Monday, April 1, 2013

Lay's Do Us a Flavor

Lays has pulled a DEWmocracy-like move and has issued three limited time wacky flavors so that consumers can vote one of them into permanence

I often denigrate brands for not embracing creativity enough when it comes to limited time offerings, which is a time when truly wild ideas can be tested; too often marketers attempt to strike a balance between creativity and profitability, in my opinion.
In the case of these three varieties, while they certainly didn't lack creativity, I think they might have lacked finesse.
Chicken and Waffles: Easily my favorite of the three, this attempts to recreate the real-yet-odd southern American dish chicken and waffles.  While I prefer my chicken and waffles with the savory gravy or butter option, Lays opted to go full-wierd and use the maple syrup-topped version as their inspiration.  Although I usually dislike maple syrup, and I admit that McDonald's McGriddles is one of the most disgusting things I've ever had, these chips are pretty good.  They claim to have chicken flavor on them, but I don't taste it.  Instead, it seems that Lays attempted to invoke a chicken broth flavor with onions, garlic, and thyme.  Over this savory mix are notes of maple syrup and, while strange, it works.  They really missed the chance to make this stuff taste like chicken, though.  Chicken in a Biskit has been flavoring their crackers with full-on chicken bullion for years, and they're really great.  Anyway, would I buy these chips regularly?  I'm not sure yet.
Cheesy Garlic Bread: Cheesy garlic bread sounds like a lovely potato chip idea until you open the bag and realize that the cheese they used here is in the orange American cheese style.  Yes, instead of using an asiago- or parmesan-inspired powder, like the kind that might go onto a Mediterranean flavor, Lays has gone with possibly the same powder that they use for their Cheddar and Sour Cream chips.  This seems like an odd choice, since I doubt many people have had orange cheese on their garlic bread.  In kind, the flavor also doesn't really work on the chip.  While not bad, the flavor combinations seem misplaced.  The only thing saving this snack is the garlic flavor, which not only is firstly reminiscent of a simple garlic powder, but they somehow managed to secondly invoke the sweet taste of roasted garlic, which adds a bit of intrigue that I can't ignore.
Sriracha: What the hell?  Nothing about these remind me of sriracha.  In brutal honesty, it seems like Lays took the Cheesy Garlic Bread chips above and sprinkled on hot sauce and vinegar.  Looking at the ingredient list, it uncannily proclaims that both cheese and sour cream powders are on these chips.  What's worse, instead of mimicking the not-too-vinegary, sweet, smooth flavor of sriracha, these chips contain a biting and pointed acidity, with a hot sauce note that's highly similar to the aged pepper sauce flavor of Tabasco.  While orange cheese and Tabasco don't exactly taste bad together, the combination is very unsettling, and in no way mimics what's on the front of the bag.

What's my vote for this contest?  Chicken and Waffles.

Lay's Chicken and Waffles:- Good
Lay's Cheesy Garlic Bread:- Passable
Lay's Sriracha:- Passable
Original Lay's(for comparison):- Great

Acquired: Giant

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