As you’re probably aware of, Lay’s held a contest marketing campaign beginning in 2013 titled “Do Us a Flavor”, asking folks to submit ideas for an interesting, unique, and most importantly, marketable potato chip flavor. The winner of each earning a cool $1 Million bucks. Breaking it down to the three (subsequently 4) finalists, Lay’s produced their submitted flavors for the public to try and vote as their favorite, including the following in the US market:
- 2013: Sriracha, Chicken and Waffles, and Cheesy Garlic Bread (winner)
- 2014: Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger (winner), Wavy Mango Salsa, and Cappuccino
- 2015: Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, New York Reuben, Southern Biscuits & Gravy (winner), and Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries
According to Wikipedia (yes, I dig deep for research), “2016 ‘Do Us a Flavor’ was rebranded ‘Passport to Flavor’ for the 2016 Summer Olympics. The four finalists are Chinese Szechuan Chicken, Greek Tzatziki, Brazilian Picanha, and Indian Tikka Masala.” And there are many more interesting potato chip flavors Lay’s produced for other global markets. Not to mention, Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” promotional campaign is still active today!
Above is my “FURIKAKE POPCORN” flavor submission to Lay’s current “Do Us a Flavor” contest. My pitch line goes like this: “This flavor is inspired by a popular movie theater hybrid snack folks in Hawaii love nicknamed “Hurricane Popcorn” (that name is actually trademarked). It’s a combination of movie theater buttered popcorn, mixed with shoyu-flavored Japanese rice crackers called Arare (“Mochi Crunch”) and Furikake, a Japanese seasoning made primarily of Nori (dried seaweed) flakes. That combination is absolutely delicious (ono)!”
If you think Lay’s FURIKAKE POPCORN Potato Chips sounds like a great flavor idea, click on this link, then click on the “I’D EAT THAT” button, onegaishimasu!
Back to the flavor at hand, upon a visit to Safeway yesterday (Kapahulu location), there it was, an endcap filled with Lay’s Potato Chips varieties on sale at $2.50 each, with the Southern Biscuits & Gravy flavor occupying an entire shelf row. When I seen that, I was like, “OK, enough is enough already. After all this time avoiding them, this time I SO have to try this one!” OMG, I LOVE Biscuits & Gravy! If this is the 2015 winning flavor (as emblazoned on the front label), while no less on a potato chip? Dude, let’s do this!
Not surprisingly, there’s a bunch of YouTube video reviews (as usual, with its share of whack jobs) of Lay’s Southern Biscuits and Gravy Potato Chip. Here’s a few…
So those were two contrasting reviews, while there’s several other YouTubers who gave Lay’s Southern Biscuits & Gravy Potato Chips either a major thumbs up for authenticity to its name, or overall thumbs down.
Again, like I said, I LOVE Biscuits & Gravy, where the best one I’ve had was from the NFL Sunday Breakfast Menu at The Shack Hawaii Kai. At least, this was back when when Brendan was running the joint (and I was their webmaster). Not sure about now. Which the real deal as shown above is roux-thick ‘n creamy rich, with generous loose bits ‘n pieces of Jimmy Dean style Breakfast Sausage, simply ladled over fresh-baked oven biscuits. Simple stick-to-your-ribs country-style comfort food goodness at its best!
Most noteworthy in how that might translate to these potato chips are the key herbs in that “Jimmy Dean style” breakfast sausage based white gravy, which would be at least to some effect: sage, thyme, nutmeg, red pepper and black pepper.
Before continuing, we must give “props” to the one who suggested this #1 voted most popular flavor, Hailey Green, who won the $1 million grand prize from Lay’s for it. According to Hailey, as a travel agent, she say’s she plans on spending her million dollar prize money taking trips she otherwise couldn’t, as well as doing something special for her “Nonnie” and Grandpa, whose southern roots inspired her with this Biscuits & Gravy “Do Us a Flavor” 2015 winning entry.
OK, enough jibber jabber, let’s hit it, first with the “smell inside the bag right after opening it” factor….
Upon the initial whiff, hmm… a couple of YouTubers said it smelled like genuine Biscuits & Gravy, where one dude said he could actually smell something like baked biscuits out of it, however I didn’t get that. All it smells like to me, both in the bag and out, are slightly seasoned potato chips, no more no less. And I have very good olfactory senses.
Inspecting it closely, you can see specks of seasoning lightly sprinkled on each chip. Also notice they’re Lay’s traditional thin-cut potato chips, not the thicker ruffled style that they used with some of the other “Do Us a Flavor” varieties sent to market. Personally I would have preferred the latter, however I suppose they opted for the thin-cut style so the chips would come across as tasting more like flour-based oven-baked biscuit “wafers”, not fried potatoes.
OK, let’s taste it…
And? Not surprisingly, it tastes pretty much how it smells: like lightly seasoned potato chips. I kind of get that Jimmy Dean style breakfast sausage seasoning flavor profile of thyme and sage, however it’s ever so subtle. I definitely didn’t get anything tasting like oven-baked biscuits out of it, nor did I get anything roux creamy and rich about it.
What’s funny to say, is I was a little disappointed it still tastes like potato chips, as I was hoping as some other YouTubers claim, that it tasted to them more like “flat biscuits”.
I think they should put more of that “stuff” (whatever it is) they use to put the “sour cream” taste in sour cream and onion style potato chips on this one to give it more of a creamy flavor to resemble the rich gravy of what it’s trying to be. Back to the breakfast sausage flavor, I definitely didn’t get anything “meaty” (savory) about its flavor, as one YouTubers claims he got.
To be fair, I got a second and third opinion from two other folks, and without showing them the package, they both didn’t know what it was supposed to taste like. All they said was, “It’s good! What is it?” When I showed them the bag label, they were like, “No I definitely didn’t get Biscuits & Gravy. But it’s good!”
All that said, don’t get me wrong, this is a damned delicious potato chip, and (providing it’s on sale) I’d definitely buy it again for its unique “country style” seasoning, which I think would be a more accurate name for this.
However, having a photo of real Southern Biscuits & Gravy on the package really elevates your hopes, only to let you down when you actually taste it, being that’s what you’re expecting. However, if it just simply said “Southern Style Seasoning”, then yeah, you’d totally be down with it. And I’m down with it! I really like it! Enough to give it a favorable 3 SPAM Musubi, regardless of the fact I just don’t think it tastes like actual Southern Biscuits & Gravy.
What? Lay’s Southern Biscuits & Gravy Potato Chips
Where did you buy it and how much was it? Safeway Kapahulu, $2.50/7¾ oz. package
Big Shaka to: Excellent flavor, being lightly seasoned with herbs that “kind of” resemble Jimmy Dean style breakfast sausage; chips are crispy-crunchy fresh; winning 1 million dollars for suggesting a potato chip flavor
No Shaka to: Hardly if at all resembles the real deal genuine Southern Biscuits & Gravy (misleading IMO); where’s the meat?; thin-cut potato chips (I prefer thick-cut “Kettle” style or ruffled)
The Tasty Island rating:
3 SPAM Musubi
Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)