Ketchup Chips - A Flavour Solution

July 04th 2018

Ketchup Chips - A Flavour Solution

Ketchup Chips - A Flavour Solution Lost In Time


There’s a lot about the 1970s worth forgetting. Plaid slacks, ugly cars, and avocado-green appliances come unwillingly to mind. Along with all that awful stuff, we’ve somehow also forgotten where Ketchup chips came from!   


We haven’t forgotten how much we love them, though: 63% of Canadian agree that, “ketchup chips are delicious,” according to a 2017 Ipsos survey. Since Canada Day was this month, we thought it was the perfect time to get to know this great Canadian snack. Follow the link to learn what we think we know about the origins of ketchup chips and their possible future!


Not every flavour experiment turns out to be a true Flavour Solution. For example, about forty-something years ago, some folks decided that the public would love fruit-flavoured potato chips. (We’d like to think they were marketers, not flavour scientists.) Nothing better than a crunchy, salty, orange, right? Wrong.

What we know for certain is that a Canadian chip maker sprung grape, orange, and cherry flavoured chips on an unsuspecting public in the 1970s. They flopped badly, and people still talk today about how truly awful they really were.

Were Ketchup Chips born from a flavour failure?

From this flavour flop, it is said by some that the ketchup chip emerged as a last-ditch effort to introduce a bold, colourful new flavour to the market. Whether there is any connection or not (no one has ever officially laid claim to creating the ketchup chip), there is no denying ketchup chips were an instant hit and they soon became one of the top-selling flavours in Canada.

Today you can buy many different brands of ketchup chips, as well as puffed rice snacks and tortilla chips. And while some have more ketchup flavouring and some have less, what you rarely see is any variation on the flavour of the ketchup itself.

Even the classics can be innovated

Given the current attitudes towards spice in Canada (49% like a bit of fire in their food), maybe a heat boost is the ticket needed to make the trip from the shelf to the shopping cart. Wouldn’t an ancho chili-infused ketchup chip get the snack bowl deliciously smokin’?

You could even take advantage of Canadians’ love of International cuisine with a ketchup/berbere blend for exotic tang with a bit of warm, aromatic heat. Or go Japanese and unleash wasabi Furikake ketchup chips - the mix of umami and light sweetness with a pungent kick sounds like the ideal partner for Canada’s favourite sauce.

Americans haven’t caught on to the Ketchup Chip… yet

By the way, if you’re thinking about marketing over the border, there’s plenty of room for growth! Ketchup barely makes a ripple (chip) in the U.S. potato chip pool. In American surveys, ketchup chips are lumped in with “Other flavours” on the list of favourite chip flavours. Collectively, that group ranks sixth in popularity. Individually, ketchup chips probably rank around 8th - behind “No Salt/Low Salt”.

Well, if they ever change their minds down there, we’d be happy to share this great Canadian snack with our American friends. Come on up, everyone! We’ll have Caesars and butter tarts, too!