Lays has a new set of flavors this summer as a part of their annual Do Us a Flavor series. This is the fifth year of doing this with each year bringing chips fans an assortment of interesting ideas for flavors. I am a fan of this promotion, even if some of the flavors aren’t all that great in a given promotion (I’m looking at you Cappuccino flavor from 2014!).
In 2015 the Nerd Lunch crew did a podcast extra helping about that year’s promotion:
Last year, there was no official podcast or blog post, but I threw a few thoughts about the chips on Instagram.
Did a sampling of the #Lays #PassportToFlavor chips. Here are my thoughts… Brazilian Picanha–Seemed to be the most bland to me. What flavor there was, I liked, but it wasn't strong enough. Greek Tzatziki–Good but didn't seem as special after last year's Gyro flavor. Chinese Szechuan Chicken–Didn't like them at first, but they grew on me. Strong flavor. Had a touch of a kick. Second favorite in the end. Indian Tikka Masala–Hands down my favorite. Didn't think they would be, but very good. I think them being kettle cooked helped a lot, too. Overall, this was a good set. Bravo @lays.
This year the flavors are:
Crispy Taco, Everything Bagel and Fried Green Tomatoes. Some years have had a fourth flavor, but this year, there are only the three. Fortunately Subway offers the chips in snack size bags so the investment in potentially caustic chips flavors is not as much of a gamble. Thus, I tried all three. All three flavors are worth trying this year and unlike years past, if presented with any 2017 flavor again, I would gladly consume.
Here are my thoughts about each individually from least favorite to favorite.
Taco flavoring typically is a corn chip flavoring, although it can go well with potatoes and does well here. While this could have been simply taking the Doritos taco flavoring and putting it on regular Lays chips, that doesn’t seem to be what has happened here. The chips do contain a strong amount of taco seasoning like one would find in a taco kit packet, but there are hints of other toppings you might find on a taco. I even thought one chip had a hint of lettuce. These were tasty and I went into the tasting believing they would be my favorite, however, the commonplaceness of the taco flavoring did not allow these to stand out.
Fried Green Tomatoes:
This flavor is on the Ruffles chips. The seasoning on these chips were not overpowering and possibly could have been a bit stronger. There was a tanginess to them and the flavor was almost indistinct. That’s not a bad thing. The taste was enjoyable and it wasn’t trying to do too much which is counter to how I felt about other flavors in the past. I anticipated liking these the least, but they wound up winning second place.
I like it when Lays spreads around the flavors and puts different flavors on different kinds of chips. As a fan of the kettle chip in general, I wonder if it skews my opinion in that direction or if kettle chips just make everything (literally in this case) taste better. In generally I find the “everything” flavor over-rated when it is on bagels or bread. And while I do appreciate The A-Team sentiment of “overkill is underrated,” I don’t need “EVERYTHING” on my bread products all the time. Fortunately, these chips don’t seem to be overkill and when I dumped these out onto the plate, I was surprised at the lack of visible herbs and spices. The hints of garlic and onion were still there, but were also balanced by a creamy flavor representing the cream cheese on a bagel. This was the best complete package and is the flavor I hope wins.
All in all, this was a good year for Do Us a Flavor and a worthy entry in their fifth year of this promotion. Try them for yourself and then head to vote on Lay’s website. Let us know what you thought of the flavors in the comments section.