Chip scorecard (all scores out of 10):
Flavor accuracy: ??? (What is voodoo supposed to taste like???)
Flavor quality: 7
Bag quality: 10
I’m not sure what the FTC’s standards are on mentioning at the top of a blog post that a bag of chips was paid for by a corporation, but I’m going to go ahead and do so here to make sure Big Government doesn’t take down the world’s leading resource when it comes to chip reviews (potato/tortilla/other).
I visited some friends who work at Facebook in Seattle, and while walking through the campus, they pointed me to a literal wall of snacks where I could pick and choose any assortment of treats. Not that I currently have any skills that would be of any interest to the social media giant, I would however, no doubt, turn into Violet Beauregarde via Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory fame if I had this available on a daily basis. Imagine me, as a giant Doritos-cheese-colored balloon, floating along Westlake Avenue and out over Lake Union. That’s what would happen, probably, tourists visiting the Museum of Wooden Boats admiring a bright orange sun-like object flying through the sky shouting for help.
Naturally, as a person of high culture, my first instinct was to take a look at the assortment of chips, of which there were many (As I was editing this post, I realized this wasn’t true. This was my second instinct. My first instinct was to try and steal as many snacks as possible, realizing my coat pockets were large enough to at least take a week’s worth of supplies for my home office). And we’re not talking about your standard-but-classic Doritos, Frito’s, and Cheetos, no, they had a global tour of flavor variety. The prime example of this diversity? There it was, a brand I had heard whispers of only in my travels, but had never tried.
Zapp’s Voodoo-flavored kettle chips.
Consider the branding for a second. What is “voodoo” flavor? While I am quick to complain about a chip being called a non-food flavor (Blaze flavor? c’mon), voodoo at least conjures a clear profile from the south, New Orleans-specific, in a way that only the most standard of stereotypes might apply. More on that another time. According to the company’s approved copy for third party ecommerce descriptions (in this case, the Target website), Voodoo was an accident:
Our voodoo chips will put a spell on you! The delicious result of a happy accident, these chips have a unique flavor that features salt and vinegar with a smoky BBQ sweetness and spicy, jalapeno kick. Trust us on this one.
Translation: A chip maker (similar to a brewer at your favorite ale house but for the chip industry) mixed the wrong ingredients together. A sample of the Bob Ross-like happy little accident produced one of the company’s most successful chips to-date.
Side-note: For your additional consideration: Imagine the psychological stress this might have caused to the chip artisans employed by Zapp’s. Working for years to perfect your employer’s chip roster, only to have some fat-finger mistake outdo you in its creativity.
So how about the chips themselves?
The hype machine in the indie chip community has been using a lot of social equity to prop Zapp’s Voodoo-flavored kettle chips up on a pedestal, and while they were good, unfortunately they didn’t match my expectations. An alright chip with a far more interesting name and backstory that left a less-than-ideal aftertaste.
To the Facebook security team, I apologize for the trying-not-to-look-suspicious body language as I turned in my badge, pockets slightly fuller than they were when I entered the premises.
Final note: No relation to the 1980s post-funk, pre-hip-hop Zapp: