The crazy merchandise Cheetos, Coke and KFC and other food companies sell to get attention

You could use that $1 bill toward a small bag of Cheetos.

Or you could use 20,000 of them to buy a Cheetos earrings and ring set with orange sapphires and black and white diamonds set in 18-karat gold. Yes, that’s $20,000 U.S. dollars.

As competition on supermarket shelves and in food courts grows fierce, food manufacturers and fast-food chains are looking beyond the usual T-shirts and baseball hats to accessorize customers.

Companies from KFC and McDonald’s s to Hidden Valley and Coca-Cola are peddling items that have little to do with the noshes they’re known for.

Think chicken and pillowcases ($14), Big Macs and wallpaper ($47), ranch dressing and fountains ($89) and soda and purses ($36.03).

Taco Bell, in late September, announced it was teaming with Gen Z retailer Forever 21 for a fashion line that includes several iterations of a bodysuit. This month, Whataburger unveiled a silver charm featuring its logo. And in the spring, Hidden Valley —yes, the maker of salad dressings — started selling a ranch dressing fountain. And yes, that’s like a chocolate fountain, but with ranch dressing.

“The brands are really fighting for mindshare, and they don’t want to just be seen as a very functional brand that helps you satiate your hunger. They want to be a part of your lifestyle,” said Julie Cottineau, CEO of Westchester, N.Y.-based consulting firm BrandTwist. “They’re trying to give you a means to say, ‘This is a brand that’s part of my identity.’ “

While few people are willing to shell out the price of a new car for bling that showcases their love of cheesy snacks, plenty will spend a few bucks on wacky items, such as Little Caesars’ headphones for $13 or an Arby’s curly-fry golf club cover for $28.

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