What are Crisps like in the UK?

My only reference is US potato chips.

Are Crisps a prepackaged item? Any restaurants make them fresh? I’d love to eat a fresh made potato chip.

Are US brands common in the UK? What are the dominant UK brands?

What are Crisps like? Thicker or thinner than ours? Greasier or about the same?

Do Crisp come with Ruffles or just flat?

Walker’sis the brand leader, though there are many other brands available. Apart from Pringles I can’t think of any brands you would be familiar with in the US.

Err, yes? :dubious: Bags and tubes and everything. It’s great!

They are very much a snack food, just like in the US. There’s bound to be fresh made on some menus though.

I think the most wide-spread brand in the mainland UK these days is Walkers, and that brand is now owned by Frito-Lay, so basically PepsiCo. Doritos and Pringles are very common, if pushing the definition of “crisp” a bit far. There’s loads of smaller producers who make very nice crisps - Brannigans, Mackies, tons more

Full spectrum, really.

All sorts.

I do get the impression, and it’s only that, that twenty-odd years ago your regular chip in the US came in not quite as many flavours as available nowadays. The UK was possibly ahead of the game on that one - we’ve been cobbling together random powdered flavourings for yer humble crisp for all my nearly 50 years.

You can get Cheetos here too nowadays, but they are a pale imitation of Wotsits. There’s been some shady marketing shenanigans around this, with Wotsits being rebranded as Cheetos. You can’t even trust a large multi-national snack manufacturer these days. Here’s a scholarly article about this:

Something terrible is happening to Wotsits

Yes, the flavored US chips came out about thirty or so years ago. Ruffles Cheddar & Sour Cream came out in the early 80’s.

You do get corn snacks like Monster Munch and Wotsits which aren’t crisps at all but in my head come under the crisps heading. They are to crisps as koalas are to bears.
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They’re pretty much like US chips. I doubt I could distinguish a Walker’s potato chip from a Lays potato chip (and they are owned by the same company) other than perhaps by flavor.

I believe Lay’s is the same as Walker’s, though I don’t know how much of the flavour range is the same (the connection’s fairly obvious from the logo). There are a lot of other brands, but Walker’s are definitely the commonest.

I’ve never come across anywhere selling freshly made crisps, not really a thing.

We’re pretty broad in our crisp tastes; flat, ruffled, thick cut, thin, and a range of flavours that extends well into the ridiculous (like the briefly available Cajun squirrel). The commonest flavours are salted, salt and vinegar, and cheese and onion, which pretty well every company does, with unnecessary adjectives included with more expensive brands.

I’ve not been to the US (if you discount spending 4 hours in Newark Airport once :wink: ) so I can’t really compare ours to yours.

It’s odd, you hang around a message board for 11 years and suddenly two threads on one of my few areas of expertise pop up in the same week.

Question for Brits: What do Prawn Cocktail Crisps Taste Like?

Hmmm… I read this and I have no idea what the difference is between a Wotsits and Cheetos Puffs (is it that Britain didn’t have Cheetos Puffs until recently and just had the crunchy Cheetos?).

Follow-up question: Has the “kettle-cooked” heresy taken hold in the UK the way it has in the colonies?

I think “crisp taste engineers” are getting better at their job. There was a time when the flavours were a very rough approximation of, say cheese and onion, but now when I have my mature cheddar and French onion crisps, they actually taste like what they’re supposed to.

There’s also a move towards “craft crisps” - made in small batches, allegedly by hand, and twice the price of normal Walkers. Still prepackaged snacks though.

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Yeah, Kettle Chips are pretty popular here in the UK. I find them a bit greasy to be honest.

Tyrrells are a nice British brand (well, initially British, they’re an American-owned multinational now of course). Good range of flavours; Goat’s Cheese, Garlic and Rosemary anyone? I like their non-potato varieties for a change too, such as parsnip and beetroot.

I noticed that too, my greasy-fingered friend :slight_smile:

Too bad. I freaking hate kettle-cooked chips. Too much like biting into shards of glass.

Kettle cooked chips are hardly much “healthier” as some people here in the U.S. think, and they are usually much harder (crunchier is not the word) and thus less enjoyable.

See also: hedgehog flavour (no hedgehogs were involved in the manufacturing process, at any level).

There’s loads of “hand made” “boutique” “small-batch” crisps with interesting textures and curated flavour profiles around nowadays, and they’re not all bad. But I think fundamentally a really good crisp just needs to be a bit of flavouring on a bit of potato. It’s important for the slightly mushy when chewed a bit potato element to still be there. Walkers, Lays and Tayto (Irish brand) get these fundamentals right with their bog-standard product lines.

Amen, brother.

I’d high-five you, but y’know :smiley:

This bloke seems to be the sort of professional to whom you should be turning with important questions like these. He seems to address them from a global perspective.