by Marion Nestle
Nov 16 2023

Food Science triumph of the week: silencing Doritos

I’m not a gamer but the mere thought of it brings out the sociologist in me.

I was riveted by this announcement: PepsiCo’s Doritos brand creates technology to ‘silence’ its crunch.

And even more riveted by its explanation: “The software, aimed at gamers annoyed by the sound from other players, used artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze more than 5,000 crunches.”

Right away, I had questions:

  • Gamers are annoyed by eating noises?
  • Gamers typically eat Doritos?
  • Doritos are noisier than anything else?
  • Somebody got AI to listen to 5000 gamers eating Doritos?

Here’s the explanation.

While PepsiCo’s Doritos chips are popular with gamers, the loud crunch they make has long been a source of frustration.The beverage and snacking giant estimated that 85% percent of U.S. gamers have consumed Doritos in the past three months. But at the same time, nearly a third of individuals reported that other people’s crunching distracts them from playing well and impacts their performance.To “help gamers keep the crunch to themselves,” Doritos is debuting what it calls “Doritos Silent.” Gamers download Doritos Crunch Cancellation software and when the technology is turned on, the software detects the crunching sounds and silences it while keeping the gamer’s voice intact.

I could not make this up if I tried.