In My Opinion

Rivenbark: Keep it simple, snack-makers

February 8, 2014 

Shrimp Mayonnaise-flavored Doritos? Mountain Dew Cheetos? Potato chips flavored with mushrooms, butter and soy sauce?

Settle down, Frito Lay! I’ve only recently decided to try salt and vinegar.

Fortunately, those super-exotic varieties are only available in Japan, for now anyway, but I don’t think we'll be far behind.

Have you spent time in the snack aisle at the grocery store lately? If not, prepare to be a little freaked out. If you can imagine it, chances are a major snack maker is already on it. I’m talking to you, Snyder’s of Hanover, which offers pretzels flavored like “Deli Pieces,” a flavor combination that tastes like all of your favorite deli sandwiches all mixed together. What could be better? Oh, that’s right: ANYTHING.

I shouldn’t be so hard on Snyder’s. After all, I could live in Scotland, where they enjoy Haggis & Cracked Black Pepper potato chips. Nothing says festive snack enjoyment like organ meat melange, am I right?

Chip manufacturers are constantly trying to lure us with curiouser combinations all the time but even they seem out of ideas. Frito Lay is again sponsoring its “Do Us A Flavor” contest open to anyone to come up with a new flavor of potato chip that the company will actually select to manufacture and distribute across the nation.

Last year’s winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread chips, earned the $1 million prize. Millions of people entered the contest and I’m still kicking myself for not offering my own idea: Smoky Pot Roast With Peas & Carrots potato chips, which I still think would be great for people too busy to eat a proper supper. The runner-up last year was Chicken & Waffle flavored chips, which almost makes the Haggis sound good.

I have new ideas to win the million-dollar prize or even one of the three runner-up prizes of $50,000. I don’t want to give it away, but let’s just say that I’m deep into developing a flavor profile that combines several of my favorite foods in one luxurious, heavily ridged chip: grits, country ham and s’mores. Yeah, baby.

It’s not just salty snacks that seem to be going a little crazy. Oreos, the classic standby beloved for generations, are now available stuffed with rainbow sherbet cream or cookie dough and marshmallow crispies, whatever that is. You know things are getting a little crazy when even the added-on ingredients are things that seem recently invented or slightly unreal.

And look at Taco Bell, which can’t seem to understand that all we really want is a simple corn tortilla shell. I careth not for a shell that tastes of Loco (?) Doritos or requires a cardboard sleeve so you won’t get “cheese” powder on your fingers.

Make the madness stop! (I mean, after I win the million dollars, that is.) There are some things that are always going to be better in their original form without all the endless reworking. Things like Oreos and Bruce Jenner’s face.

You know I’m right.

rivenbark.com

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