Does white chocolate have any business on chips? Kellogg (K) thinks so. This holiday season, the company is again bringing back the sugary potato chip flavor with its White Chocolate Pringles available only at Wal-Mart Stores (WMT). The limited-time product is a simpler take on the flavor following last year’s White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles sold over the holidays.
A small group of people love white chocolate. It’s creamier and sweeter than darker varieties, known as “real chocolate.” While only 8 percent of consumers prefer white chocolate over other kinds, the demographic has caught the attention of food manufacturers and resulted in coffee drinks and chocolate-covered pretzels on store shelves.
Kellogg’s second attempt with Pringles is noteworthy because the initial white chocolate experiment didn’t work out too well. Reviewers pulverized the White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles like so many angry fists landing on saddle-shaped crisps. “Imagine mouthwash gone bad, and then put on a potato chip,” the Huffington Post wrote. Testers at Today.com said the chips were “unanimously despised, with one staffer comparing it to a Pringle with ‘a thin layer of toothpaste on it.’”
Yet Kellogg seems unfazed by the backlash. “Pringles limited-edition holiday flavors have proved to be a great way to put a unique twist on holiday gatherings and parties—so we decided to bring them back this year,” the company said in an e-mail. And of course Kellogg isn’t alone in thinking that chocolate belongs on potato chips: Witness Lay’s (PEP) new chocolate-covered chips, which use milk chocolate. Maybe Pringles’ problem last season wasn’t the pale hue of its chocolate but that other ingredient: the peppermint. This year’s plain old White Chocolate Pringles have none of that unappealing mintiness.
The verdict? Here’s an account on the blog Junkfoodguy.com:
“When I popped one into my mouth, I did taste a semisweet white chocolate creaminess. But did they taste EXACTLY like white chocolate? No, they did not.
“… These just felt sort of like—well, white chocolate powder on a Pringle. Like … a mistake. Like an unfinished canvas where other flavors should have been added on top—but weren’t.
“Like the White Chocolate Peppermint Pringles from last year, I will not be eating these again.”
Behind those curious consumers are others who just seem scared. Foodrepublic.com posted a story under the headline: “I Hate You, White Chocolate-Flavored Pringles.” The very idea of the chip had the author, Matt Rodbard, deciding he needed “to crawl up into a little half moon on the floor now. Sort of like the shape of a Pringle.”