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The present Twisties logo
|Product type||Cheese curl|
|Owner||The Smith's Snackfood Company|
General Foods Corporation
|Registered as a trademark in||The Smith's Snackfood Company (Australia)
Mondelēz International (Malaysia)
Twisty ('ทวิสตี้' in Thai)
|Tagline||Life's pretty straight without... (Australia)
Life is fun with... (Pacific Islands)
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||2,050 kJ (490 kcal)|
|Dietary fibre||1.5 g|
|Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Twisties are a type of cheese curl, corn-based snack food product, available mainly in Australia, and other Oceanian countries such as Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, the Southeast Asian countries Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Brunei, and the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. It was launched in 1950 by the General Foods Corporation. The brand name is owned by The Smith's Snackfood Company. While originally an Australian-owned company, Smith's was acquired in August 1998 by Frito-Lay, the second largest producer of snack foods in Australia, which in turn is owned by American multi-national PepsiCo. In Malaysia, Twisties is a product of Mondelēz International, after having been a part of Danone and later, Kraft Foods previously. In Thailand, the Twisties trademark is owned by Lay's, which like The Smith's Snackfood Company, is owned by PepsiCo. In New Zealand, Malta and Italy, Twisties are marketed under different names.
In the early 1950s Melbourne businessman Isador Magid imported a rotary head extruder from the United States which initially did not work. After bringing out a technical expert from the USA as well as receiving valuable advice from the CSIRO, Magid started producing Twisties. The product was popular but large scale distribution was difficult so Magid decided to sell the machine and the brand in 1955 to Monty Lea from Darrell Lea for £12,000. Monty and his brother Harris experimented with the machine further using rice and various flavourings. Twisties became popular in Australia - some of its early success is attributed to promotional activity that included advertising the product on Graham Kennedy and Bert Newton's TV show In Melbourne Tonight, making it one of the earliest products advertised on that program. After an unsuccessful attempt to launch Twisties in the UK and competition for shelf space in Australia the Lea brothers agreed to sell the Twisties brand to the Smith's Snackfood Company.
Twisties are produced by feeding a mix of milled corn, rice, wheat and water into a machine known as a rotary head or random extruder. This machine cooks the mix at high temperature and pressure whilst forming the pieces. This process results in the characteristic Twisties shape with the knobbly surface and squiggly shape. After forming, the pieces are oven baked before being flavoured with a coating of seasoning and vegetable oil.
During the late 1990s the Twisties brand went through a brand overhaul, coinciding with the acquisition of The Smith's Snackfood Company by Frito-Lay. During the brand overhaul the appearance of the packet was changed to a more modernised look, adopting its current logo. As well as this, the texture of the snack itself was altered, resulting in a smoother finish.
Twisties were originally available only in 'Cheese' flavour, but 'Chicken' and 'Wicked Cheddar Zig-Zag' flavours were later introduced and became a standard part of the product line. There have also been flavours abroad as diverse as 'Toffee', 'Tomato' and 'Salmon Teriyaki', where the local palette suits them the most.
Since the snack's creation, its base ingredient has been ground corn, rice and agar. Other base ingredients standard in every flavour are vegetable oil, whey protein, salt, and monosodium glutamate (E621) as a flavour enhancer. Ingredients differ depending on the variety of Twisties.
- The ingredients for Cheese flavour are as follows, in order of percentage of product: corn and rice cereal, vegetable oil, whey powder, cheese powder, monosodium glutamate (E621), salt, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, flavour, yeast extract, potassium chloride, cream powder, milk powder, natural colouring (paprika extract and carotene), lactic acid.
Twisties has a large variety of flavours which are sold in Australia, and in the different islands. Of these are the main flavours 'Cheese' and 'Chicken', found in any country that sells them. The islands have a more diverse selection of flavours available normally, however Australia experiences more limited edition flavours. This is due to The Smith's Snackfood Company's aim to "[re-energise] consumers' love for the Twisties brand", according to the company's senior marketing director Jenni Dill.
Twisties have not been localised or produced in Mauritius as of yet. The country's supply of Twisties are imported from Malaysia.
- Cheese - has existed since the snack's inception
- Turns Your Tongue Blue! - limited edition, released in 2012, marketed as being able to temporarily change the colour of your tongue to blue, currently discontinued
- Zig-Zag - Twisties formed into zigzag shapes, were discontinued, re-released in 2016
- Wicked Cheddar - released in 2004
- BBQ Sauce - currently discontinued
- Bacon - released in early 1970's, discontinued after a year due to poor sales
- Hawaiian Pizza O's & X's - limited edition, released in 2004, currently discontinued
- Sweet Butter Toffee - limited edition, currently discontinued
- Cheese-O's - limited edition, released in 2005, currently discontinued
- Bag O' Bones Spookily Seasoned - released in 2005, currently discontinued
- Hot Dogs - limited edition, released in 2006 as part of a Tazos promotion involving The Simpsons, currently discontinued
- Corn Puff - Twisties formed into a puffed ball shape
- Cheeky Cheese - limited edition, released in 2006 as part of a different Simpsons-themed promotion
- Melted Butter - currently discontinued
- Chilli Cheese - limited edition, released in 2011, re-released in 2015
- Cheese Burger - limited edition, released in 2011, re-released in 2012 and 2013, currently discontinued
- Spicy Burger - limited edition, released in 2012, currently discontinued
- Saucy BBQ - limited edition, released in 2012, currently discontinued
- Pizza - limited edition, released in 2012, re-released in 2017
- Peri Peri - limited edition, currently discontinued
- Cheese & Mite Flavour - limited edition, released in 2013, based on the iconic Vegemite flavour (referred to on the packet as 'Mite'), currently discontinued
- Cheese & Bacon - limited edition, released in 2013, re-released in 2015, currently discontinued
- Flaming Hot - limited edition, released in 2014, currently discontinued
- Hot Dog - limited edition, released in 2014, currently discontinued
- Bag of Ghosts! - limited edition, released in October 2014 as a Halloween-themed product, currently discontinued
- Taco - limited edition, released in 2015, currently discontinued
- Tangy Tomato - limited edition, released in 2015
- SOUR - limited edition, only at 7-Eleven, released in late September 2015, featured an astringent yellow-green lemon on pack
- Cheesy Popcorn - limited edition, released in 2016, cheese flavoured popcorn
Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji
- Cheese (Cheese Fromage in Vanuatu and New Caledonia)
- Chicken (Chicken Poulet in Vanuatu and New Caledonia)
- Extra Cheese (Extra Cheese Fromage en Plus in Vanuatu and New Caledonia)
- Beef (in Papua New Guinea ONLY)
- Cheese & Onion (Cheese & Onion Fromage & Oignon in Vanuatu and New Caledonia)
- Red Tongue (similar to Australia's Turns Your Tongue Blue! flavour)
- Choco Banana - The biscuit is chevron shaped, with a chocolate banana filling.
