Sunday, February 14, 2016

Fresh Finds Aged White Cheddar & Sour Cream (Big Lots)

Who knew Big Lots' house brand could be so good?

Here we have a surprising, but welcome, chip offering: Fresh Finds chips!  Fresh Finds, you may recall, are Big Lots own private label products, and while there have always been a slight smattering of them here and there, they didn’t seem to be offered with any kind of regularity.  Well now, that seems to be changing; they’ve had the same Fresh Finds chips in stock every time I’ve gone for the last couple of months.  This is good, because the nature of closeout shops always makes it difficult to know whether or not the item you’re looking for will be there.

Anyway, I’m a huge fan of cheddar and sour cream chips, so the replacing of aged white cheddar with standard cheddar really appealed to me.  An 8 oz. bag retails for $1.90 (which seems to be the price of all of their Fresh Finds offerings), so while it’s a little bit more than you’ll pay at discount grocers (such as Aldi), it’s still well below national brand price.

These are described on the packaging as “gourmet potato chips”.  I’m not sure I would go that far, because the white cheddar powder looks and tastes strongly reminiscent of the white cheddar powder that you sprinkle on popcorn, but it somehow tastes really good, and is a nice change of pace from your average cheddar and sour cream chips.  There’s also a generous helping of each of the titular ingredients on each chip, ensuring that there’s plenty of flavor in each bite.  Occasionally, you’ll come across one with too much seasoning on it that crosses the line into overly salty, but those pieces were few and far between (and I’m sure it’s impossible to make every bag exactly even).

I’m actually hoping that Big Lots does make an effort to start keeping their Fresh Finds products in constant inventory, because chips like these, and their poorly named (but delicious; see below) Jalapeno Popper rippled chips are actually pretty tasty.  I also like that the chips they are offering are a little outside the norm—they’re not just your typical wavy or sour cream and onion varieties.  I frequently make trips to Big Lots to purchase chips, because there’s generally always something that looks enticing amongst the constantly-rotating inventory, but I never thought I’d be making trips over there just to get their own house brand!

Overall: 8/10. These are actually really good.  “Gourmet” seems a bit far-fetched, because the white cheddar powder reminds me of the cheap stuff you sprinkle on popcorn to give it some flavor, but it still goes well with the sour cream.  The price is also pretty good; at $1.90 for an 8 oz. bag, it’s just a bit more expensive than discount grocers, but is on par with other store brands, and way cheaper than name brands.  This is definitely a product I can get behind, and I’m hoping Big Lots continues to keep these in stock.

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