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Frito-Lay Claims Richard Montanez Is Not The Inventor of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Ahead of Eva Longoria's Film Kicking Off Production

Frito-Lay Claims Richard Montanez Is Not The Inventor of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Ahead of Eva Longoria's Film Kicking Off Production

Frito-Lay has refuted the claims that Richard Montanez invented the infamous Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and are calling it an “urban legend”.

The company released a statement following the attention that the upcoming movie, which will be directed by Eva Longoria, is getting.

Click inside to see what Frito-Lay is saying about the origin story of their product…

As the story goes, Richard was originally a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., before he pitched his idea to the higher-ups at the company for the new flavor of the popular snack.

However, according to Frito-Lay records, Richard has no claim as being the sole inventor of the product at all.

In a new article in the Los Angeles Times, Frito-Lay shared a statement that read that none of their “records show that Richard was involved in any capacity in the Flamin’ Hot test market.

“We have interviewed multiple personnel who were involved in the test market, and all of them indicate that Richard was not involved in any capacity in the test market. That doesn’t mean we don’t celebrate Richard, but the facts do not support the urban legend.”

However, their records do show that a junior employee at Frito-Lay’s corporate office in Texas named Lynne Greenfeld was assigned to develop the Flamin’ Hot brand in 1989. She apparently came up with the name, and helped bring the product to markets all over the country.

When Richard began to tell everyone that he had invented the flavor, Lynne sparked an internal investigation. That resulted in a conclusion alleging that Richard is not the inventor.

“We value Richard’s many contributions to our company, especially his insights into Hispanic consumers, but we do not credit the creation of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or any Flamin’ Hot products to him,” Frito-Lay added in their statement to the Times.

Despite the records, there was another former Frito-Lay executive, Al Carey, who insisted that Richard is the true creator of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

He shared that Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were “definitely not out in the market” before he met with Richard in 1992, who pitched him the idea. “The product was developed by those guys in the plant.”

Frito-Lay still refutes it though.

“According to our records, McCormick, Frito-Lay’s longtime seasoning supplier, developed the Flamin’ Hot seasoning and sent initial samples to Frito-Lay on Dec. 15, 1989. This is essentially the same seasoning Frito-Lay uses today.”

UPDATE: After the release of the Los Angeles Times article, the reporter who broke the story with NPR got more nuanced statements from Frito-Lay. See below for the tweets.

UPDATE: Read what Richard Montanez has said in response to the report.

Earlier this month, Eva announced who would star in the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos movie.

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Posted to: Cheetos, Richard Montanez

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