Got Lay’d – Taste Testing Lay’s New Flavours

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?
Lay's New Flavours of Potato Chips from their Do Us a Flavour Contest
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.
Lay's New Flavours of Potato Chips from their Do Us a Flavour Contest
here’s the breakdown

Maple Moose

Lay's new Flavours - Maple Moose potato chipsBag Opening Smell – big smoke with a tiny hint of sweet

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.

Perogy Platter

Lay's new Flavours - Perogy Platter Potato ChipsBag Opening Smell – smells like potatoes.

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

Lay's new  Flavours - Grilled Cheese & Ketchup potato chipsBag Opening Smell – Ketchup chips!!

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

Lay's new Flavours - Creamy Garlic Caesar potato chipsBag Opening Smell – a little garlic

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.

Lay's New Flavours of Potato Chips Voting

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?

Alexa Clark

Alexa is a digital marketer and author with over 20 years in digital & interactive communications in the food and tech industries. Alexa's CheapEats Restaurant Guides, for both Toronto & Ottawa, were Canadian best sellers. She is a recognized authority on social media and has been named one of Canada's 20 Leading Women in Social Media.

21 thoughts on “Got Lay’d – Taste Testing Lay’s New Flavours

  • August 7, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    although i did not get to verify it this weekend, the Maple Moose chips would have best gone with scotch, rather than beer.

    • August 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      grrrr good to know. Guess we should taste test scotch next. :0

  • August 7, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Randy Matheson, my 23 year old daughter & I all tried the Grill Cheese & Ketchup and the Perogy Platter this weekend. The one thing that my daughter & I both commented on was the fact that the flavours weren’t as overpowering as many of the other standard flavours and for that reason I’d not turn down either flavour if offered them again.
    The flavour of the Grilled Cheese became more noticeable the more you ate and I did get the ketchup (especially in the smell) but not as heavily as I’d thought I would.
    The Perogy Platter tasted like a subtler version of the President’s Choice “Loaded Baked Potato” (a standard in our household) and while I tend to prefer a ripple chip over the flat Lays chips – I’d probably pick the Perogy Platter over the PC Loaded Baked Potato from now on.
    Neither the Maple Moose nor the Garlic Caesar Salad sound like flavours I’m interested in but in the interest in science we’ll try them next weekend.

    • August 7, 2013 at 3:38 pm

      MerlenePaynter I hope you’ll come back and report in on those too. 
      re: not overpowering – we felt the Garlic Caesar Salad falls into the same camp of not being as overpowering a flavour as the old standards.  For me that was a plus with the grilled cheese and ketchup, though I don’t know if I would have gotten the craving for ketchup chips if I didn’t have the strong version as a kid.   
      Then again, Lay’s tested Grape-flavoured and Orange-flavoured chips where I was as a kid too, and I certainly did NOT get a taste for them! <shudder>
      Love that you are taking one for science 😉
      Thanks for weighing in!

      • August 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        AlexaClark I have bad bad memories of the Grape & Orange chips (I think they were under the Hostess label back then) – I had a incident involving grape Crush & grape chips that still brings back nightmares <shudder indeed>

        • August 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm

          MerlenePaynter Aha!  Your comment just closed some loops for me.  I forgot that Lay’s used to be Hostess. And that explains why I never could quite remember Or find via google reference to those ill-fated Grape and Orange. No one seems to remember them but me and you!

        • August 7, 2013 at 8:40 pm

          Seems to me there was a Cherry as well. Ping Verna  – I’m pretty sure she and I’ve discussed the fruity Hostess chips before .

  • August 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    Yes that’s my cheesy pun… I couldn’t resist.

  • August 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    alexaclark Ahhh, nice! My vote: Grilled Cheese & Ketchup. I’m a ketchup fan. After all, it’s it’s something only Canadians have!

    • August 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

      @AshleighCartier excellent point – Ketchup Chips  = Canadiana food-style. Have you tried the other flavours yet?

  • August 7, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    alexaclark couldn’t find them at my usual grocery store. Going to try another grocery store this week.

    • August 8, 2013 at 9:27 am

      soda_ninja People have been asking where to get them… so please let me know where you did and didn’t find them. I got mine at Foodland

      • August 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

        alexaclark soda_ninja I’ve seen them at the Loblaws at Queen’s Quay, but I’m not sure if all Loblaws carry them.

        • August 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

          .LemonPepperSalt Thanks Natalie! soda_ninja

  • August 8, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for the link. Thai Green Curry sounds like my kinda chip!

    • August 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

      @Dave Hodgson I loved your round up, thanks for giving me something to link to.
      And, ya, Thai Green Curry sounds like my kinda chip too.  Guess I should have pushed it harder 😉

  • August 10, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    _LucasCrawford_ Nice job on making the top 4! Lots of folks liking the #PerogyPlatter #dousaflavour #lays

  • September 8, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    AlexaClark MerlenePaynter oh I remember them. I seem to remember I had quite the addiction to the grape ones. (how I lived through my childhood I will never know)

  • September 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    @Dave Hodgson AlexaClark I just read the link of worst flavours and laughed my ass off! 
    None of my flavours made the cut. either. I can’t even go back and see what I came up with LOL! I know one was “Bloody Caesar” (which would have rocked btw!) I can’t remember what the other one was. (clearly a forgettable flavour!)

  • September 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Meeshbeer AlexaClark MerlenePaynter WOW, I’m impressed. I remember having one of each flavour on a dare.

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