There have been female-targeted pink Biro pens, higher-priced razors with a pink handle and shoes named Dolly Babe for young girls to wear at school.
Now a leading snack manufacturer is to launch packets of crisps aimed specifically at women – who, it is claimed, prefer a “quieter” crunch.
The product, a version of Doritos, will also be in a smaller packet than the standard snack, which the firm said means it will fit better in women’s handbags.
But activists have hit out at the move, branding it a “tired gender stereotype”.
The marketing initiative follows similar products aimed at women, such as Bic’s For Her range of pens – which came in hues of pink and purple – and pink razors which cost more than the men’s versions. Parents also hit out after it emerged that footwear retailer Clarks branded a style of girls’ shoes Dolly Babe while the boys’ equivalent was called Leader.
The female global chief executive of PepsiCo, which owns Doritos, announced the crisps move in a radio interview.
Indra Nooyi said: “Although women would love to crunch crisps loudly, lick their fingers and pour crumbs from the bag into their mouth afterwards, they prefer not to do this in public. It’s not [a question of] male and female as much as, ‘Are there snacks for women that can be designed and packaged differently?’ And yes, we are looking at it, and we’re getting ready to launch a bunch of them soon.
“For women [it’s about] low-crunch, the full taste profile, not having so much of the flavour on the fingers and how can you put it in a purse. Because women love to carry a snack in their purse.”
A spokeswoman for the Women’s Equality Party said: “The idea of shrinking products for women is as old as the ad men making these decisions. Companies that perpetuate these tired gender stereotypes will continue to lose out on the single biggest consumer group: women.”
The same radio interview saw Ms Nooyi claim the firm needed to “solve” the problem of a lack of women in senior management positions in high-level business.
It is not yet known if the new crisps will be sold in the UK.
But social media was awash with people berating the company over the move.
Drama student Emily Steck tweeted: “What I want: equal pay and equal representation. What I need: a chip that makes no noise so people won’t know I eat. Cheers, @Doritos.”
Rachel L Meir added: “Crunch free silent crisps for ladies. Shhh. Have a word with yourself @Doritos. I’d rather eat cardboard.”