I always had a nagging feeling that there was something sinister about Doritos, and recently I discovered what it is. They've been manipulating their consumers with their flavor names.

In the beginning (or at least as early as I can remember), there were Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, and that spicy one that I don't remember the name of. These were decent flavors, but over time they started using less and less flavoring per chip. They did it gradually so that nobody would notice.

So that's when they came out with "Nacho Cheesier", "Cooler Ranch", and "Hotter whatever the hell it was." These things were a breakthrough because they put back the original amount of flavoring powder! They were so much more flavorful!

Of course you know what they did next. Once again, they gradually decreased the amount of flavoring. Once it got down to the level where people would notice, it was once again time to do something.

The trick of increasing the flavor (Nacho Cheesiest?) wouldn't work a second time. First they distracted everyone with Doritos 3Ds, and enough fools fell for that gimmick to buy them time. And then they released a whole bunch of exciting new flavors!

Here's what really happened. They replaced that unknown third flavor with Salsa Verde, which has the interesting property that it tastes rather good until your tongue gets used to the spicy part of the taste. After that it tastes like a wet sock. They also added the barbecue flavor, and I don't remember the official trademarked name of it.

Here's where I got the revelation: All the other Doritos flavors are combinations of those four. I wish I remembered what the new flavors were so I could deconstruct them here, but I know there's one out there that is quite blatantly a combination of Nacho Cheesier and Cooler Ranch. Also, the Baja Picante flavor gets its odd taste from the fact that it is simply a combination of all the other flavors. I determined this because I noted that it had a sort of spicy cheesy saucy taste, and then the wet sock taste hit me.

A great deal of this is speculation on my part, so if you can prove that the amount of flavoring did not decrease over time or that there are more than four unique flavors, I'd like to hear it.

Update: Okay, so they have tried some different flavors now. They've got Something Sour Cream and the Four Cheese flavor. But they've also gone through another flavor cycle - the Nacho Cheesier bag now proclaims NOW MORE NACHO CHEESE!, thus indicating that for a while they were getting away with less nacho cheese.

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