I did not expect to get up on a glorious Saturday morning and write about Lay’s new flavours of potato chips. However, the response I got to last night’s slightly-inebriated photo-shares of our taste test means I am doing exactly that. So coffee in hand, sitting at the patio table, with dogs at my feet, horses neighing for their breakfast in the background, telling you about the 4 Do Us A Flavour Lay’s potato chip flavours which are being test-marketed right now.
How did we get to this point?
Well, this is a working-weekend at my friends’ farm. These weekends are generally spent cooking, planning to cook, building fires, photographing, hanging out with horses and sometimes actually working. Of course this also requires regular trips to the local farmer’s market, local butcher, local lcbo and the surprisingly well-stocked local grocery store.
This is where our story begins. As we cruised the aisles of the Schomberg Foodland shopping for our first big dinner meal in the grocery store, individually we came upon the display rack of Lay’s 4 new flavours of potato chips– Maple Moose, Poutine Platter, Creamy Garlic Caesar and Grilled Cheese & Ketchup. Each flavour was selected from the Do Us a Flavour campaign that Lay’s ran earlier this year. Consumers were asked to design their own flavour and then get people to vote for it. My flavours didn’t get very many votes – Thai Green Curry, Montreal Smoked Meat, and Lobster Roll. (I did have more ideas but my entries kept breaking the system and I only had so much time to invest in playing.)
But at least none of my proposed flavours make it onto Dave Hodgson’s The Worst of Lay’s “Do Us A Flavour” Contest
The winning options came in from across the country – Creamy Garlic Caesar from BC, Perogy Platter from Alberta, Grilled Cheese & Ketchup from Ontario and Maple Moose from Newfoundland. (Interestingly a 50/50 split along gender lines.)
So there we congregated, at the cardboard display, trying to figure out which we want to try, if any. And Bill says “do you want to try them all?” Of course we want to try them all! So we did.
5 tasters, 4 new flavours, and a myriad of opinions.
We did a quick pre-taste guess to see which we thought would be our favourite of the 4, and a post-taste evaluation of which we thought was most “new” and which we would actually buy. And given Lay’s traditional great smell when you open the bag, we did a little nose test too.
here’s the breakdown
Taste – This is an intense chip. Lots of smoke and a little maple. But more of a savoury maple, or a maple smoke, than maple syrup (in case you were hoping for a sweet, sticky chip, these aren’t them!) With the intensity of the smoked flavour means that the sweet maple takes a while to come through. 5 or 6 chips in a row and you’ll start getting the sweet. As for the moose, I got a bit of moose flavour, meaty flavour anyway. Do they taste like moose? Well, I’d say yes. A little.
Mid-tasting quotes – Maple mouse – maple smoke, dark colour … Smoky, bacon. Maple smoke,, too smoky. The most unique. Too weird. Not a distinct flavour. Sweet smoky… Some bacon…interesting. love the smoke. Smoke tones down everything else.
Look – the darkest chips, likely the most flavouring.
Newest – Lex, Gerry
Would Buy it – Gerry ( because it would go well with scotch)
Verdict – This is an intense chip. If you don’t like smoke it’s not for you! If you want sweet, it’s not for you. If you want something that tastes like smokey, meaty with a back edge of savoury maple flavour, this chip is one to try. This is the only bag that did not get finished over a 4-day long weekend. 1/2 of the bag was left when we packed up to go home.
Taste – This chip seemed to be the most true-to-the-name flavour in the Lay’s Do Us A Flavour line up and we all said “yup, tastes like perogies” (of course we all wanted to spell it differently, but that’s another matter.) And if you don’t know what perogie taste like – it’s potato, a little sour cream, a little bacon (hint of smoke), and a little onion.
Mid-tasting quotes– Peorogie platter – potato and bacon… Little sweet. More unique taste. Marion only liked the perogy. Smells just like perogy. Tastes like crispy perogy.
Look – interestingly they just looked like chips.
Newest – Marion, Nyssa
Would Buy it – Bill, Nyssa, Marion (“perogy & only perogy, the rest are gross”)
Verdict – It tastes like perogies not chips. I wouldn’t ever get it over Lay’s plain chips, but it is certainly perogy-flavoured.
Grilled Cheese & Ketchup
Taste – Nice ketchup chip flavour with cheese burst to back it up. This is a slight pull-back, flavour-wise, from traditional ketchup chips. This is great for those of us who love ketchup chips but find it hard to eat more than 10 because the flavour is just too intense… and for those of us who don’t, well, they found it vinegary. The more you have, the more the cheese pulls through too.
Mid-tasting quotes– – Cheeses & ketchup – smells like ketchup chips, a blast of cheese. Metallic taste. With garlic. Nothing wrong with that just more vinegar-flavour than ketchup.
Look – they look like ketchup chips with a little less seasoning per chip. Bonus: your fingers aren’t red after eating a lot of them.
Newest – Bill
Would Buy it – Lex
Verdict – I would buy these instead of ketchup chips when I’m craving ketchup chips.
Creamy Garlic Caesar
Taste – very much like a garlicky sour cream and onion. However, a higher quality sour cream and onion (for those of us who dislike that sour cream/dairy flavour element that most chips in this category have)
Look – a nice dusting of parsley, and white stuff
Mid-tasting quotes– – Creamy Garlic caesar – site cream and onion. With garlic parmesan cheeses at the end. Singleness is lost. Way better version of sour cream & onion. With more cheese
Newest – no one really thought this was a “new” flavour, just an improvement on an old one.
Would Buy it -Nyssa
Verdict – For sour cream and onion fans, this is a step up. Assuming of course they also like garlic.
All the bags (except the Maple Moose) were empty after the long weekend, though none emptied in one sitting. The flavours were definitely interesting but there was no consensus in the group about the best or the worst for that matter. There was one suggestion that some of the flavours might taste better on a Ruffles chip
In terms of what we’d actually buy again from this year’s Lay’s Do Us A Flavour line up? We’d buy Grilled Cheese & Ketchup instead of Ketchup; and Creamy Garlic Caesar instead of Sour Cream & Onion, but overall we’d all go for our regular flavours or plain before buying these again.
So… what do you think?