In response to consumer demand for strong flavours and in an attempt to appeal to Canada’s large Asian ethnic minority, PepsiCo’s Frito Lay Canada will be trying out a new line of Asian-inspired potato chips and savoury snacks in Vancouver and Toronto.

The launch of wasabi and spicy-curry crisps will be supported by a marketing campaign targeting Asian people through Chinese-language newspapers and television stations.

Dale Hooper, Frito Lay Canada’s vice-president in charge of brand marketing, told The Globe and Mail newspaper that the company had tried to strike a balance between authentic Asian flavours and the taste preferences of the Canadian population at large.

“[In Asia] they have a plethora of different snacking options — nuts, meats, those kind of things are much bigger from an Asian perspective. So the challenge for us was to find the perfect intersection between the flavours and tastes they like and something Western, which is the potato chip,” he said.

Additionally, in April Frito Lay will launch its version of a more traditional Asian snack, ‘shrimp chips’ or ‘prawn crackers’. “Potato chip flavours are actually easier than the shrimp chips. We didn’t make these before,” Hooper said.

If the new range is a success, Frito Lay hopes to launch them nationally, although the company acknowledges that it will be more challenging to sell the Asian flavours outside cosmopolitan urban areas without a high Asian-Canadian population.

“There are Canadians who don’t know what wasabi is, so we’ll teach them. This may be the first time some people may learn about it,” Hooper said.