Baked chips aren’t typically the route I go when selecting chips, but Kettle Brand certainly gives me reason to reconsider that stance, given the three flavors I’ve tried from their Bakes line.

The crunch you get from these chips rivals almost any regular (non-baked) chips you’ll get, and that’s probably due to these chips being thicker than baked chips I’ve had from other brands.  As I started looking into it, apparently part of the reason for this is due to Kettle Brand using slices of potato for their chips. Other brands apparently prefer the route of using potato flakes that they then form into chip-like shapes before cooking.

As for the flavors, the three I tried were Sea Salt, Sour Cream & Onion, and lastly the Cheddar & Roasted Tomato. The Sea Salt were essentially what I would expect, reminiscent of what chips brands typically used to call their “original” flavor chips. But, again, the crunch was good, and the fact that they are more healthy for you and aren’t as greasy (distinct factors) gives them a leg up. They also stood up well when used in dipping.

While I’m not a huge fan of Sour Cream & Onion chips, the onion flavor in those wasn’t too strong, so it was enjoyable for me.  It absolutely rivaled the positive experience I’ve had from this flavor in other brands.

By far, the Cheddar & Roasted Tomato were my favorite (and my wife’s favorite as well). In the past, I’ve been disappointed by cheese-flavored chips. Some do it too strong, while others don’t put enough in the mix. Some were even too powdery. None of those things were true about this Kettle Brand Bakes variety. The cheddar cheese was blended into the chips nicely, and the use of Romano cheese to go along with it was a nice touch, as they compliment each other well. The roasted tomato flavor could’ve been a bit stronger, but it was certainly evident here, and a positive experience to boot. Fans of Sour Cream & Onion chips should certainly look into these Cheddar & Roasted Tomato variety as well, because there is a certain creaminess to them, and you can see the onion seasoning on the outside of the chip even before tasting it.

I’m looking forward to trying the Hickory Honey Barbeque and the Sea Salt & Vinegar varieties.

Here’s the press release from Kettle Brand regarding this sub-brand offering:

KETTLE BRAND® BAKES BREAK OUT BOLD NEW FLAVORS

 – Real Potatoes, Sliced, Toasted and Seasoned to Perfection –

SALEM, Ore. Oct. 15, 2012 – In a near perfect rendition of its flavorful kettle-cooked potato chip, Kettle Brand releases a new line-up of Kettle Brand Bakes featuring two bold new flavors: zesty Cheddar & Roasted Tomato and tangy Sour Cream & Onion. The new flavors are available in stores now, joining three existing flavors in new packaging.

Unlike competitive baked crisps made using dehydrated potato pulp and flakes, Kettle Brand Bakes are the only baked potato chip on the market made from slices of real potato seasoned with natural, mouth-wateringly savory flavors. The only difference from regular Kettle Brand chips is that Bakes are toasted, rather than fried, to a hearty crunch. The result is a chip that’s just as satisfying, but with 65 percent less fat and 100 percent of the flavor.

“Consumers have given in to the misconception that they must sacrifice flavor and crunch with baked chips, and that’s just not the case,” said Carolyn Ottenheimer, chief flavor architect at Kettle Brand. “Our Bakes are made with real slices of whole potatoes and natural ingredients so they are crunchy and indulgent, as potato chips should be.”

The revamped Kettle Brand Bakes line features five delicious flavors:

·         New Sour Cream & Onion – Starting with tangy sour cream, Kettle Brand blends in just the right amount of savory onion for a light and fresh twist on this chip classic.

·         New Cheddar & Toasted Tomato – Seasoned with sweet and zesty tomatoes and a combination of cheddar and Romano cheeses, these chips pack a sharp and zingy punch of real flavor.

·         Hickory Honey Barbeque – A pinch of paprika is the spark, spicy chili peppers the boom, then a touch of natural honey brings all the elements into the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, savory and smoke.

·         Sea Salt & Vinegar – Crunchy, golden curves of pure potato are paired with a splash of bold and tangy vinegar and a sprinkle of fresh sea salt for a perfect tart and salty finish.

·         Sea Salt – The pinnacle of baked perfection. Freshly sliced potatoes are toasted until golden and dusted with natural sea salt to satisfy the everyday crunch craving.

Bold New Packaging

Kettle Brand Bakes are now beginning to appear on store shelves in updated packaging that carries over the signature bold colors from the company’s original kettle-cooked potato chip line. In solid blue, brown, green, orange and red bags indicative of the flavor of each chip, the packaging also includes appetizing taste cues and visuals of whole slices of real potato.

“Kettle Brand pioneered packaging that tied bright, bold colors to the delicious flavors found inside,” said Marc McCullagh, brand manager for Kettle Brand. “The flavor and crunch of Kettle Brand Bakes resembles our classic kettle-cooked potato chips, so we’ve updated the packaging to be more in sync with how consumers shop for our product and reinforce that the chips inside are worth indulging in.”

All Kettle Brand products are made with a Natural Promise – all natural ingredients, no trans fats, no artificial colors or flavors and no preservatives. Kettle Brand is the first and only potato chip brand to be verified as using non-GMO ingredients by the Non-GMO Project.

Kettle Brand Bakes are available in 4 oz. bags for a suggested retail price of $3.39 at select grocery, mass merchandiser and natural foods stores nationwide, and online at BuyKettleChips.com.

 About Kettle Brand®

Kettle Brand is a pioneer of and one of the leaders in the premium kettle-cooked category, producing six premium product lines – Original, Krinkle Cut™, Organic, 40 Percent Reduced Fat and Bakes potato chips, as well as TIAS! ™ tortilla chips. Committed to making every product with all natural ingredients and without trans fats, artificial flavors or preservatives, the brand is the first and only Non-GMO Project verified potato chip company. Its products are sustainably produced and packaged in three state-of-the-art facilities in the U.S. and U.K., and distributed throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Western Europe and several countries in Asia. For more information visit www.kettlebrand.com.