Doritos is helping out some of the brand's biggest fans: gamers who like to snack. Crunching on chips sounds pretty irritating over microphones, which gamers use to chat while playing—and anyone who's been on a Zoom or phone call with a loud chewer can relate. Using noise-canceling technology, the brand has created an app that cancels out the sound of you chomping on chips called Doritos Silent, reports the Washington Post. When wearing headphones that run the software, other gamers' crunching sounds will cancel out. "That's always been a distraction for me," the app's lead developer and avid gamer Dylan Fashbaugh tells the Post. "I'll lose my focus when one person starts eating."
While gamers might seem like a pretty specific group to target, PepsiCo marketing chief Fernando Kahane says Doritos' connection with the gaming community is "undeniable," per Delish, adding, "Doritos Silent recognizes this bond and demonstrates the brand's continued commitment to ... elevating the experience for gamers." Fashbaugh says they started the project by reviewing different types of noise-canceling technology, then conducting more than 3,000 interviews with gamers across the globe. Some 90% of the cohort from the US said they like to snack while gaming, and they largely agreed that crunching sounds over the mic are annoying.
To cancel out the crunch, the company recorded 500 people eating chips, recording 5,000 different types of munching sounds. Next, they mixed in conversation around the chewing so that AI could pick up the crunch sounds between talking. While they recorded people specifically eating Doritos, the app cancels out the crunching of all types of chips. This isn't the first time Doritos addressed the chips' crunchiness. In 2018, PepsiCo's former chief exec Indra Nooyi claimed the company was making a "chip for women" that was "low crunch" and had less orange dust residue, but the company quickly backtracked after backlash. (PepsiCo wants to take the crunch out of Doritos packaging in the name of sustainability.)