Young and Hungry

Crunch Time: Potato Chip Blind Taste Test

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José Andrés’ new line of Spanish food products debuted at Whole Foods across the region this week. The collection includes everything from sherry vinegar to olives to sea urchin. But the top-selling item since the line launched earlier this summer? Potato chips with extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan pink salt. Think Food Group CEO Rob Wilder says what makes them special is the process of cooking the potato chips low and slow in olive oil: “They come out just amazingly crispy crunchy and also significantly more healthy than other potato chips.” But Andrés’ chips contain more calories and total fat per serving than five other big brands. (Although unlike others, there’s no saturated fat.) And as far as crunchiness, saltiness, greasiness, and overall deliciousness? Washington City Paper staffers conducted a blind taste test to find out which chips are worth a flip.

Kettle

Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being "high" or "a lot."

Kettle

Crunchiness: 4.3

Saltiness: 3.2

Greasiness: 3.2

Overall delicious: 3.9

Comments: “This is a classier brand of chip;” “Robust crunch but strong potato flavor;” “Hard to chew because they’re cut thicker;” “Do I detect smokiness?”

Calories: 150

Total Fat:  9 g

Sodium: 115 mg

 

Lay’sLays

Crunchiness: 3.2

Saltiness: 2.9

Greasiness: 4.3

Overall delicious: 3.4

Comments: “Very salty and greasy. Kind of flat tasting. Very crumbly too;” “YEAH!;” “Sort of bland but not terrible;” “Classic, like what you’d have at a picnic”

Calories: 160

Total Fat: 10 g

Sodium: 170 mg

 

WholeFoodsWhole Foods 365 Brand

Crunchiness: 2.7

Saltiness: 2.6

Greasiness: 2.9

Overall delicious: 3.3

Comments: “Not too salty. Well balanced;” “Subtle flavor but very good;” “Good appearance is also a plus;” “Sort of stale tasting;” “A bit bland—are these ‘healthy chips?’”

Calories: 160

Total Fat: 10 g

Sodium: 170 mg

 

Route11Route 11

Crunchiness: 4.3

Saltiness: 2

Greasiness: 2.4

Overall delicious: 3

Comments: “Bland, but I kind of like it. Not super salty. Very potato-y;” “The perfect ruse, slipping corn flakes into a taste test of potato chips;” “Great crunch, but they taste too much like potatoes. I need more of a transformation;” “A balanced chip”

Calories: 150

Total Fat: 8 g

Sodium: 90 mg

 

JoseAndresJosé Andrés

Crunchiness: 3.3

Saltiness: 2.

Greasiness: 2.9

Overall delicious: 2.7

Comments: “The olive oil flavor is subtle, overwhelmed by saltier chips;” “Not salty enough to remind me of a regular potato chip. Can’t imagine eating these with a burger;” “Very yellow;” “Not much flavor”

Calories: 166

Total Fat: 11.3 g

Sodium: 142 mg

 

UtzUtz

Crunchiness: 2.6

Saltiness: 2.6

Greasiness: 3

Overall delicious: 2.4

Comments: “Classic;” “Styrofoam-y; bad aftertaste;” “thin and yuck;” “meh”

Calories: 150

Total Fat: 9 g

Sodium: 95 mg

 

*Nutritional information is per one ounce serving

 

Comments

  1. #1

    It would be helpful to know what the ratings mean.

  2. #2

    Cooking the chips especially low and slow would not result in something being crispier, nor healthier. Allowing the potatoes to sit longer in low temp oil results in more oil being absorbed, resulting in a soggier, greasier, and less healthy (however you define that in terms of potato chips) chip.

  3. #3

    @Anon Thanks, very good point. I added a sentence at the beginning to clarify. The ratings were on a scale of 1 to 5. 5 translates to high or a lot. So for saltiness, for example, 5 means very salty while 1 is not salty at all. For overall deliciousness, 5 is very delicious and 1 is not delicious at all.

  4. #4

    Utz worse than Lays? You people must be high - or not high enough.

  5. #5

    Re: Whole Foods 365 Brand and other. I think you will find that all salt is Sea Salt. Meaningless

  6. #6

    RE: Richard - Yes, all salt is sea salt but not all salt is extracted directly from the sea. Salt extracted from mines tends to have a more metallic flavor due to the machinery used.

  7. #7

    What? No Cape Cod Potato Chips in your test? Heathens.

  8. #8

    Jose Andres did a recipe in one of his Tapas books for Tortilla Espanola with Route 11 chips.

  9. #9

    Also what about the Martin's!

  10. #10

    Jose Andrés' chips, according to your chart, have 142mg of sodium (per serving, I guess). Yet your raters gave it a "saltiness" rating of 2. Route 11, right before it, has 90mg of sodium and also got a saltiness of 2. Utz, right after it, has 95mg and got a 2.6 saltiness rating.

    I appreciate the taste test putting Andrés in his place (I'd love to know how much the chips cost. I'm guessing minimum of twice as much as the others), but I question the ratings.

  11. #11

    Grandma Utz were inexplicably omitted. That jonx is cooked in lard!

  12. #12

    Re: Route 11 - “Great crunch, but they taste too much like potatoes. I need more of a transformation." What?!? What are potato chips supposed to taste like? Transformation to what? They're freaking potato chips for cripes sake.

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