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Sweet and savoury with Tyler Majer: flavoured chips

EP-140809353Okay, let’s get one thing on the table. I am fat. So as you read this, realize that this comes from the perspective of somebody that has been eating chips their whole life.

Every observation, and statement of shock and awe that I mention here is made all the more reliable by the fact that those crispy god-like potato wafers are not uncommon to my taste buds.

However, what is uncommon is the number of flavours on the market that try to emulate real food. When a person eats potato chips, they do not do so for the nutritional value (at least I hope not), but rather simply for the fact that they want to taste potato chips.

Up until a few years ago, at least as far as I can recall, potato chips came in maybe five or 10 different flavours.

The most extravagant type available was probably something like all-dressed or sour cream and onion. However, Lays and Ruffles have been creating more and more specialty flavours. These flavours are based off of actual dishes that actually exist in the real world, and not just the ambiguous ‘barbecue,’ and ‘all-dressed.’ These include incredibly specific flavours, such as ‘loaded baked potato skins,’ ‘poutine,’ ‘hot wings’ and ‘Harvey’s cheeseburger.’

The only real response for this is…what the fuck?

Every year, Lays and Ruffles have contests to determine what new flavours will hit the market. The most recent one just closed voting, and I voted for paprika, and Pico de Gallo flavours.

The plethora of flavours is large and still growing. It is truly amazing to see the abundance of random flavours that pop up, and how close the flavour-makers get to the actual flavour.

Now, it may not seem totally out of the ordinary, because we have been accustomed to seeing new flavours pop up everyday, but when you really think about it…what the fuck?

How do these people keep coming up with new flavours? I know the world is filled with an abundance of different types of food, but to me, only a small fraction of it is chip worthy.

However, each year a new flavour pops up that pushes the boundaries of what chips can be (Cappucino Lays). Chips are truly becoming a transcendent food and something indicative of the future of food technology.

Although, where there is awe, there is also concern. The fact that a potato chip can taste so easily like a Harvey’s Cheeseburger or a chicken wing is a little concerning.

It raises concern of what is going into the chips and how manipulated the potato has become from its original form.

Now, this may seem like a silly article, and at the heart of it is a joke. But to be serious for a second, specialty flavours remind me of the concept of flavour capsules.

These are small pills that emulate the flavours of food and take you through the course of a meal through a small pill form.

I know a bag of chips is not as small as a pill, and you are only getting one flavour at a time, but this flavour manipulation shows us how far technology has come, even in the world of food, and if you think hard enough about it, where it might be heading.

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