Lay’s Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

Lay’s Kettle Cooked Potato Chips

I Paid: $3.29 for an 8.5-ounce bag (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Before proceeding to sing the praises of these delicious, well-balanced potato chips, a slight diversion to make a point about marketing. Earnest is great. Extolling your ties to the land, even though it’s generally greenwashing, is par for the course. But including language (and bold text!) on your bag of potato chips like “Start with farm-grown potatoes cut into waves …” or “We start with farm-grown potatoes, sliced nice and thick …” is straight-up ridiculous. Where else are they growing massive amounts of potatoes these days? Factories? Laboratories? Space? Even if any of these things were true, you could just refer to an indoor farm, a cutting-edge farm, or a space farm, or “farm” for short. Of course they’re freakin’ farm-grown.

Dispensing with the word games for a second: I tried two new varieties of Kettle Cooked chips, Kettle Cooked Crinkle Cut Original and Kettle Cooked Harvest Ranch. Both, as mass-marketed potato chips go, were good. The crunch was substantial, the salt level adequate but not over the top, the flavor balance excellent. Harvest Ranch claims to have the tang of buttermilk and sour cream; the ingredients include buttermilk and sour cream, and the chips taste of buttermilk and sour cream. It’s a minor miracle. The Crinkle Cut Original chips are even more interesting from an elemental perspective, as they have as few as three ingredients total: “Potatoes, Sunflower Oil and/or Corn Oil and/or Canola Oil, and Sea Salt. No preservatives.”

People are (justifiably) always carping about big companies and their soulless, chemical-laden, overly sweet or overly salty garbage food. And, granted, eating even handcrafted artisanal potato chips is not the fast road to good health. But if you’re going to have a salty snack, Kettle Cooked chips are an option worth considering.

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