I’m always struck when a potato chip that tastes exactly like the thing it’s attempting to taste like. Pickle chips that taste like pickles and ranch chips that taste like actual ranch are both quite rare. And when it comes to snack chips with a sweet taste, that sweetness is usually overwhelmingly artificial. Honey barbecue chips taste sweet, yes, but not really like earthy, floral honey. And while these honey dijon Kettle chips are an all-timer, they taste more of dijon than anything else.
Recently, however, Utz released a potato chip in conjunction with Mike’s Hot Honey, and it’s a damn smart move because hot honey has been having a moment. Peruse restaurant menus and you’ll find that it’s regularly going on pizzas, sandwiches, cheese, fried chicken, and salmon. So, this was cunning brand collaboration by Utz, and one that I think will be quite lucrative for the snack brand. Here’s how the Utz website describes these chips:
Get ready to experience game-changing hot honey flavor! Utz teamed up with Mike’s Hot Honey to cover our classic Utz Potato Chips with a one-two punch of honey flavor than heat [sic]. Just one bite of this seriously delicious chip will have you reaching into the bag for more!
Folks, we caught a typo in the Utz marketing copy. Honestly, I’m looking for work right now, so Utz, if you need a chip copywriter hit me up. More importantly, though, what do these things taste like? Is it more honey than heat? Or is it honey, then heat? I got a big ol’ bag of these chips in the mail to find out.
What do Utz & Mike’s Hot Honey chips taste like?
They taste like actual honey, dude. That’s the first thing you taste right off the bat, and the flavor was so specific and pronounced that it made me realize it’s not often that you get a pure honey flavor out of a potato chip, or any other savory snack. It’s a complex sweetness, and if I just had to rank honey flavored chips alone, these would be at the top. Bravo.
In addition to that sweetness, there is a bit of heat, but it’s incredibly mild, nearly drowned out by the distinct honey flavor itself. I’m not complaining, though, because I damn near inhaled this entire bag. Is it actual Mike’s Hot Honey drizzled on the potato chips? Yeah, probably not. The ingredients list honey powder, MSG, and spices. If they were using actual dehydrated Mike’s Hot Honey, it would likely be listed in the ingredients in some proprietary way. Still, it’s a collaboration that brings out the best in both brands—companies like Kettle won’t use MSG, but Utz does, and the product is all the better for it.
These chips are addictively sweet and subtly spicy, and when an image of the Mike’s bottle is slapped directly on the Utz bag, that’s all your brain is going to make you taste. That’s how these crafty cross-collaborations work, and commendably so.