Taste Test: Kettle Brand Baked Chips

kettle chips salt & pepper

Whole Foods recently had a special on their small (4 and 5 oz.) bags of Kettle Brand chips, and I've seen that Kettle has started making baked chips and was curious to try them.  Our absolute, to-die-for favorite flavor of these is "salt & fresh ground pepper," aptly described on the bag as the "yin yang of spice."  They are thicker than your average Lay's chip, and are super crunchy and satisfying.  The salt & pepper chips are tangy from the salt and have a little bite from the pepper - hard to describe, easy to love.

So, if I could have all this satisfaction and enjoy better nutritionals, I'd be psyched.  Well, I hate to report, the baked version is not great.

First off, the nutrition low-down.  The baked chips are far better - each serving (28 g) has 120 calories, 3 g of total fat, 120 mg of sodium, 21 g of carbs, and a whopping 430 mg of potassium.  The same serving size of the fried chips has 150 calories, 9 g total fat, 180 mg of sodium, 16 g carbs and 420 mg of potassium.  So unlike some "light" products, these do offer a nutritional benefit.

But the taste, well, just doesn't match up.  The baked chips aren't "krinkle cut," which isn't a problem - they're nevertheless satisfyingly crunchy.  But the salt & black pepper can't seem to consistently adhere to the chips due to the lack o' grease or something.  I did expect these to be overall less flavorful due to being baked, not fried, but it'd be great if they could get the flavorings to better stick to the chip.  So what you end up with is 4 oz. of baked potato chips without any salt, even.   Isn't saltiness the point of chips? 

Are they better than Baked Lay's?  Definitely.  These taste like real food - to me, the Baked Lay's taste of a laboratory.  And when you do happen upon a chip with the seasonings on it, it is tasty, despite the lack of fat.

So instead of spening your hard-earned cash on these, I vote for splurging once in a while on the regular, full-on version - if you're like me and don't eat chips very often, you might as well go whole-hog and just enjoy the real thing.  Just try not to eat the entire bag in one sitting, OK?