Can they package a Whopper into a potato chip? Yes, they can! But something's missing...

Apr 9, 2008 at 4:00 am

Oh come on!

Flame-broiled potato chips? Oh, excuse me, Burger King Flame Broiled Flavored Potato Snacks.

That's right, Burger King, where you can Have It Your Way, is now offering Whopper-flavored potato chips, er, snacks.

Is there really a niche for this product? Maybe. Here we have BK, a company whose guiding principle is to flood the zone, making certain that a Whopper is available whenever, wherever some poor schmoe might think of a hamburger — highway convenience stores most definitely included.

I suppose BK didn't really have a choice. After all, the Subway/Pizza Hut/KFC axis has already taken up residency in gas stations nationwide, and McDonald's, the granddaddy of 'em all, has the sheer market force to set up a burger hut in advance of whatever exurban intersection may be on the way.

So it makes sense that Burger King, outflanked on all sides, would choose this sort of guerrilla campaign, placing its Whoppers, or at least its Whopper surrogates, next to the Funyuns at the checkout counter.

Still, it's hard to get past the hellish nature of a potato snack so manipulated that it simultaneously tastes like two "flame-broiled" beef patties, a sesame seed bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, mayo, and.... What's that?

No, never mind, I thought I tasted pickle.

Appropriately, the packaging positions these BK chips as the food of the damned, picturing the potato snacks being toasted by the flames of Hell.

Eat sufficient quantities of these things and you'll probably land in Hell — with a hefty thud. The typical Whopper, a tasty confection bearing a caloric load of 670, weighs in at roughly 10.2 ounces. That's about 65.7 calories per ounce of Whopper. On the other hand, a single ounce of Burger King Flame Broiled Flavored Potato Snacks delivers a whopping 150 calories.

So if you were to eat a Whopper weight's worth of Flame Broiled Potato Snacks, you'd be treating yourself to a 1,530-calorie meal. The only BK sandwich that even comes close to this heavyweight is the notorious Triple Whopper with Cheese, which tips the scales at 1,230 calories. Add a 290-calorie large Coca-Cola to that triple threat and you'd still have 10 calories to spare.

The thing is, after eating just a few ounces of BK Flame Broiled Potato Snacks, you'll be jonesing for any kind of liquid, willing to downsize your meal to Whopper Jr. proportions for the caloric cost of a Coke.

It's not that they taste bad. They taste, in all honesty, a lot like a Whopper. Or — not to put too fine a point on it here — they taste like the chemicals that make a Whopper taste like a Whopper, an iconic food species unknown outside the Burger King-dom.

Until now, that is. Somehow that special mixture of ketchup and mayo has survived the flame-broiling process, evoking a gustatory memory of the flame-broiled taste BK slathers on its Whopper. The onion is here. So are the lettuce, tomato and sesame seed bun.

There's only one thing missing. Which is just as well. If I'm going to Have It My Way, they can hold the pickle.

Seen a foodstuff you're too timid to try? Malcolm will eat it! E-mail particulars to [email protected].