Anyone who knows me know how much I love grocery shopping, as well as how much I love trying new flavors of potato chips and tortilla chips. Sure, most of the time they’re disappointing and weird, but it’s always worth trying them because you never know if you’ll get another chance. Kind of like new life experiences in general, I guess. Anyway, from here on, I will be reviewing new and interesting chips under the Tight Chips heading.
I’m a big fan of the supermarket Sprouts (http://www.sprouts.com), which has two Orlando-area locations, in Winter Park and Oviedo. It’s an “upscale” grocer in the sense that Whole Foods and Fresh Market are — lots of high-end products, and unfortunately high-end prices to match. But if you check the weekly ads, Sprouts runs excellent deals and sales every week, especially on produce. They also have a lot of neat store-brand products and things you can’t find elsewhere, and I love their Dietz & Watson deli meats and cheeses, which are much better than the Boar’s Head products carried at Publix.
As far as chips go, Sprouts carries their own potato chips in multiple flavors — all the classics you might expect, plus some curveballs like Hatch green chile. They have regular potato chips that are thinner like Lay’s (the industry standards, as far as I’m concerned), and thicker, crunchier kettle chips. On my first trip to Sprouts since the pandemic started, back on July 1st, I found two new “Limited Edition” kettle chip flavors, for $2.50 each. Both had summer cookout themes, and I couldn’t say no to them:
- Burger Toppings: Ketchup, Mustard, and Pickle
- Aloha BBQ: Pineapple and Sweet Onion
I would soon learn that one was just okay and one was really good, but they were not the ones I expected!
Here are the nutrition info (ha!) and ingredients for the Burger Toppings chips:
These were outstanding potato chips, with intense, strong, clear, obvious flavors. They tasted like ketchup, mustard, and pickle, as promised. Unlike some lesser potato chip brands, Sprouts didn’t skimp on the flavor powder. They had a nice crunchy consistency without being rock-hard gum-shredders like so many other kettle chips. I almost ate them all before remembering to take a picture:
I guess I must really like tomato seasoning on my chips. One of my all-time favorite flavors was Lay’s Garden Tomato and Basil, which was unfortunately discontinued a few years ago. I also really like that Canadian favorite, ketchup-flavored potato chips. Herr’s (a Pennsylvania-based company that goes hard on interesting chip flavors and doesn’t skimp on the seasoning powder) makes ketchup chips that I sometimes find at Wawa convenience stores and enjoy about once a year. I’m adding these to the pantheon of really good tomatoey chips.
Here are the nutrition info (like I said, HA!) and ingredients for the Aloha BBQ chips:
I was looking forward to these, because I like barbecue-flavored chips a lot (that sweet-tangy-salty-smoky-sometimes-spicy combo always works for me), and I love onions and onion-flavored things, as well as pineapple and pineapple-flavored things. But these didn’t taste that different from most other barbecue chips. They were better than some (once again, they were generous with the seasoning), but they weren’t terribly oniony, and the pineapple was more of a mental suggestion than an actual flavor coming through.
I returned to Sprouts last night, since I found an old raincheck they gave me when Rao’s pasta sauce had been on sale for $5 but they were out of it. Anyway, I noticed both of these flavors of chips were now marked down to 99 cents each, so I figured now was as good a time as any to publish this Grocery Grails review so my dozens of Saboscrivner readers could be on the lookout. I’m sure these flavors were launched with Independence Day cookouts in mind, but maybe they were a bust this summer, when the need for social distancing outweighed the desire to cook out with family and friends. And frankly, it’s just too hot to spend much time at all outside, even without the looming airborne dangers of COVID-19. But you know what can sometimes soothe that sense of disappointment and dread? New chip flavors being clearanced for 99 cents! Sprouts is offering a bargain which could only be described as “all that and a bag of chips.”