Photo: Instagram/Funyuns

Snack foods have always been a big business in the Western world and nobody has done it better than America. Once American food companies got it into their head that they want to be global players they racked their heads hard to figure out which of their offerings could be tailored for the global market. Light snack foods that didn’t cost much and gelled well with the appetite of the local people in the specific market that the company was targeting became the crown jewels of the business. One of these products that were identified and selected to be given a push was the corn snack named Funyuns that was first launched in America in the year 1969. It was an onion-flavored corn snack branded Funyuns and invented by George Bigner, an employee of Frito-Lay, the giant snack and food-making company. Frito-Lay is owned by PepsiCo, the global behemoth that is synonymous with soft drinks, juices, fast food chains, snack foods, restaurants, and eatables.

Variety is the Spice of Eating!


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Read Also: Are Hot Funyuns Discontinued? Why did They Discontinue Hot Funyuns?

Funyuns are made from cornmeal and are ring-shaped and are made by an extrusion process. When made they represent the shape and texture of dried onion rings and their salt and onion mix gives them their unique and tasty flavor. They are sold all over the world and once their popularity caught on Frito-Lay introduced new flavors in the global market. Though initially, only Funyuns were available later other variants were launched after much market study and analysis. Original Funyuns were introduced in 1969 and are popular even today and bring in the majority of the revenues. A new flavor named Wasabi was introduced in 2001 but as it did not do well it was removed from the market by 2002. Flamin’ Hot was introduced in 2007 and is still doing well. Chile & Limon had a brief run from 2014 to 2018 and later Steakhouse Onion also sold from 2015 to 2018 before the economics of business forced the company to withdraw the flavor from the market.

Consumers Love Funyuns


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Read Also: Frito-Lay Launches Wavy Funyuns Nationwide: Funyuns Bring New Excitement for Snack Food Lovers!

Funyuns sold by the millions because they were a light snack. They could be had at any time and as they were light people didn’t have to think twice before picking up a handful from the packet and munching them. They could be eaten right from the packet so unlike many snack foods there was no need for any preparation. They were light, tasty, fun, and downright harmless. And they were called Funyuns! How could anybody not love a snack like Funyuns? No wonder their popularity grew and they became one of the biggest selling products of the Frito-Lay company. Over the years the company made some innovations with Funyuns – They removed the “window cut out” from the product which enabled the buyer to see the rings inside the bag and replaced it with a photograph of the product. This did not sit well with consumers and lovers of Funyuns but it was keeping in line with the design philosophy of the rest of Frito-Lay’s products.

A Cultural Phenomenon

The company promoted Funyuns in a big way like encouraging people to use them as an ingredient in recipes for cooking other dishes. Like using Funyuns as a replacement for fried onions in green bean casserole and using crushed Funyuns as a Thanksgiving turkey coating. Over the years Funyuns have become so popular and part of daily life that they have become a cultural phenomenon. Like in the cult AMC TV series Breaking Bad the character Jesse Pinkman has a craving for Funyuns and says so unabashedly. Marshall Eriksen from How I Met Your Mother loves Funyuns and Foxxy Love from Drawn Together has a healthy appetite for Funyuns. Even in the cult TV series The Big Bang Theory Funyuns are liked and bought by several of the characters. Frito-Lay has one of the best marketing systems in the corporate world and they have used all these happenings to promote Funyuns all over the world.

Lots of Life in Funyuns Yet!

Of late there has been some concern that Funyuns might have had their run and may not appeal to the new generation of consumers. Many new snack foods keep getting launched in the market and there is only so much consumer spending money to go around. However, Frito-lay is confident that the simplicity, taste, convenience, and charm of Funyuns will make them a big draw for consumers even today. If so then Funyuns will continue to be a part of the snack world that consumers can choose from. There is still a lot of fun to be had with Funyuns!

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