Okay, this probably doesn’t qualify as news at this point unless you never watch tv, go on Facebook, or walk in the front door of a supermarket. But for those of you who don’t, Lays Chips has introduced three new flavors, asking people to choose their favorite. The best selling flavor will be made permanent, and the other flavors will be retired. For now, you can choose between Sriracha, Chicken & Waffles, and Cheesy Garlic Bread.
Personally, I haven’t tried these flavors yet. I don’t eat a lot of potato chips, as a rule. I just finished off the bag of original leftover from our housewarming party (complimented with WildTree dips). That will keep me satisfied in the chips department for a few more weeks yet. Meanwhile, really? Cheesy Garlic bread sounds interesting. Spicy is a big deal theses days, so I get Sririacha. But chicken and waffles? How did that ever make the cut for Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” promotion where they got people to pick the next flavors for the company to create?
Background on the new flavors
Sriracha is a red chili sauce named after the Sri Racha district in Thailand. You sometimes see in pan-Asian restaurants or the ethnic food isle of the supermarket. It is thicker and sweeter than American hot sauces such as Tabasco or Frank’s RedHot. Reviews of this flavor saw that the taste is authentic and fans of Huy Fong Foods‘ Sriracha sauce will probably like this one. It seems to be the favorite of people talking about it on Facebook.
Cheesy Garlic Bread
According to taste tests, cheesy garlic bread does have a solid cheese taste. Cheese is a pretty easy flavor to add to foods, as powdered cheese solids are pretty easy for manufacturors to create and produce a pretty good flavor punch. Powdered garlic is also simple. But it apparently it fails at the bread part.
Chicken & Waffles
Chicken and waffles is apparently a soul-food dish of, get this, waffles with a side of fried chicken. Who came up with that? How did anyone think that fried chicken would make a good breakfast food? In taste tests, the chip apparently fails big time. It has a heavy maple syrup taste that overpowers everything else. One reviewer has likened it to maple-flavored ramen noodles. Business Insider editor Leah Goldman quipped “You can only eat one of them. Like, ‘betcha can’t just eat one’ would never be a good phrase for them.”
Making Consumers Choose which stays is a bad idea
Do Us a Flavor was an interesting way to do market research. But producing flavors for a limited time and getting buyers to choose to winner is just a bad idea. Yes, it produces a surge in sales with limited time products.But in the long run, it alienates buyers who bet on the wrong horse.
I’m sure McDonalds sells more McRib sandwiches in the month they are available then over the entire course of the year if they were on the menu full-time. Disney certainly cashes in on only releasing its classics for a limited time before locking them back in the “vault.” Introducing scarcity is a well known marketing gimmick that induces buyers to jump on an offer before it goes away.
But Lays isn’t saying that the other flavors will come back. If expereince with other food contests has taught us anything, it is that once the winner is announced, the other flavors will never be seen again. Remember the new color introduced to M&Ms to replace tan in the 90’s? That created a lot of frustrated fans. And that was just for a food coloring, not an actual flavor?
So what happens when Lays announces a winner and the other flavors are discontinued? Lays loses customers. These three flavors are nothing alike. It’s not like the flavors of Mountain Dew which all still taste like Mountain Dew. Chicken & Waffle doesn’t even taste like potato! (or chicken). Fans of Sriracha aren’t going to buy Cheesy Garlic Bread. Instead, they will probably switch brands to someone else who makes a spicy potato chip.
What do you think of the new flavors?