REVIEW: Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper

American has gone soft, and for once I’m not referring to our body fat.

Ladies and gentlemen… your 4th Place potato chips:

Lay's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper

Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper

On July 10th, Lay’s announced 10 semifinalists for the 2017 Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” competition. One of the semifinalists was this here Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper, a fan creation submitted by Nick Arndt of Massillon, Ohio.

Here’s how the rest supposedly went down. We were told a judging panel of chefs, foodies, and flavor experts would select the three finalist flavors to be fully developed by Frito-Lay’s. I call bullshit here because it took all of 9 days – an amazing, impossible feat – and the three finalists were announced and put on shelves immediately.

The three finalists appear below, along with my reviews:

Like two days after not advancing to the final round, Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper appeared on Walmart shelves as a store exclusive. Obviously I’m all for a good marketing gimmick and I understand product lead times, but c’mon now. Poor Nick Arndt of Massillon, Ohio didn’t even get his face printed on the bag like the rest of the bunch, instead settling for a lousy consolation prize of $10,000. His inspirational story has since been banished from the website, so I will now make one up for him:

“Growing up, I always dreamed of developing a 4th-place flavor that Lay’s would feel sorry for. Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper just seems like the perfect flavor for all the freakshows who shop at Walmart.” ~ Nick Arndt, Massillon Ohio.

Lay's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper

I’m not a freakshow, Nick…

Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Popper chips smell faintly of fresh pepper, grease, and little else. Specks of jalapeño pepper powder are sporadic while the rest of the seasoning blend is uncolored.

Like most 4th place things, it sure looks like a loser to me.

Lay's Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper

The taste is better than the smell, but it’s nothing like a bacon-wrapped jalapeño popper.

Lay’s Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper is yet another chip that tastes like sour cream & onion more than anything, suffering from the same issue that plagued Lay’s Everything Bagel with Cream Cheese. I picked up on the dairy component, but it contained none of the finer, distinctive qualities of the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and Montery Jack cheese in the ingredients.

The jalapeño powder adds the mildest of mild kicks, as I tasted a jalapeno’s freshness more than I did its heat. The bacon thing is very subtle too. Every once in a while I got a smoky flavor you might find in Baco’s, but this quality really needs to be dialed up to achieve Nick Arndt’s dream.

All the criticisms aside, this is still a passable chip. Nuanced sour cream & onion is still tasty when the nuances are peppery and smoky. But bacon wrapped jalapeño popper? That’s a pretty “4th place” description.

Place Rating: 4th out of 10
Not Getting Your Face Immortalized On a Chip Bag Rating: 0 out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 out of 10

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