Popchips really makes the big time

Lay's Air Pops are the latest imitator

By Jeremy Selwyn
Chief Snacks Officer

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Popchips has been quite flattered for a while, as there has been a string of knockoffs: Popped Chips from Herr's; Popped Crisps from Olde Cape Cod; Special K Cracker Crisps from Kellogg's; Snackin' Puffs from Barrel o' Fun; Nutradia Chips from SA Diabeticom of Belgium; and probably many more that we haven't eaten yet.

But Popchips can be more flattered than ever now, as today I discovered that snack industry leader (or perhaps follower in this case) Frito-Lay entered the arena in a big way by lending the Lay's brand to a product called Air Pops. (Even Frito-Lay has been in this game before, selling Popped Chips under their Smartfood brand. But using the company's namesake Lay's trademark and selling three flavors whose bags look a heck of a lot like the corresponding flavors of Lay's Potato Chips seems like a very big deal.)

Here's our take on the sour cream and onion flavor, BBQ flavor and original potato flavor.

But with the proliferation of Popchips-style chips continuing, it seems like time to ask some questions:

1) Are you a fan of Popchips? (We know lots of people are; so do those companies making the knockoffs.) If so, have you tried any of the other kinds, and what did you think?

2) We've been putting this style of chips mostly in our potato crisps category (except for some kinds that use other grains). We created "potato crisps" years ago for things like Pringles. Do these kinds of snacks belong there? If not, what should this category be called?

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