In a tangy taste-off, Consumer NZ staff blind-sampled nine varieties of salt and vinegar chips commonly available from Foodstuffs and Woolworths stores.
Tied at first place were Snacka Changi Vinegar and Salt, and Kettle Chip Company Sea Salt and Vinegar chips.
Vanessa Pratley, Investigative Writer at Consumer NZ says the factors that help make a salt and vinegar chip the best are a bit of a Goldilocks balance.
“An even distribution of flavour and crunch is key – with our samplers describing the best chips as ‘strong-flavoured, but in a good way’, and ‘crunchy but light’.”
The investigation found that when it comes to salt and vinegar chips, you get what you pay for, with the cheaper chips ranking the worst.
“We can’t even say that supermarket brands Countdown and Pams left our testers feeling ‘salty’, because the chips failed to do even that.”
Countdown Salt and Vinegar chips were dubbed “bland”, while Pams Salt and Vinegar chips “tasted like cardboard”.
“Our testers were unimpressed with the budget-buys, calling them floury, bland and, concerningly, dead-looking. Pams Salt and Vinegar even received a brutal one-word ‘Meh’.
“We would avoid the cheaper chips in our test. Unless price is your only consideration, we wouldn’t recommend buying them.”
When it comes to best value, then Bluebird Salt and Vinegar and Heartland Originals Salt and Vinegar chips – rated second and third respectively – offered the best tang for your buck.
Proper Crisps Cider Vinegar and Salt chips were loved for their look but rated average on taste. Costing $3.35 per 100g, they were the most expensive and the worst value for money.
Taking fifth and sixth place were ETA Ripples Salt and Vinegar and Copper Kettle Salt and Vinegar chips, which divided tasters as to whether there was too much vinegar or not enough.
ETA Ripples Salt and Vinegar chips also received mixed reviews, with comments ranging from “I don’t know if I would even class these as salt and vinegar” to the chips having “battery acid” levels of tang, even though they came from the same packet.
“The mixed reviews for ETA Ripples and Copper Kettle suggested an uneven distribution of flavour, undoubtedly contributing to their low rating.
“Quite a few of our tasters were surprised to have found that their go-to brand of chip wasn’t synonymous with their blind taste-test results.
“Our investigation goes to show yet again, that even when it comes to something as small as picking your favourite chip, brand perception plays a persuasive role in your purchase decisions – maybe packing more crunch than you think.”
Read more about Consumer’s salt and vinegar chip taste test here.