Are Cheetos Really Banned In Germany?

With a radical attitude straight out of the 1990s and a rocking attitude, it's no wonder that Chester Cheetah has cemented himself as a recognizable mascot. He's funky, cool, and the face of a product that may be illegal to sell in Germany.

To understand the relationship between Germany and Cheetos, we should first briefly touch upon the complexity of trademarks. According to The Takeout, Intersnack, a Dusseldorf-based company, holds reign over the German snack food market, producing pretzels, chips, and Chitos – corn puffs that are, in Intersnack's opinion, similar enough to constitute a trademark violation. As a result, any vendor who sells Cheetos runs the risk of being fined.

But why ban Cheetos to begin with? Perhaps Chitos is putting an embargo on Cheetos as a way to keep themselves afloat. The Takeout explains that Chitos isn't exactly a mass-produced snack the way Cheetos are, limited only to Germany. If Cheetos were to be sold in Germany, the snack brand could easily flood the market and overtake regional brands like Chitos.

Before you think this is an attempt from a smaller company to keep a foreign company off its turf, Oddee claims that Chitos technically doesn't exist. Intersnack can't even classify just what a "Chito" is, and very rarely markets them in big promotions as Cheetos does. Even so, Intersnack would rather keep Cheetos out of its backyard. This doesn't mean some Germans don't want to get dangerously cheesy, however.

Cheetos are still smuggled into Germany

Cheetos aren't just hard to come by in Germany; they're rare throughout the entire EU. According to Eat This, Not That, many countries have banned a variety of food and beverages produced in the U.S. due to concerns about flavorings, hormones, and color dyes. Coupled with the aforementioned trademark tangle with Intersnack, it seems Germans will be forever denied the chance to live on the cheesy side of life — or will they?

As several Reddit posts note, Cheetos that are sold in Germany are sold under a somewhat different name. For example, one business sells "Quesos," which is obviously a bag of Cheetos, Chester Cheetah and all, with the name slightly tweaked. This way, companies can still sell "Cheetos" since they technically aren't breaking the rules. It would be like selling cookies that are the exact same as Oreos, but you put a sticker over the label that calls them "Moreos."

Similar to how American bar owners and thirsty patrons relied on black market liquor during the Prohibition era, some German citizens can either rely on purchasing Cheetos online for an exorbitant price — Ubuy offers a bag of Cheetos at an incredible 40 euros! — or having to "smuggle" their cheesy snacks across the border. One Reddit user on r/Germany even hinted that one could try to get them in the Netherlands or even make friends with people in the U.S. Military.

Perhaps one day Americans and Germans will share a bag of Cheetos at the proverbial lunch table we call life.