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Taste test: kettle chips

When dinner is served poolside on paper plates, who wants to go indoors to cook fries or bake potatoes? Kettle chips make the perfect side dish for summer barbecues. Because they are cooked a little longer than regular chips, kettle chips sometimes have different shapes and coloring. My family members routinely sift through the bags looking for the folded-over chips with extra crunch and flavor. Our panelists are fans, too. We bought six brands of kettle chips from local grocery stores to compare the tastes. Our panelists plan to stock up on a couple for summer picnics and snacking.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Lay's 84Kettle 77Wise 70
Judges'

comments
Judges raved about the "fabulously crunchy" texture of these chips. "They have lots of great nooks and crannies," said one panelist. A couple said they were an ideal size to serve alongside a hearty dip. "Open wide — these are big!" said one judge. The Lay's variety also had an appealing mixture of light salt and potato flavors.These chips were a favorite for their mild seasoning and nongreasy texture. "They are a generic kettle chip in a good way," said one judge. These chips were only slightly different from regular potato chips. "They have a satisfying amount of salt, too," said another. "A bowl of these would need to be replenished several times at one of my barbecues."The slightly heavy weight of these chips and the edges of potato skin led judges to compare them to homemade potato chips. They had less seasoning than some of the others, but judges appreciated the distinct flavor of the potatoes. "The potato flavor really shines through," said one judge. "These would stand up well to a thick dip," said another.
Would

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.98 for an 8-ounce bag from Walmart.$3.69 for an 8.5-ounce bag from the Fresh Market.$3.49 for an 8.5-ounce bag from Winn-Dixie.


Also Sampled: Great Value ($1.98 for an 8-ounce bag from Walmart, 60 points); Cape Cod ($2.88 for an 8-ounce bag from Walmart, 45 points); and Trader Joe's ($2.29 for a 7-ounce bag, 42 points).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to mstark@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving size1 ounce1 ounce1 ounce
Calories160150150
Fat/Fiber9g / 1g9g / 1g9g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium0g / 90mg0g / 115mg0g / 110mg
Carbs/Protein16g / 2g16g / 2g15g / 2g

Taste test: kettle chips 06/06/16 [Last modified: Monday, June 6, 2016 4:47pm]
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