They're orange, and they're called Peatos. The takeoff on Cheetos is unmistakable, and the snack behemoth isn't happy about it. The Wall Street Journal reports that Cheetos maker Frito-Lay, a division of PepsiCo, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to World Peas Brand Peatos.
The Cheetos lawyers say Peatos, made of peas and lentils and pitched as a healthier alternative, borrows too much in design from the bigger brand. That includes Peatos' paw-print logo and the slogan "Tigers live longer than cheetahs." New York Business Journal reports World Peas CEO Nick Desai didn't shy away from the Cheetos connection when the product launched earlier this year.
"If you look at the $4 billion puffed snack category, you find the dominant player Cheetos on one end bursting with taste and mass market appeal, but full of empty calories," he said in a statement.
"I personally love Cheetos, but I know I cannot and should not eat them anymore," Desai continued. "It is not crazy to think that we may soon find that corny Cheetah on the endangered species list." FoodNavigator-USA quotes Desai as having pitched his snack as having twice the protein (at 4 grams) and three times the fiber (at 3 grams) as Cheetos, while being slightly lower in calories and free of artificial colors and flavors.
The Journal frames the issue as part of a larger one in which Pepsi is trying to fend off a slew of startup brands billed as healthier choices.