Exclusive: We Try the 4 Finalists in Lay’s ‘Do Us a Flavor’ Potato Chip Contest

·Editor
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There are still a few more weeks until Lay’s officially unveils the four finalists in this year’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest, which since 2012 has invited people to submit original and often off-the-wall potato chip flavors. There’s a lot on the line: a $1 million grand prize (or one percent of the winning’s chip’s annual sales), plus the honor of getting your flavor added to the Lay’s lineup.

And guess what: Yahoo Food managed to snag bags of each finalist ahead of the big reveal. The only catch is that Lay’s wouldn’t tell us the name of the flavors. Let the guessing games begin!

None had flavors that Yahoo Food editors could immediately place, which suggests that they’re on the wackier side. And isn’t that what “Do Us a Flavor” is all about? Just think about last year’s flavors: Cappuccino, Bacon Mac & Cheese, Wavy Mango Salsa, and Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger (which wound up emerging victorious). The Cappuccino flavor in particular riled up readers and critics alike.

Soon, some fans will be able to experience the chips for themselves. On July 10, a “Mystery Machine” in Los Angeles will dispense the four finalist flavors in mystery packaging. But until then, sate your curiosity with our tasting notes. Hold tight, they’re definitely … interesting.

Flavor No. 1:

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Smell: Roast chicken in a bag?

Taste: Very savory, almost meat-like in flavor. We noted hints rosemary, too. On the whole, the flavor recalls a Thanksgiving turkey. Said one editor: “I’d put it in a sandwich for a bit of crunch.”

Texture: Traditional potato chip.

Our Flavor Prediction: “Thanksgiving Stuffing.”


Flavor No. 2:

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Smell: Whoa, baby! These chips have a smell that smacks you in the face, and not in a good way.

Taste: They’re a bit sweet at first, then savory on the finish. One taster thought they tasted like seaweed, another noted hints of a sweet pickle. No one liked them. “A seaweed-flavored chip is just wrong,” said one editor.

Texture: Kettle cooked

Our Flavor Prediction: “Sushi.” Heaven help us all.


Flavor No. 3:

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Smell: Cheddar-y, but with beef-y notes underneath. “My first thought when I smelled it was ‘Big Mac special sauce’,” one editor noted.

Taste: These chips smacked of cheeseburger, specifically “the little burgers that came in Lunchables, or frozen White Castle burgers you buy at a gas station.” So, a far cry from Shake Shack.

Texture: Traditional potato chip.

Our Flavor Prediction: “Cheeseburger.”


Flavor No. 4

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Smell: Cheesy, like Parmesan.

Taste: We picked up truffle and Parmesan, which produced a deep umami flavor. There are also herbs in the mix, but we’re at a loss as to their identity. All things considered, most editors conceded that this was their favorite of the four. “I would definitely not kick these chips out of bed,” one editor cooed.

Texture: Wavy

Our Flavor Prediction: “Truffle Parmesan.”

More about Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest:

Wasabi Ginger Will Be the Next Lay’s Potato Chip Flavor

Yahoo Readers Agree: Cappuccino Potato Chips Should Not Be a Thing

A Coffee Expert Reviews Lay’s Cappuccino Potato Chips

What flavor do you hope wins the Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest?