The Surprising Flavor Cheetos Used To Sell

When you think of the Cheeto, what do you think of? The crunch you get when you eat a Cheeto right out of a freshly opened bag? The salty, cheesy flavor that leaves you wanting more the moment it hits your tongue? Or the inevitable mess of neon-orange fingerprint stains that cover everything from your keyboard to your clothes? The Cheeto, ever since its introduction in 1948, has had more than its lion's — or perhaps in this case, the cheetah's — share of flavors and styles to keep up with the cheese-hungry populace. 

From the can't-go-wrong classic flavor, whose roots can be connected with U.S. Army experimenting with dehydrated cheese powder in World War II (via Wired), to the alleged story of the Frito-Lay janitor rocketing to success by inventing the wildly beloved Flamin' Hot Cheetos (via CNBC), Cheetos has had plenty of wild and radical flavors that became either household staples or were left behind in the cheddar-flavored dust. While there are plenty of wild flavors out there, there is one particular flavor that may have not looked too out of place on the grocery store shelves of today.

The Forgotten Flavor of Cheetos

In the early 1980s, Cheetos began to market their Bacon Cheddar Cheetos to the snack-food-craving public. With the tagline of "Bacon and Cheddar: What Could Taste Better?" (via YouTube), the corn-puffed snacks were doused in the famous cheese powder along with a dash or two of artificial bacon flavor to create a wildly popular twist on the Cheetos brand — or so parent company Frito-Lay hoped. For some reason, these smoky and cheesy snacks were suddenly pulled from the shelves, and the reason is still a mystery today.

There are plenty of rumors as to why this flavor suddenly disappeared. According to a theory from So Yummy's ranking of outrageously '80s snack foods, the reason was that Cheetos had a distinct flavor all of their own, and that adding that fake bacon-bits flavor to them would obscure the traditional taste. As they described it, it was a "mockery to Chester Cheetah himself." Another, more obscure (as well as far-fetched) rumor comes from forum site In the 80s, where a commenter proposed that the Cheetos flavor was pulled after an incident regarding the wife of the Fritos CEO. The wife was Jewish and avoided pork-based products, but somehow consumed two bags of Bacon and Cheddar Cheetos while at a picnic, and became angry when she realized what she had eaten. To appease her, the product was silently and discreetly removed from production.

While Cheetos Bacon and Cheddar may not be around today, Frito-Lay still offers Bacon and Cheddar Fries on their website.