Today, Lay’s announces the winners of its unusually hyped Do Us A Flavor competition, an effort to crowd-source some exotic new flavor profiles for its potato chips. And America—really, the Internet, based on these selections—chose three flavors that would probably seem weird to most, but seem pretty unsurprising for a vote left up to mostly young people who spend a lot of time online. Your finalists, America: greasy pizza accompaniment Cheesy Garlic Bread, popular American southern/chic metropolitan brunch spot staple Chicken & Waffles and Sriracha, the spicy condiment known as “Hipster Ketchup” by people who still use the word “hipster” like it means something. Garlic Bread is sort of an everyman, but the other two have something of culinary cult followings, so again, makes sense.
Now, folks on the Internet who weren’t ravenous about making their snack flavor choices heard are reacting to this selection of flavors with a variety of responses, including surprise, revulsion and intrigue (also apathy, hunger). For every fervent #TeamChickenandWaffles wall of tweets that come up on my dashboard are several blog posts about how crazy and weird these new flavors are. But really, Lay’s makes all sorts of flavors of snack crisps Americans would find strange to match the palates of their international consumers. This isn’t new. If you go to China, you’ll find a Pepsi and chicken-flavored (yes, together) flavored bag, based on a popular dish, as well as blueberry and lemon tea-flavored versions. The United Kingdom has Prawn Cocktail, Spain an incarnation that tastes like biting into a really salty ham hock.
See? Not weird when put into perspective. Also if we all put the same concerted effort and innovation into campaigning for unusual snack foods as we did to save the world / fight global warming / making sure Happy Endings stays on the air forever, we could get a lot done, right? That said, #TeamSriracha, all the way.