I first became aware of Doritos’ rounded corners ten years ago on a tour at a Frito-Lay factory. When we got to the Dorito production line, our host showed us the metal molds, each with a myriad of soft-cornered triangular negative spaces awaiting infusions of cornmeal. No sharp points; fewer law suits to worry about, he confessed.
That explanation, of course, was never part of the official Pepsi/Frito-Lay party line back in 1994. (Nor will you find it in Dorito’s present-day Wikipedia entry.) It’s easier to eat them without the sharp corners, noted Jerry Vogel, Frito-Lay’s then Director of Corn Products in a 1994 New York Times article. . . a lot of the scrap in the bag, he added, was from the corners breaking off.
|Will the real Dorito take a bow!|
No doubt about that, but back then high-profile lawsuits against food manufacturers/purveyors and, of course, the tobacco industry, were all the rage and the source of deep-dish corporate neuroses. Remember the great McDonald’s scalding coffee incident of 1992? Seinfeld did, in an episode when Kramer bungled a sure-thing settlement in the wake of a scalding latte tucked inside his pants. Who told you to put the balm on? demanded his motor-mouth attorney, Jackie Chiles. In a later episode, Jackie experienced similar frustration when Kramer kissed off a windfall from the tobacco companies. But by redesigning the Dorito for architectural superiority, Frito-Lay made its chip litigiously bullet proof. And brace yourself--they did consumers a favor.
View the legal tete a tete here.