritos are still in high demand."
Vegan and gluten free options are "certainly on our radar" but "it's something we haven't fully activated".
"If the consumer really wants it (you have to) build a whole cross-functional team, R&D, brand," he said.
"Right now it hasn't been first off the rank. We've still got a lot of low-hanging fruit (for example) in the beverage portfolio with low-sugar Gatorade line extensions."
PepsiCo Australia is also in the process of rolling out the voluntary Health Star Rating on front-of-pack packaging.
Health Star Ratings will be on 67 per cent of PepsiCo's Australian snack products by the end of 2019, on track to meet government guidelines of 70 per cent by 2023.