It could be our affinity for offbeat food combinations (donair poutine, anyone?), or maybe it’s the patriotic red colour, but ketchup chips have long been one of Canadian’s favourite snacks.
A staple in Canadian grocery stores, these tangy, slightly sweet chips are among national brands’ most popular flavours (Old Dutch estimates that they sell approximately 7.2 million bags of ketchup chips a year). However, finding them outside of our borders is not so easy. If you live outside of Canada, fulfilling your ketchup-chip craving can be pricey — bags of ketchup chips are sold for as much as $18 on U.S. Amazon — but Pringles may turn the tide with their ketchup flavour, which is available stateside (to mixed reviews).
Herrs vs. Hostess
So who was the original inventor of the ketchup chip? One camp claims American company Herrs deserves the credit — they even partnered with ketchup-giant Heinz to make the seasoning for their ketchup chips. Others declare that the Hostess company (now Frito-Lay Canada) created the flavour in the early 1970s, and Canadians have been enjoying them ever since. But as neither company has stepped forward to claim the title of official creator, its true origins remain a mystery.
To see how the different brands chips stacked up, we rounded up all the different varieties of ketchup chips we could find, and conducted our own taste test. Our conclusion: the best ketchup chip is the one you grew up eating. Newer varieties were promising, others had lots of bold ketchup flavour and the homestyle chips had a delightful crunch. Despite all the strong contenders, nostalgia was the major factor that determined the winner. Old Dutch won our unofficial test, bringing back childhood memories of summers spent with ketchup-powder-stained fingers.
No matter which version is your favourite, one thing’s for sure — ketchup chips are a Canadian classic. See how we felt about each chip below: