BY BRIAN GODAR
Lay’s recently held a contest for fans to create a new flavor of potato chip and the flavors submitted were definitely different from the normal barbecue or salt and vinegar. All the entries are in and Lay’s has selected three finalists for fans to vote on. The three finalists are chicken and waffle, sriracha, and cheesy garlic bread. We at Poor Scholars will be testing out these three new flavors next week, because we frankly didn’t expect them to be so difficult to find and didn’t plan accordingly.
However, without tasting a single chip I can still tell you that none of these flavors, regardless of how good they are, are going to be anything more than a short-term gimmick. I say that as if it’s a bad thing, but gimmicks can be great. Gimmicks get people excited to buy your product. The problem I have with Lay’s attempting this newest gimmick is that it is completely unnecessary.
I propose that like fashion, food gimmicks should be on a 20-year cycle, because some of the best gimmicks deserve a second chance. A shining example of this is the puffy, flavored air-injected, so-extreme-it-had-to-be-from-the-90s Doritos 3D. Only in the 1990s would the words “3D” actually help you sell a snack. Mario was taking on the third dimension on the N64, so why shouldn’t we take on 3D snacks at the same time? I should warn you that I will be speaking in the present tense in this article because it is still too painful for me to admit that I might never eat another Doritos 3D again.
The most noticeable feature of Doritos 3D is the odd shape. You would think that the shape is nothing more than a gimmick, but it adds to the experience by being nearly irresistibly fun to play with. In fact, Doritos 3D may be the best snack in the world to play with. The puffy shape with the pocket of air in the middle allows for maximum hang time when you toss them into the air to catch in your mouth. I am reasonably sure that at least 95% of all the Doritos 3D I have eaten (which was a lot) were snagged out of midair. I don’t even do that with a lot of food, but Doritos 3D demand to be eaten that way. If you’re NOT going to do that, then you might as well eat flat, boring Doritos 2D.
We can’t forget about the best part of Doritos 3D: the flavored air. Yes, you read that right, flavored air. Normally, thinking of air and chips leads to anger as it elicits memories of bags filled with 60% air and 40% chips. However, air is used as a flavor delivery system in Doritos 3D. To achieve the air pocket in the middle of the chips, Doritos injects a concentrated burst of their “flavor dust” into their chips. As the chips are fried, the tiny bits of air inside expand and the flavor dust gets stuck to the inside of the chips. You know how your fingers get coated in dust when you pick up Doritos? Well, there are no fingers to get in the way on the inside of the chips, which means the flavor of the inside of the chip is more concentrated than on the outside, which creates the flavored air feeling. It’s a wonderful illusion that never gets old. In fact, you’ll eat an entire bag without realizing it. The only evidence will be the cloud that forms whenever you cough. It’s all right, I’m pretty sure flavor dust is good for your lungs and airways.
No matter how good a potato chip is; it’s still salty, fatty, and unhealthy for us in most of the ways that we currently judge health, right? Well, I’m about to slap you across the face with pure practicality. Kids in America are fat. They eat too many snacks and exercise too little. I posit that Doritos 3D is the only thing necessary to reverse that trend. Due to the extra dimension, you can only fit a few in your hand at one time. At the same time, you are almost forced to throw them into the air and catch them in your mouth. It’s how they were made, and I’m relatively certain there is some sort of actual magic at work that ensures this. It is also known that it takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain that you’re full. The interactivity of Doritos 3D helps burn calories while slowing down how quickly they are eaten, which gives your stomach ample time to realize it is full and tell your brain before you eat another 50 chips.
This idea isn’t only viable from a consumer standpoint, either; it also makes sense from the chip manufacturer’s point of view. In fact, chip manufacturers should have been the first people to rediscover this idea. There is so much air inside each chip that they could fill their bags 100% with chips and still use fewer raw materials than a current bag filled 40% with 2D chips. The bags would also look jam-packed and more consumers would buy them because they would be tricked into thinking it’s a better deal. Though really, the air inside is flavored so it hardly counts as normal air. If you ask me, this is a win-win-win-win situation (that’s the consumer who gets to experience this amazing, the chip flavor idea people who get to coast for a while, the chip manufacturer’s accountants who get to realize the earnings that come with reintroducing such a phenomenal idea, and specifically anybody who was 5 – 20 years old when Doritos 3D were originally produced).
So Lay’s, if you’re listening, new ideas are good, but realizing which old, forgotten ideas deserve to be brought back is better. You made Doritos 3D once, now go out and buy the ingredients to make them again. I’ll take ten cases.