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OK, finally, the potato chips.
What Was New?
I counted at least seventeen potato chip brands at this year’s expo. There are lots of chippers out there doing great work, but some of it I had encountered previously (Deep River and Great Lakes were two that stuck out – keep up the good work!).
Here’s some notable innovations:
Huy Fong Potato Chips
The rooster of Huy Fong. Look familiar? It’s the “real” Sriracha. They just licensed their flavor for snacks. Pop! Gourmet Foods got the deal. They’ve been making Sriracha popcorn since 2014. The chips roll out this year. They’re kettle chips with just past a tinge of Sriracha. I enjoyed them. Their Tajin chips (Mexican spice) were good as well.
The de facto answer for appetizer chips is probably the TGI Friday’s Potato Skins. Old Dutch’s Ripples Appetizers on the Go are an appealing alternative. These are true potato chips, with flavors that emulate modern appetizers.
I’ve never seen Chicken Artichoke Flatbread potato chips before. Well played, Old Dutch. Potato Chip World applauds the innovation.
And the concept of “appetizer in a bag” makes sense. I could never fit a fryer in my sedan to make buffalo wings at a picnic.
Lisa’s Chips Coming to America
The German kettle chip brand Lisa’s used the S&S show as their US premiere. They were a solid kettle chip, especially the rosemary flavor.
Yuengling Wing Sauce Chips
Utz made a special edition Yuengling Wing Sauce chip. They ran out of samples. I should’ve went earlier.
What Was Missing?
A Sense of Chip Pride
A few of the brands I encountered didn’t play up their potato chip offerings. Instead, they positioned chips as part of an overall snack portfolio (with corn chips, cheese puffs, tortilla chips, and popcorn).
Brands need to have multiple offerings to gain shelf space in today’s competitive market. I get it. But I sensed sheepishness on how they promoted their chip offerings.
Perhaps it was the pressure from other “better for you” offerings near the floor. It bothered me. I wanted more chip cocksuredness. My frustration stems from the bias of running a site dedicated exclusively to potato chips.
Frito Lay attended. But Lays were a no-show. Neither were Fritos. Or Cheetos. Or Doritos. Or Tostitos.
The booth focused on other offerings, including Grandma’s Cookies, Stacy’s pita chips, and Matador beef jerky.
It’s puzzling: there’s a Chevy booth at the auto show, and the Hershey booth had Hershey chocolate. So why no Lays potato chips and the major snack show?
When I asked one of the Lay’s representatives, they justified it by wanting to highlight their other snacks.
It’s good to be the king.
Vinnie Vitner has been discontinued, according to Vitner’s parent company SnakKing. Somewhere a lone trumpet plays taps for the chip bag with ‘tude. It was a good run Vinnie.