Ketchup Chips Should Be Everywhere

Ketchup chips are more of a Canadian thing, but damnit, they should be American.

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Iconic.
Iconic.
Image: Danny Palumbo

My name’s Danny Palumbo, and I’m from Pennsylvania—home of Herr’s, Utz, Snyder’s, Wise, Middleswarth, Martin’s, Gibble’s, and many more. In short, this is where chips live, baby. And although I no longer live in the Keystone state, I still have a profound admiration for all things potato chips. In this column I will be reviewing some of the best the country has to offer. Welcome to Chip Country.


Ketchup-flavored potato chips just make too much sense. Crispy, salty potatoes and sweet, brightly acidic ketchup? That’s a combination worthy of saluting here in America. Why, then, are ketchup chips solely a Canadian thing?

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Canadians are absolute freaks for ketchup-flavored snacks. Notable brands like Old Dutch, Lay’s, Ruffles, and Miss Vickie’s sell ketchup-infused versions of their potato chips, but only north of the border. It doesn’t make sense, and honestly, how dare you, Canada? Slopping gobs of high-fructose ketchup on fried potatoes is our thing. What’s next? You guys want to dig your own Grand Canyon and fill it with AR-15s?

I digress, because there’s hope here in America: Herr’s, a Pennsylvania chip company, is one of the only brands selling ketchup chips here in the States.

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Why Herr’s chips are the best

Herr’s is my absolute favorite chip company. Its plain chips and classic flavors are amazing, yes, but it also sells so many wildly fun, funky, and delicious experiments—Jalapeño popper cheese curls, tomato soup cheese curls, creamy habanero ranch chips, and fire roasted sweet corn potato chips, to barely scratch the surface.

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Herr’s takes big swings; I love it when a snack company does that. And although ketchup is not the newest or most exotic flavor, the fact that Herr’s is one of the only American companies producing a ketchup chip only makes me love the brand more. Herr’s understands that variety is the spice of life, and it has one of the deepest and most inventive snack catalogues in the world.

Why ketchup chips work

So what do Herr’s ketchup chips taste like? These ridged chips have a more earthy, potato-forward taste than other chips. They also pack a sweet, tangy tomato flavor that lingers on your tongue. The ingredients listed include tomato powder, sugar, fructose, MSG, salt, onion powder, and malic acid. That’s a powerful alchemy that’s going to make your mouth water. Any chip that uses MSG is immediately a more savory, tasty chip. Moreover, an MSG chip tends to stand taller among its competitors. It’s just noticeably tastier.

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But why do these taste so strikingly like ketchup? Basically, all ketchup (like Heinz or Hunt’s) features the same ingredients: tomato concentrate, distilled vinegar, fructose, salt, and onion powder. In Herr’s ketchup chips, that flavor is recreated with the aforementioned tomato powder, sugar, fructose, salt, onion powder, and malic acid. The malic acid adds a tartness that replaces the vinegar, and it’s mouth-smackingly acidic. Tomato powder, meanwhile, is just dehydrated tomatoes. In short, these ketchup chips recreate the ketchup flavor almost exactly.

Well-flavoured (I’m Canadian now) snacks are all about sound food science, and Herr’s has a whole damn laboratory, baby. This is a memorable, deliciously unique chip, and it’s proof that if Herr’s sits at the top of the snack chip mountain, or certainly deserves to be.