Cheetos, widely known as being the favorite snack of nerds, has been on a roll these past few years, releasing several different twists on their traditional gnarled, neon orange, dust-covered “snacks”. They’ve gone giant, they’ve gone white, and now, they’ve gone tiny and, uh, zinged.
Earlier this year, Frito-Lay introduced Cheetos Mighty Zingers. There are two flavors: Ragin’ Cajun & Tangy Ranch and Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante. Their press release states that “Cheetos lovers are in for the ultimate treat, because Chester Cheetah is today unleashing a new cheesy innovation called Cheetos Mighty Zingers – the tiniest Cheetos snacks ever made and marketed.”
I’m sorry, are you looking for a gold star or maybe a smiley-face sticker? Congratulations, you made Cheetos that are smaller than normal Cheetos. Holy shit, alert the press! Wait, that’s actually exactly what they’re doing. You’re already annoying me, Cheetos.
Mighty Zingers’ gimmick is one that seems to be gaining popularity: take two differently-flavored products of the same type and pack them into one bag. The general idea seems to be to have one spicy flavor and one cooling flavor, like the classic buffalo wings and ranch combo. Nobody’s ever sat me down and explained it to me, but I’m assuming you’re supposed to shove them both into your mouth at the same time to achieve the spicy-then-soothing effect. Your results may vary. The idea here seems to be more in the category of complimentary flavors. Who doesn’t love salsa con queso? Communists, that’s who. Don’t be a pinko; eat the fucking chips. Er, snacks.
One thing I love about these snacks right off the bat is that they have taken an age-old snacking problem and finally found a solution for it. The problem: I want to get as much processed food into my mouth as fast as I can, but when I tip back the bag and start pouring them into my giant, unhinged maw, chips start flying everywhere and I get flavor dust in my eyes! The solution? Well, again, I think Cheetos’ press release says it best: “There’s even a playful perforated ‘pouring tab’ up top, making it easier than ever to pop a delicious handful of Mighty Zingers straight into your mouth.”
I think we all know that they don’t intend for you to ever be touching these Cheetos with your hands. That bag, with its “playful pouring tab”, is going straight to your lips. I assume this is why they have made these the tiniest Cheetos ever(!) Easier to pour them into your mouth. Who has time for things like reaching into a bag? There’s a motherfucking raid going on with my guild over here, folks! Of course, this does eliminate the need to suck sticky flavor dust off your fingers. So maybe they are on to something, here.
Somebody on the Cheetos marketing team thinks they’re Charles fucking Dickens, because there’s a goddamn novel written on the back of the bag. Since the picture is probably too small and probably blurry (thanks again, metallic bag), I’ll write it all out for you:
DON’T CALL THEM SMALL.
These tiny Cheetos Snacks are mighty in taste.
THE SHARP CHEDDAR WILL MAKE YOUR TASTE BUDS TAKE NOTICE, AND THE SALSA PICANTE IS TOO ROWDY TO RESIST.
Together these Cheetos Snacks create a cheesy flavor that’ll shove your tongue around.
Their numbers will amaze you. Their tastes will astound you.
There are endless ways to enjoy this mixture of mightiness. Sort them, combine them,
BUT DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF CHEETOS MIGHTY ZINGERS SNACKS.
I can’t tell if Mighty Zingers are going to delight my palate or come out of the bag and kick my ass like Guido coming to collect on an outstanding loan.
I expected the playful pour tab to rip down the entire side of the bag, creating a giant mess, but it tore almost exactly on the perforation, creating just the right hole to pour these little choking hazards right down your gullet. The cheddar does indeed look sharp, and the salsa, picante, so they got the colors right, at least. Let’s check the flavors.
I tried them individually at first, of course, because I’m such a rebel. I had a hard time distinguishing Sharp Cheddar from regular-flavored Cheetos, but I guess that makes sense. Regular Cheetos are already neon cheese-flavored, so why go through the trouble of making up a new flavor? I did detect a little bit of spice, but I think that’s from getting intimate with Salsa Picante in the bag. I could see little red dots on the Sharp Cheddar pieces where the powder had rubbed off onto them. This is why you shouldn’t put two flavors together in one bag; you don’t know what’s going on once you’ve vacuum sealed those two edges together. Cheetos be gettin’ freaky on the store shelves. This is making “sticky Cheeto fingers” even more unappealing.
Uh oh. I should have seen this coming. I should have known. I should have chosen Ragin’ Cajun & Tangy Ranch. I have chosen…unwisely.
SALSA PICANTE IS FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS! (Spoiler alert.) It’s not like I haven’t run into this before; Doritos has repackaged its Cool Ranch as just about every flavor under the sun. But usually they at least try to make something about one of the flavors a little bit different. Not so here. You know what Cheetos Mighty Zingers Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante Snacks really are? Cheetos All the Little Pieces You Find at the Bottom of the Bag That You Wind Up Throwing Away Cheese & Flamin’ Hot Cheese-Flavored Snacks.
I am outraged.
Maybe I shouldn’t be, but there are several factors here. First and most obvious is the recycling of the flavors. Then there’s the gimmick that “oh we made them small!”, when, seriously, these could just be leftover broken pieces from the factory for all I fucking know. The real coup de grace is that, unless you literally are pouring these directly from bag to mouth, they are practically impossible to eat. I’ve been snacking on the ones I poured out in the picture, and even my tiny, delicate, feminine fingers can’t manage to pick up more than one at once without Cheetos flying everywhere half the time. So I’m supposed to pour them into my hand, eh? Oh okay, let’s do that. Then I can lick the flavor powder off my palm like I’m cosplaying Chester fucking Cheetah grooming himself at a fucking furry convention. Okay, yes, I will stand in my kitchen with no pants on and pour these little fucking choking hazards that I could have gotten by buying two bags of differently-flavored Cheetos straight into my mouth, but you know what I won’t do? You know where this person, this person who has eaten AN ENTIRE SMOTHERED MEAT PATTY, draws the line? Licking my hand after eating handfuls of broken-up Cheetos, and then looking down to see my cat performing the same action. I just can’t go there. My cat also licks his own ass.
One more little factoid you should probably know about Cheetos Mighty Zingers Sharp Cheddar & Salsa Picante Snacks – Flamin’ Hot Cheetos turn your fingers red. For like, the rest of the fucking day. I don’t care how many times you wash your hands, your fingers tell the world, “I ate an inappropriate amount of an unhealthy spicy junk food.” Hence, if you eat these Mighty Zingers in handfuls, you’ll literally be caught red-handed. JUST LIKE I CAUGHT YOU RED-HANDED IN A WEB OF DECEIT, CHEETOS.
- Score: 2 out of 5 broken bits of boring old Cheeto flavors in a stupid metallic bag
- Price: $2.99
- Size: 9 1/2 oz. bag
- Purchased at: Fry’s Foods
- Nutritional Quirks: I dunno, just go read a regular bag of Cheetos and account for a “broken-up handful” serving size, I guess.