Lay’s has announced the four finalist flavors in its Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” contest. Potato chip and money lovers submitted more than 14 million potato chip flavor ideas between January and April, hoping to take home a minimum $1-million grand prize.

The finalist flavors are Cappuccino, Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger and Wavy Mango Salsa. According to a spokeswoman for Lay's, the finalists were selected based on a combination of three factors: “1. originality and creativity, 2. simplicity, straightforwardness and fun and 3. potential for delicious flavor for Lay’s potato chips on the designed chip base (Lay’s Original, Lay’s Wavy and/or Lay’s Kettle Cooked).”


To submit a flavor idea for the contest, participants were asked to provide their name, flavor name, up to three possible ingredients, the chip style and a 140-character description or inspiration for their flavor.

All four finalist flavors have been fully developed by Frito-Lay’s “culinary experts” and debuted in stores nationwide in late July. Consumer votes will determine which flavor is selected as the winner. Consumers can vote once a day until Oct. 18, 2014 on; via Twitter, Instagram and/or Vine using the hashtags #SaveCappuccino, #SaveBaconMac, #SaveWasabi or #SaveMango; and/or via text message by texting “Cappuccino,” “Bacon Mac,” “Wasabi” or “Mango” to 24477 (CHIPS).

The winning flavor will be revealed this November and will remain on store shelves following the completion of the contest. So may the finalist with the most fans (and friends!) win.

Now, granted, we have not taste-tested these flavors, and we have no intention to. But the only one we can imagine working is Cheddar Bacon Mac n Cheese. These are all ingredients that reasonably go with “potato.” We can see wasabi, but they lost us at ginger. Everyone knows that mango salsa goes with tortilla chips, not potato chips. Can you imagine dipping potato chips in salsa? Ugh.

Cappuccino is simply an abomination and was clearly selected just for the outrage factor.

This is the second time Lay’s has held a flavor competition. “The response blew us away,” said Ram Krishnan, senior vice president of marketing, Frito-Lay North America (parent company of Lay’s). “We can’t wait to see which flavor America selects as its favorite.”

The contest finalists, who were selected by a judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and “flavor experts,” are Chad Scott from Las Vegas, Nev., who submitted Cappuccino; Matt Allen from Troy, Ohio, who submitted Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese; Meneko Spigner McBeth from Deptford, N.J., who submitted Wasabi Ginger; and Julia Stanley-Metz from Sacramento, Calif., who submitted Mango Salsa.

Scott spends his days as a visiting lecturer at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and nights working toward his Ph. D. from Texas A&M University. A typical doctoral student, Scott is constantly inspired and fueled by his local baristas’ concoctions, Unfortunately, however, Lay’s Cappuccino-flavored potato chips do not contain coffee or caffeine.

Allen just landed his dream job as a full-time firefighter. When it was his turn to cook the “family meal” at the firehouse during training, he knew exactly the way to his team’s hearts and stomachs: bacon mac and cheese. He decided to translate this Ohio firehouse favorite to a potato chip.

McBeth is a registered nurse with a passion for sushi that started when she was a little girl, eating handmade rolls by her grandmother. Over the years, her affinity for spicy foods and tastes, like wasabi, only grew, inspiring her potato chip flavor.
Stanley-Metz and her family have Taco Tuesday every week, taking fresh ingredients from the garden to create her perfected mango salsa recipe – now on a chip.

Lay’s held its first “Do Us A Flavor” contest in 2012. Cheesy Garlic Bread, Chicken and Waffles and Sriracha flavored potato chips were selected as finalists. In that competition, Cheesy Garlic Bread and Karen Weber-Mendham, a children’s librarian from Land O’ Lakes, Wis., took home the $1 million grand prize.

This year's three runner-ups will each win $50,000 in prize money, with the grand prize winner taking home $1 million or 1 percent of their flavor’s net sales through July 1, 2015 (whichever is higher). And speaking of high, we think we have an idea of the “target audience” for these potato chips.

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