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K-State Today

November 13, 2017

Creator of Flamin' Hot Cheetos shares 'rags to riches' story

Submitted by Hannah Ens

Flamin' Hot Cheetos have brought a special kick to countless gatherings, parties and afternoon study sessions. Meet the man behind the snack, Richard Montañez, and hear how he rose from janitor to executive in a real life "rags to riches" story at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in the K-State Student Union Grand Ballroom.

Montañez began his PepsiCo journey in 1976 as a janitor in a Frito-Lay plant. A malfunction in an assembly line resulted in Montañez taking home some undusted Cheetos, and a Mexican street snack inspired him to try adding a spicier powder to the bare Cheetos. The creation of the Flamin' Hot product line was instrumental in influencing PepsiCo's approach to future ethnic products, including the establishment of the first Frito-Lay Hispanic marketing team. Over the years, Montañez has continued to lead improvement initiatives for PepsiCo brands, such as Hispanic products and promotions for KFC and Taco Bell. He currently leads multicultural sales and community promotions across PepsiCo's North American divisions. 

This free event is sponsored by Union Program Council, HALO, Frito Lay and the K-State Campus Store. For more information, visit kstateupc.com or call 785-532-6571.