America is snack-food crazy, and with no signs of that habit abating, our corporate food suppliers are happy to keep feeding us concoctions cooked up in a lab. Potato chips especially have become ground zero for some strange, chemically constructed flavors—the kinds that operate outside the laws of nature.
For better or worse (but mostly for the worse), the rest of the world has caught on to the craze, with creatively flavored snacks flooding the market at home and abroad.
Mayonnaise, kiwi, peppermint—these are the world’s most oddly, and unnaturally, flavored potato chips.
But on the bright side, if you need another reason to give up processed foods, these might do the trick.
Photo: Altrendo Images/Getty Images
White Chocolate Peppermint
This past holiday season, Pringles decided to get festive by offering Yuletide-inspired potato chips. What does the snack food have to do with Christmas? Nothing—but that's not the point. In the spirit of merriment, the company released three limited-edition flavors: Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cinnamon & Sugar and White Chocolate Peppermint. Reviews for all three were mixed on the whole, but White Chocolate Peppermint drew a particular type of ire from many: The Huffington Post called it a "horrible abomination to humanity." Yay, Christmas!
Photo: OJO/Getty Images
Walkers is a popular potato chip manufacturer from the U.K. Last year the company held a contest asking the public to come up with new flavors for their line. Squirrel was one of the most popular suggestions—and it won. The company has stated that no squirrels are harmed in the making of their chips, which is great. What is less great is the multitude of laboratory time that no doubt had to go into coming up with that "authentic squirrel flavor."
There's nothing wrong with getting more fruit in your diet, but you can probably do better than blueberry-flavored potato chips. Lay's actually makes an assortment of fruit-inspired versions for their Asian markets, and they're quite popular, albeit wholly unnatural. Nonetheless, we're a little disappointed because the company didn't go all in and just dye these things blue.
Other versions of the Lay's fruity line include lychee, kiwi and cucumber-flavored potato chips.
Pepsi-Chicken Flavored Chips
Equal parts Pepsi and chicken flavors, the idea for the imaginatively named Lays "Pepsi-Chicken Potato Chips" is not as unusual as it may sound to Americans. "Cola chicken" is a popular dish in China. Wanting to capitalize on the country's culinary sensibilities, Lay's—which is owned by PepsiCo—combined the country's favorite flavors into one crunchy potato chip, proving you can never, ever have enough soda in your diet. Ever.
Photo: OJO/Getty Images
Have you ever bitten into a processed potato chip and thought, "What this really needs is the flavor of another processed food on top of it?" President's Choice makes such a chip and it comes with the baked-in goodness of "hot dog, relish and mustard-flavored seasoning."
Photo: David Rosenberg/Getty Images
Several international brands have mayonnaise-flavored versions, but Doritos took it a step further by creating a limited-edition Teriyaki Mayonnaise flavor for their Japanese market, which wasn't entirely well-received.
Photo: Matt Meadows/Getty Images
Chicken and Waffles
Lay's is currently holding its own contest, soliciting votes from the public on which of its new flavor combinations it will launch next. The one that's getting the most press attention is its Chicken and Waffles pairing. But reviews are all over the place, with some characterizing it as "bland" while others reportimg being bowled over by a burnt-sugar kind of taste. As for the other two nominees, voters can choose between Cheesy Garlic Bread and Sriracha.
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and medical writer. In addition to reporting the weekend news on TakePart, she volunteers as a webeditor for locally-based nonprofits and works as a freelance feature writer for TimeOutLA.com.Email Andri | @andritweets | TakePart.com