Yeah, gimmicks work on me.
If I see a new Starburst flavor or Trader Joe’s seasons cashews yet another way, I’m going to buy them and try them. A lot of times they suck ass, but sometimes you get a hit. Like the Starbursts Fave Reds and the coconut cashews. (Oh my god, yum.)
So Lays has been doing this thing, “Do Us a Flavor”. They started last year. They let people come up with ideas for potato chip flavors, they pick four, they make them and then they put it to a vote to see which one is best. Whichever potato chip wins, gets made for the shelves and the creator gets some cash-money.
Last year was Cheesy Garlic Bread, Sriracha, Chicken and Waffles. I tried them all. The Chicken and Waffles was kind of weird but decent. (Though I’m a fan of chicken and waffles, have you seen my Breaking Bad-themed Los Pollos Locos menu?) The Sriracha just kinda of tasted spicy. The Cheesy Garlic Bread tasted more like cheesy garlic bread than you’d imagine. Those were the ones that won.
This year, they got a little crazier. There’s Bacon Mac & Cheese, Wasabi & Ginger, Mango Salsa and Cappuccino. (Yes, I said Cappuccino … potato chips.) My colleagues and myself, being fans of food, and apparently weight gain, decided to purchase the four flavors (and last year’s winner) and give them a go.
The Bacon Mac and Cheese Chips by Matt Allen
I guess we’re starting out strong here. These are, I’d say decent. In terms of execution, they taste like cheesy chips. They smell like bacon. The bacon smell is NOT a good thing. Incredibly off-putting.
Wasabi & Ginger Chips by Meneko Spinger McBeth
I’m going to say these are the most successful. They taste like wasabi and ginger and still manage to not be overpowering or too artificial tasting. It IS a little strange having the flavor in your mouth and not eating sushi though. It’s a bit of a mind fuck.
Mango Salsa Chips by Julia Stanley-Metz
These are weird, but edible. They definitely taste fruity, I’ll give them that. I don’t really get any elements of salsa, and not even much mango, just weird-fruity potato chips. It’s almost like you’re eating some fruit leather, but then it’s crunching and you don’t know why.
Cappuccino Chips by Chad Scott
Chad Scott. What did you do to the world? Was this a joke? Some plot to punish people? Were you sitting at home in your rat cage and your roommate said, “Gee, what do you want to do tonight, Chad?” and you respond with, “The same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to kill the entire population of the world with stench and bad ideas.” (I wasn’t a fan.) First of all, I’m very open-minded when it comes to flavor combinations and food and trying new things … I sort of have to be in my line of work. But all of my senses were assaulted, here. For this, I will never forgive Mr. Chad Scott.
Cappuccino clearly does not belong with potato chips. You might think it’s okay. You might think it’s one of those combinations like salted caramels or chile-laced chocolate that people just haven’t thought of before. You. Would. Be. Wrong. Coffee and potato chips were never meant to go together, at least not in this artificial, completely contrived form of … sigh … what they are calling food.
I know that’s a harsh assessment. I’d almost be willing to say that it’s an over-reaction and just an opinion and you should try them yourselves. However, I have seen the faces of every single one of my colleagues who have tried these potato chips and it’s always the same. Hesitant sniff, little lick, take a bite… chew … and then the face slowly contorts in horror as they quickly swallow the cappuccino nightmare.
Why, Lay’s? Did you not do any product testing before putting this in the market? Someone had to step up and say “WAIT A SECOND … THIS IS WEIRD AS SHIT.”
Let’s be real here. The Bacon Mac and Cheese is going to win. Because it’s America… and it’s bacon… and the singularity of a flavor like wasabi is going to be overlooked by a great deal of people.
What about next year though>? Just in case they are looking for other bad ideas, I thought we could all brainstorm some together! What do you say guys? I’ll get you started with a few and I’d love to read some more in the comments section, our Facebook page or are Twitter account. Let’s get rich and famous together off the Lay’s gimmick!
Here’s my top 20:
● Red Potato
● Questionably Old Greek Yogurt
● Strawberry Pop Tart
● Deviled Egg
● Light Lager
● Rocky Mountain Oyster
● Regular Oyster
● Chunky Gravy
● Pumpkin Spice
● Well Water
● Bologna-Banana Sandwich
● Durian Fruit
● Roasted Asparagus
● Day-Old Croissant
● Pickled Pig’s Feet
● Orange Creamsicle
● Steamed Cod Filet
● Starbursts Fave Reds
What do you guys have? Top me. I dare you.
Fontina Turner, a food blogger and graphic designer from Philadelphia, makes classy-as-fuck comfort food and consumes an unhealthy amount of cheeses and craft beers. She can be found in the kitchen, at the bar, on Twitter or trying to make H. Jon Benjamin love her. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.