Tuesday 17 February 2009

Walkers' Taste Test

The Walkers' Taste Test

As you may have noticed, Walkers Crisps are trying out 6 new flavours and asking us to vote on our favourite. Now, being a non-discriminatory foodie, I thought that, in the name of research, I should test them all and let Walkers know of my favourite. As I considered eating 6 huge bags of crisps, my mind drifted to the effect on my hips and bum, so thought it better to create an 'event' and share the tastes, and calories, with my friends! Helen was specially over from the USA (not specially for the taste test! That would be real commitment!) so it was a novelty for her to be eating crisps again instead of chips!

First things first - I had to introduce the idea to my friends as part of a 'girly' day we were having. I'd thought about how best to do this: Get them drunk first? Suggest it was in the name of research? Beg them that I needed a new blog post? In the end, I simply suggested it might be fun to have a taste test of the new flavours and they all agreed with relish! In fact, everyone we told thought it was a great idea!

Secondly we had to find the crisps. An easy task you might think? Well, think again. Despite Walkers advertising this promotion everywhere (television, front of all normal packs of crisps, front of multi-packs,) we struggled to 'find' the 6 new flavours. We tried many high street shops, including major supermarkets, and eventually, after visiting 10 shops - no lie - found that WHSmiths was the ONLY place to stock any at all. After rummaging through their boxes,we left with 5 out of the 6 flavours. I even asked if they had any extra deliveries of 'Fish and Chip' flavour in the back, but no, they had all sold out. This, apparently, was the general theme of all we talked to - Fish and Chips were certainly the first ones people were trying.

We now had the crisps and over the course of the afternoon, had devised a 'strategy' and system for the evening! Excitedly, we made our way home, labelled each identical bowl on the bottom with the given flavour, poured in the crisps, swapped them all around and numbered each bowl visibly. Now to the experiment. My friend did ask where the score cards were but we made do with pieces of paper and a pen each.

We scored each new flavour in 4 different categories. The first was Appearance marked out of 5. The second was Smell, again out of 5. The third was Packaging - this could only be added after we had identified each flavour, out of 5 again. The fourth category, and obviously most important, was the taste. This was marked out of 10. Everyone made their own notes as we went along, and finally had a 'guess' at what each flavour might be!

The Flavours:

Onion Bhaji, Cajun Squirrel, Crispy Duck and Hoisin, Builders' Breakfast, Chocolate and Chilli, (Fish and Chips - results to follow!)

The Strategy:

Take each bowl in turn
Assess the appearance, smell and taste of each one, in that order
Drink in between each crisp test - purely to eliminate each old flavour so the new one is more apparent (?!)
Make final comments and adjustments to flavour matching
See if we were right and add scores to find a winner!

Even the shadow joined in - he initally went for the Onion Bhaji, but settled on Cajun Squirrel!

The Comments:

On the whole, given a bowl of cheese and onion or salt and vinegar, we'd have picked those every time. That wasn't, however, in our remit, so...

Bowl 1 - The appearance was much darker than the others and this put us off a bit. They also looked much greasier. The smell was quite sweet and when tasted, gave a certain spicy 'kick' at the back of the throat. One comment on the taste was simply 'Yuk!'

Bowl 2 - These were rounder than the others (!) and had speckles and flecks of colour. They smelt herby and spicy with a definite 'sausagy' hint, that led some of us to an obvious conclusion on the flavour. Read on to see if we were correct!

Bowl 3 - The appearance of these was noted as 'golden' and they looked delicious. Again, they were flecked with little specks of red but this time, had a strong smell of 'curry'. We agreed that the smell, however, was actually much nicer than the overall taste. 'Old Socks' was one noted flavour, though how they know what old socks taste of, we will never learn.

Bowl 4 - These were quite pale in appearance and many more of them had a 'skin' edge to them. They smelt sweet and saucy with a hint of cucumber and tasted similar.

Bowl 5 - These looked very appealing in terms of colour and shape as they were all quite 'uniform'. The smell was not particularly pleasant with eggy undertones. The taste was noted as 'smoky'.

The Verdict

Bowl 1 = Chocolate and Chilli (4/5 guessed correctly)
Bowl 2 = Cajun Squirrel (the sausage flavours threw us on that one! 2/5 guessed correctly)
Bowl 3 = Onion Bhaji (4/5 guessed correctly)
Bowl 4 = Crispy Duck and Hoisin (4/5 guessed correctly)
Bowl 5 = Builders' Breakfast (2/5 guessed correctly)

The Scores

Now, would it be fair to give the results without having tasted all 6 flavours? Of course not. I am currently trying to get my hands on a bag of the Fish and Chip flavour, and will complete the remaining test at the first possible opportunity. Post to follow. Our friend from America will not be present, but don't worry, a substitute has already been found and is raring to go!

All we need now are the crisps themselves!


  1. Hahhaha - Great Idea, these new flavours have completely passed me by. I never eat crisps anymore, but feel strangely drawn to Builders Breakfast really interested to know the results.

  2. Hi Han - Read an amusing article on the new crisp flavours this week:

    Don't be offended by the tone as the author is equally unimpressed by everything else he ever writes about. Made me smile anyway.

  3. Brilliant - to be fair, many similar comments came up as we tested too! One more flavour to go then the final results - though like I said, we remain generally unimpressed too - as you'll read this week!

  4. I tasted the chilli & chocolate ones last week and had to spit it out. I didn't like them at all. I quite like the onion bhaji ones though.


Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

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