International Battle of the Weird-Ass Potato Chips: British Walkers Salt & Vinegar vs. American Utz Salt 'n Vinegar

In the left corner of the ring--Utz Salt 'n Vinegar Potato Chips! In the right corner, Walkers Salt & Vinegar Potato Crisps! [click to enlarge]

Last week, we pitted two oddly flavored British crisps against each other in a battle to the death: Worcester [sic] Sauce and Roast Chicken. I won't tell you which one won, just in case you want to go back and check, but suffice to say, we found one superior to the other in terms of what we look for in a chip, oops! I mean crisp.

For comparative purposes, Utz chip on the left, Walkers crisp on the right. As you can see, they are very similar in appearance, though subtle differences can be discerned.

We made gentle fun of English crisps, and wondered why the flavors seem so wild to Americans (Prawn Cocktail, Smoked Bacon, Mustard, Kebab, Shrimp Scampi, Lamb & Mint, Cheese & Onion, and Builder's Breakfast). The amazing thing is that so few flavors overlap between potato crisps and potato chips.

We did find one overlapping flavor, though: Salt & Vinegar. Something about the conjoinment of those two flavors resonates in both the British and the American national taste. So we combed the potato chips stores for the most perfect evocation of Salt & Vinegar chips/crisps, and came up with a package of Walkers Salt & Vinegar and Utz Salt 'n Vinegar.

Walkers is made in Leicester England, and the package has all sorts of eco-looking data on the bag, including a carbon footprint declaration that the 34.5 gram bag is responsible for 80 grams of carbon emissions. We applaud their candor. The Utz product is made in Hanover, PA, the snack food capital of America. Also on the Walkers bag, in the declaration of ingredients, is the strange news that the Salt & Vinegar crisps contain milk. Walkers is a venerable 19th century company, which is currently owned by Frito-Lay.

We also convened a panel of potato chip/crisp tasters, and vowed to abide by the democratic results.

Next: Tasting notes

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