Potato Chips Go Flavor-Crazy

Potato chips rake in $6 billion in annual sales, but snack mavens continue to do whatever it takes to sell more bags—even if that means producing some terrifying new flavors. In the Wall Street Journal, Cameron Stracher reports on potato-chip marketing ploys:

Following the lead of the soft-drink manufacturers, chip makers expanded their product lines, offering potato chips in seemingly endless (and sometimes gross) varieties. As if kosher dill pickle chips were not enough, potato chip makers have whipped up asparagus, anchovy and even bubble-gum-flavored chips. If you fry it, they will come—or so snack makers hope.

Kettle, a brand that includes Yogurt & Green Onion and Cheddar Beer chips in its product line, offers an online survey to those seeking to “discover the flavor within.” Essentially, it’s a gimmick that matches you to your signature chip. Not unlike a dating website, it asks about your philosophy on life, what you like to do with friends, and what you notice first when you’re “Standing in a garden, a lovely spring breeze gently caressing your face.” (My match is New York Cheddar with Herbs because I’m a “bold, big city person”—but something tells me that this relationship could be bad for my health.)

If none of the current flavors suit you, you can vote for a new one (like Mango Chili or Orange Ginger Wasabi) in Kettle’s People’s Choice contest. But do we really need all these crazy flavors? Stracher says it best: “In the end, having more of everything may not make us happier, just fatter.”

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