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Snacktaku Judges Lay's 'Flavor Swap' Potato Chips

Eight flavors enter, four flavors leave. The latest in Lay’s interactive marketing is the Flavor Swap, pitting tried and true potato chip flavors against newcomers across four categories—BBQ, spice, cheese and heat. Let’s do this.


The stakes are high in the Flavor Swap event, with four classic flavors on the line. Should they hold up, they’ll stay on shelves. Should they fall to their fresh new counterparts, they’ll probably still be available in some form. At the very most they’ll briefly disappear and then come back. If people want to buy a thing, Lay’s will sell it to them.

No, the Flavor Swap event, in which people can vote starting today for a chance to win $25,000, is about drumming up PR for four new potato chip flavors in a creative way. Lay’s could have just popped the newbies on store shelves and been done with it, but then where’s the video opportunity in that?


The four match ups are as follows (classics on the left):

  • Heat: Flamin’ Hot Vs. Fiery Roasted Habanero
  • Spice: Kettle Cooked Cracked Pepper and Sea Salt Vs. Olive Oil and Herbs
  • Cheese: Cheddar and Sour Cream Vs. Smoked Gouda and Chives
  • BBQ: Honey Barbecue Vs. Korean Barbecue

Four shall stand, four shall fall. Check out the video up top to watch me eat potato chips while looking off to the side where my new camera’s viewfinder is located. For those of you who hate everything about video and wish it would just go away (or can’t watch for some reason), here’s a quick breakdown.

Illustration for article titled Snacktaku Judges Lays Flavor Swap Potato Chips

Flamin’ Hot Lay’s might have the best potato chip name ever, but they don’t have much of flavor beyond ouch. Fiery Roasted Habanero backs up it’s strong, lingering burn with a pleasant pepper flavor and just a hint of smoke.


Winner: Fiery Roasted Habanero

Illustration for article titled Snacktaku Judges Lays Flavor Swap Potato Chips

Honey Barbecue is a classic, mellow take on the standard barbecue chip. It’s sweet and tangy without the dark and smoky kick of more traditional varieties. Korean Barbecue has a nice flavor to it at first, but it follows through with a meaty aftertaste that I don’t feel comfortable tasting on a fried potato sliver.

Winner: Honey Barbecue

Illustration for article titled Snacktaku Judges Lays Flavor Swap Potato Chips

Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper is a very subtle flavor on a Kettle Cooked chip. The pepper is mild, the salt is salt. You know, the stuff on regular potato chips. Then here comes Olive Oil & Herbs, packing a delightful flavor and a lovely hint of freshness from the green bits (technical term). Salt is basic. Olive Oil & Herbs is special.

Winner: Olive Oil & Herbs

Illustration for article titled Snacktaku Judges Lays Flavor Swap Potato Chips

I love Cheddar & Sour Cream. It’s comforting and creamy and oh so orange. That said, it’s not exactly exciting. Smoked Gouda & Chive, on the other hand, is unlike anything I’ve tasted on a potato chip. So decidedly gouda, but before it becomes overpowering the chives kick in, holding it back like a drunk cheese rarin’ for a fight.

Winner: Smoked Gouda & Chive

And those are my picks for the Lay’s Flavor Swap event. Of the four originals only Honey Barbecue comes out unscathed, and that might only be because I’ve tasted honey but never a Korean person. It’s a glaring gap in my food knowledge that I can’t imagine will be filled any time soon.


What are your picks? Are they exactly the same as mine, or are they completely wrong?

Snacktaku is Kotaku’s take on the wild and wonderful world of eating things, but not eating meals. Eating meals is for those with too much time on their hands.


To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter @bunnyspatial. Maybe not in French.

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I think Fahey’s beard has lost some weight. I hope it’s not some sort of beard sickness.