- The Big Cheese
- Yo! Chicken
- Fizz - similar to Australia's Turns Your Tongue Blue! flavour, except with an effervescent effect
- Duh! Tomato
- Whoa! Spicy Garlic
- BBQ Curry Dude!
- Chilli Cheese
- Lime Chilli
- Sawadee Thai Sweet Chili
- Super Starz - released as part of a 2012 promotion with Viacom promoting the MTV World Stage music festival in 2012
- Honey BBQ Wings
- Spicy Sausage
- Double Kick - contains two flavours at once, released in 2010
- Bolognese & Cheese Onion
- Chicken Chorizo & Smokey Sausage
- Peppery Jalapeno & Pickle
- Coffee Bonanza - limited edition, currently discontinued
Twisties have been advertised since its last brand overhaul in the late 90's with the well-known slogan "Life's pretty straight without..." In the English-speaking Oceanic countries where Western vernacular isn't as well understood, its slogan is "Life is fun with..." Typical television advertisements play on the slogan by showing people in mundane situations being transported to surreal and exciting environments when they eat Twisties. Twisties are claimed to be the "number one extruded snack brand" by Smith's.
Twisties, as well as other snack brands owned by The Smith's Snackfood Company, previously included Tazos (pog-like collectible discs) in specially marked packets for consumers to collect. These Tazos came in many themes over the years, such as Yu-Gi-Oh!, The Simpsons and other popular franchises. This could be attributed to Twisties' success.
Advertising for the snack has almost completely stopped in the last decade in comparison to its past promotions. Twisties' largest (and most expensive) campaign ever was between 1982-1983 with its "Twisties jumper" campaign. Lillian Darrell, a previously unknown actor, played the role of an old woman knitting a Twisties jumper straight from a sheep. The promotion included free knitting patterns and free bags of Twisties. Other promotions were attempted afterwards, but they resulted in little success. Currently, Twisties relies heavily on limited edition flavours to keep hype on a profitable level.
Twisties in New Zealand are drastically different from the Australian variety in terms of both packet design, marketing and the shape of the cheese curl itself. Called 'twisties [sic]', they are manufactured by Bluebird Foods and are only available in cheese flavour. The packet features a penguin mascot about to throw a cheese curl as if it were a ball, and has a completely different slogan as compared to its Australian counterpart: it being "It's a straight world without Twisties!" They are less dense than the Australian variety, and their shape is more tubular and curvy without imperfections in the shape (Australian Twisties are more jagged and detailed). In New Zealand the Australian variety is not widely available.
Twisties are also sold on the Italian market with the name 'Fonzies'. Fonzies are pale yellow in colour, because they do not use the bright orange food colouring that normal Twisties use. As well as this, they are easier to chew because they're baked, unlike its Australian inspiration which is fried. Their cheese flavouring is very similar to that used in the Oceanian varieties bearing the 'Twisties' name, lighter and less prone to clump together during consumption, and with a more natural cheese flavour. The only quality that differentiates it from said varieties is its slight egg-like taste upon first bite, though it wears away after continued consumption. It is made through the same rotary head extrusion technique as in all other localisations, though the snacks are much smaller than those found in Australia, sticking more to a general thin shape rather than a selection of both thin and stout snacks. Its smell is much more pungent, as well. Fonzies are available in 'Gli Originali' ('Original') flavour, as well as 'Time Out', 'Choco', 'Hot Passion', 'Bacon','Hot Chili' and others.
- The ingredients for Fonzies are as follows, in order of percentage of product: corn grit 62.2%, palm oil, cheese powder 6%, whey powder, salt, flavour, baking powder, yeast extract, flavour enhancers (E621, E627, E631), lactose (from milk), smoke flavour.
Although sold in Italy, Fonzies are produced in Germany by LU Snack Foods GmbH. In the GCC countries, they are also sold with the name "Fonzies", produced by Kraft Malaysia.
- Gina Rushton (October 9, 2014). "Ben Pasternak, 15, tops app charts, now for a start-up". The Australian. Retrieved July 25, 2016.
- Grant Jones (November 14, 2013). "Cheese &mite Twisties set to get the nation talking". News.com.au. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
-  Archived August 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Business review weekly: BRW. 13 (26-34): 43. 1991.
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