April 18, 2007 in Food

Frito Lay’s new snacks leave food panel members flat

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Great taste and great nutrition in a chip? That’s what Frito Lay was shooting for in its new Flat Earth snack line, which promises a half-serving of fruits or veggies in each ounce of crisps.

The snacks missed on at least one of those goals, according to the Spokesman-Review Reader Food Panel. Tasters gave the Tangy Tomato Ranch, Garlic & Herb Field and Farmland Cheddar baked snacks two and a half stars at a recent taste testing. That falls between poor and fair on our five-star scale.

The baked fruit snacks, Wild Berry Patch, eked out a two-star rating.

The flying pig on the label and the name Flat Earth were inspired because people once thought a delicious and nutritious snack impossible, according to Frito Lay. It calls the new product “impossibly good.”

It wasn’t that no one on the food panel liked the crisps, which are made from a blend of rice, potato and vegetables or fruit. It was just that tasters were so conflicted about what they ate. For every taster who liked them, there was another who was equally unimpressed.

“Rich blend of flavors, no aftertaste and not too salty. The best of the bunch,” said Andy Hoye of the Tangy Tomato Ranch flavor.

But Larry Inman said he’d pass them up for a something else. “Too much competition in the snack aisle. So-so at best.”

Skip Hubbard liked the Farmland Cheddar flavor and said he thought kids would like them, too.

Hoye was much less impressed. “More color than flavor. I think there’s recycled cardboard in here.”

While some might appreciate the innovation of folding fruits and veggies into the crisps, Marilyn Moore did not.

“Sorry. I’m not into the modern chips packaged and on the store shelf. They’re so artificial,” she said.

Hoye said he liked the herbs in the Garlic & Herb Field flavor. Inman countered that he could see the intended flavorings, but couldn’t taste them. “Way too mild to appreciate,” he said.

The berry flavored snacks really left the panel scratching their heads.

“When the aliens come, they better not bring these or we will send them away,” Hoye said. “Too weird for seniors.”

Nancy Robinson was willing to give them a try, but thought they belonged with other desserts rather than the potato chips. “Grape flavored, sweet and salty … Too sweet for a chip,” she said.

“This must be what happens to berry fruit leather when it gets left in the dehydrator too long,” Hubbard said. “Crispy and not much flavor. One can only ask why.”

Flat Earth Snacks also are sold in Apple Cinnamon Grove and Peach Mango Paradise flavor.

Flat Earth Tangy Tomato Ranch

Price: $2.99 per 6-ounce bag

Nutrition per 1-ounce serving: 130 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 35 percent fat calories), 2 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 2 grams dietary fiber, 210 milligrams sodium.

Taste: “ “ 1/2

Value: “ “ 1/2

Comments:

“Zippy flavor and not too much of it. I’d eat them even if they weren’t the last bag of chips in the snack aisle.” – Skip Hubbard

“Too much competition in the snack aisle … so-so at best.” – Larry Inman

“Whatever happened to ‘the original.’ My tastebuds don’t handle marketing and catchy names.” – Marilyn Moore

Flat Earth Farmland Cheddar

Price: $2.99 per 6-ounce bag

Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 35 percent fat calories), 2 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 2 grams dietary fiber, 190 milligrams sodium.

Taste: “ “ 1/2

Value: “ “ 1/2

Comments: “Crunchy and cheesy chips that’d go great in a lunch box and the kids will love them, too.” – Skip Hubbard

“Crunchy, but very bland. I couldn’t eat these without a dip sauce.” – Larry Inman

“Crispy but not much flavor. There’s too much competition with better chips than these.” – Nancy Robinson

Flat Earth Garlic & Herb Field

Price: $2.99 per 6-ounce bag

Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 35 percent fat calories), 2 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 2 grams dietary fiber, 190 milligrams sodium.

Taste: “ “ 1/2

Value: “ “ 1/2

Comments: “Herbal accents are a nice surprise in this chip.” – Andy Hoye

“Pretty bland and certainly nothing that I would ever buy.” – Skip Hubbard

“Different kind of chip. Not bad, but not good … the best of the bunch.” – Nancy Robinson

Flat Earth Wild Berry Patch

Price: $2.99 per 6-ounce bag

Nutrition per serving: 130 calories, 4.5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 31 percent fat calories), 1 gram protein, 21 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 40 milligrams sodium.

Taste: “ “

Value: “ “

Comments: “When the aliens come, they better not bring these or we will send them away. Too weird for seniors.” – Andy Hoye

“Smells like Froot Loops cereal. Looks like toddler snacks and tastes like a pet treat.” – Larry Inman

“I’m afraid to sample. They smell like grape, taste like grape with an aftertaste of grape.” – Marilyn Moore


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