Doritos-Flavored Mountain Dew? 5 Weirdest Corporate Food Concoctions Known to Humanity
Remember the ubiquitous bacon-on-everything movement? Bacon was sprinkled on everything from ice cream to chocolate to peanut butter. The bacon renaissance seems to have gone by the wayside, as arteries everywhere likely rejoice, and bacon’s bizarre moment in the sun is being replaced with some of the weirdest food combinations and trendiest synthetic creations that could become popular in the coming year. With the emergence of food products like sriracha-flavored beer, the reported testing of Dorito-flavored Mountain Dew and the cannabis-infused coffee now available in Washington state, it appears that any unlikely flavor combination is fair game when it comes to the latest food gimmick.
Here are some of the weirdest foods being made right now.
1. Doritos-flavored Mountain Dew
According to Time, rumors of a new Dorito-flavored Mountain Dew began on Reddit last November when a user posted a photo of a “Dewitos” tasting table captioned, “It actually tastes like Doritos.” Turns out, Dewitos aren’t simply the stuff of gamers’ dreams. PepsiCo has since confirmed previous reports it's been testing the new flavor on college students at Ohio and Kansas State Universities, among others. Though there’s reportedly no word on when, or if, the new flavor will arrive in stores, a Mountain Dew spokesperson told Time, “We are always testing out new flavors of Mountain Dew, and giving our fans a voice in helping decide on the next new product has always been important to us. We opened up the Dew flavor vault and gave students a chance to try this Doritos-inspired flavor as part of a small program at colleges and universities.”
A Reddit user also wrote that Mountain Dew was testing lemon ginger, mango habanero, and rainbow sherbet flavors as well. “It honestly wasn’t that disgusting,” joes_nipples wrote of what Time calls “the first sign of the impending apocalypse,” “It tasted like orange with a Doritos aftertaste[...]Weirdest thing I’ve ever drunken.”
Definitive sign of the endtimes? Maybe not. However, as the Atlantic’s Svtai Kirtsen Narula writes, the new flavor is certainly a new frontier in branding that suggests the future of junk food lies in corporate collaborations. It’s anyones guess what other bizarre combinations may emerge from the “Dew flavor vault.”
2. Sriracha-flavored beer
Sriracha almost disappeared for good following a 2013 lawsuit by the city of Irwindale, Calif. when officials complained that the chili odor emanating from the plant was so strong it became a public safety concern, causing "burning eyes, irritated throats, and headaches." The sriracha movement is still going strong, though, with Refinery29 calling the “cult condiment” the “new pumpkin spice.”
Fans of the red goo slather it on everything from sandwiches and watermelon to margaritas, and now, beer: Oregon-based brewery Rogue Ales released a Sriracha Hot Stout Beer at the end of last year. Some, like C.A. Pinkham of Kitchenette, might be skeptical as to whether a beer flavored with “toxic red sludge” is a good idea: “Sriracha tastes like nothing. It has no flavor. It evokes only the anonymous memory of generic spice, while at the same time possessing the curiously napalm-like quality of incinerating even the remotest bastions of actual flavor in any dish it pollutes.”
However, die-hard hot sauce lovers like Gizmodo’s Mario Aguilar, who writes, “my tongue can't register flavor unless I've doused my meal in some caustic red stuff that measures death on the Scoville Scale,” says the beer has “a nice tingle,” but beware of the vicious heartburn that could follow.
3. Savory yogurt
According to Kathy Gunst, the resident chef of NPR’s Here & Now, fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are trending. Gunst says this could be due in part to a newfound collective awareness of the benefits of maintaining healthy levels of digestive flora coupled with reports that saturated fat may not be as harmful as previously thought. Whatever the reason, companies like Blue Hill Yogurt are taking yogurt’s reignited popularity as an opportunity to take yogurt into previously uncharted territories. They’ve come out with a new line of savory yogurts with veggie-inspired flavors like carrot, sweet potato, and beet, among others.
There’s no hard-and-fast rule that yogurt must be sweetly flavored or fruity; in fact, it can be used as a dip or garnish for savory foods. However, as Gunst points out, yogurt flavored with root vegetables is probably an acquired taste, adding that the savory yogurts she’s tasted remind her of baby food. As healthful and beneficial as it may be, savory yogurt might be too far removed from the realm of actual, edible food for most people.
Global and indigenous cultures have long eaten various insects as a staple food. Crickets are reported to be nutritious and sustainably sourced, and have even begun to turn up on New York City restaurant menus. “Some say they taste like sunflowers," writes Matt MacFarland of the Washington Post. "Others say almonds, or whatever the crickets have been fed. If the cost of farming them drops, they appear likely to become a regular part of American diets given their many merits.”
Increasing awareness among Western cultures of the possible nutritional and ecological benefits of eating insects may have been spurred by a 2013 United Nations report that there will be nine billion people on Earth in 2050, which means current food production would have to double. “Between a lack of space and climate change concerns, we’ll need more sustainable solutions,” MacFarland continues, and “Crickets happen to be a great option.” MacFarland adds that the allure of crickets is “obvious” given the reported environmental boons of cricket farming, like needing less feed to produce “the same amount of protein.” What also appears to be obvious are the psychological hurdles some less adventurous eaters may have to overcome before popping a cricket into their mouths.
5. Synthetic spices
Expensive and sought-after spices and flavors like saffron and vanilla can now be produced in a lab, something researchers and biotech companies are currently exploring. Some argue that synthetic flavors, like those derived from yeast, are unnatural and therefore potentially harmful, but Karmella Haynes of Slate counters, “Chemical analysis of vanillin from yeast reveals no additional atoms, no alien side groups attached, and no tiny molecular boogie men that are prepared to pounce and kill the unsuspecting consumer.”
The idea of eating fake vanilla may seem unusual, but it could be beneficial to some, as “natural” flavors can be expensive and pose health risks, including “the pesticides that are allowed in certified organic food farming, the fertilizer run-off problems for the environment, and obesity in America,” Haynes notes. The idea of formerly “natural” flavors being made synthetically may seem odd, but this weird food could one day replace the natural stuff.