PLANO, Texas - Last night, Lay's potato chips, one of the marquee brands from PepsiCo's Frito-Lay division and America's most-loved potato chip brand, announced Cheesy Garlic Bread flavored potato chips as the winner of its "Do Us A Flavor" contest. The dramatic reveal took place at actress and restaurateur Eva Longoria 's Beso Restaurant in Hollywood, where Longoria joined the Lay's brand in crowning Karen Weber-Mendham from Land O' Lakes, Wis., the finalist behind Cheesy Garlic Bread, as the grand prize winner. For her winning idea, Karen Weber-Mendham will receive $1 million in grand prize money or one percent of her flavor's 2013 net sales (whichever is higher). The two runner-up finalists will each win $50,000 in prize money.
The star-studded event kicked off as the three "Do Us A Flavor" contest finalists – Christina Abu-Judom from Phoenix, Ariz. who submitted Chicken & Waffles; Karen Weber-Mendham from Land O' Lakes, Wis. who submitted Cheesy Garlic Bread; and Tyler Raineri from Lake Zurich, Ill. who submitted Sriracha – and their families walked a Hollywood awards show-inspired red carpet leading them into the restaurant. Attendees then enjoyed a delicious dinner amidst décor inspired by the three finalist flavors culminating with the unveiling of America's next great potato chip flavor by Longoria and the Lay's brand. A celebration around Karen Weber-Mendham ensued.
As a mom of three, going out for pizza is a treat for Karen and her family. While waiting for the pizza to come to the table, Karen always orders a bowl of cheesy garlic bread for the family to enjoy. Cutting the bread into equal-sized pieces so her children don't quibble, Karen can barely put down the bowl before it's completely snatched up. This tradition is what ultimately inspired Karen's grand-prize winning idea.
"We had so much fun celebrating the three 'Do Us A Flavor' finalists last night – it was a true Hollywood affair," said Eva Longoria . "While I believe all three finalists walked away winners, I am so thrilled for Karen. For those that haven't had a chance to try Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread, you're in for a treat."
After receiving nearly 3.8 million consumer-generated flavor submissions, a judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts, including Longoria, and chef and restaurateur Michael Symon , selected Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread, Lay's Chicken & Waffles and Lay's Sriracha flavored potato chips as contest finalist flavors. The three finalist flavors were then fully developed by Frito-Lay's culinary experts and brought to store shelves last February. From Feb. 12 to May 4, more than a million consumer votes were cast via Facebook (www.facebook.com/lays), Twitter and by text, which resulted in Cheesy Garlic Bread being named the winning flavor.
"It has been an incredible journey with millions of fans rallying around this contest to share their passion for great potato chip flavors," said Ram Krishnan, vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay. "The tremendous excitement and level of engagement our fans have shown around each of our finalist flavors has been truly remarkable. We congratulate Karen on being named our winner."
The two runner-up finalist flavors – Lay's Chicken and Waffles and Lay's Sriracha flavored chips will make an encore appearance on store shelves this summer. The winning flavor – Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread will remain on store shelves through 2013.
About the Contest
The "Do Us A Flavor" contest has proven to be a successful model for PepsiCo around the world as the contest has been previously held in numerous countries with consumers suggesting millions of potato chip flavors. From the UK and India to Australia and South Africa, the "Do Us A Flavor" contest has resulted in a wide spectrum of popular consumer-created chip flavors, including Mastana Mango, Walkie Talkie Chicken, Caesar Salad, Chilli & Chocolate, Late Night Kebob and even Cajun Squirrel. This was the first time the "Do Us A Flavor" contest was held in the U.S.
In addition to being part of the judging panel that determined the three finalist flavors, Longoria and Symon also appeared in national television and online advertising, as well as a retail marketing campaign to support the contest.
Longoria, an award-winning actress, best-selling cookbook author and philanthropist, is the owner of Beso, one of the hottest eateries in Hollywood known for its eclectic menu of colorful and tasty dishes from around the world. Originally from Cleveland, Symon is the current co-host of the ABC daytime talk show "The Chew" and appears on Cooking Channel's "Symon's Suppers." He is also the owner of 10 critically acclaimed restaurants located in America's heartland, including Lola, Lolita, Roast and B Spot, as well as the recently opened Bar Symon inside Pittsburgh International Airport.
Lay's potato chips is one of the billion-dollar brands that makes up Frito-Lay North America , the $13 billion convenient foods business unit of PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Lay's by visiting www.facebook.com/lays or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lays.
PepsiCo is a global food and beverage leader with net revenues of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales. Our main businesses – Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola – make hundreds of enjoyable foods and beverages that are loved throughout the world. PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.