Chipping Away

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Virgil Evetts

I’m not a big potato chip person. I’ll nibble on the odd ready-salted morsel or two if you’re offering, but I won’t go out and buy them. This week, however, I have purchased and indulged in chips on an almost daily basis, in the interests of allowing me to cast an informed vote in Bluebird’s, “Do us a Flavour” competition. Truth be known, I’ve give this quite a bit more thought than the Super City elections.

Essentially, the’ Do us a Flavour’ (cute name btw, Mr Bird) campaign invited suggestions for a definitive Kiwi flavour to add the company’s well-loved stable of fried-potato snacks. Winners would receive $20,000 plus 2% share of sales for a year. Nice. The idea is not original – it’s been rolled out in various forms by a number of food producers overseas – but that doesn’t diminish the fact that it’s a damn good idea.

Generally speaking most people like chips, or at least have a nostalgic connection to them. Everyone has strong opinions about what makes a dish or flavour important too. From a marketing point of view these are big, luscious, emotive hooks. Quite genius really.

In recent weeks the four finalist flavours were released for the chip-eating masses to sample and vote for a winner. So the competition –essentially just another form of advertising campaign – has two lives; again very, very nifty.

The finalist flavours are: Butter Chippen, Sunday Roast (the crispy bits left in the pan), Paua Fritters with Lemon Wedges, and Cheesy Garlic Bread.  Now, although I have tried all of them I’m not about to publically attach my affections to my personal favourite until voting has closed, what with my colossal influence over public opinion and all. Anyway, I’m walking a very fine line between opinion piece and free advertising here.

But over all suffice to say I rather enjoyed these new, and in most cases limited edition, flavours. Yes, they have been constructed from barely pronounceable chemicals rather than anything you might keep in your pantry, but they still brought a smile of recognition when I tasted them. Eaten out of context, they’re probably a pretty horrible lot, but the process and thinking behind their creation is so damn cute, that it’s hard not be charmed.

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3 thoughts on “Chipping Away

  1. I agree, but you’ll be hard pressed to find flavoured chips that aren’t loaded with god-knows-what. However, ‘chemicals’ aren’t necessarily bad. Salt, after all is a chemical, as is ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). I don’t worry too much about food additives because I don’t eat a lot of additive laden-food. As long as you don’t for a moment think of these sorts of things as actual food and only have them very occasionally, no harm is done. I do however draw the line at artificial sweeteners. I don’t believe these should be consumed at all by anyone. It’s a deep irony that so called diet drinks are so very unhealthy.

  2. Yuck -gimme Bagel or Pita crisps anyday. Look at all that muck that goes into those flavours – not to mention the fat!!!!

  3. Yeech!!!! Chippie flavours derived from chemicals? I really had th[ought those clever food technologists were going to use the real thing. Alas it is the sign of the times. I think i’ll just stick with oven baked chips flavoured with (authentic) garlic oil.