Sunday, November 3, 2019

Clancy's Stackerz Cheddar Cheese Potato Crisps (Aldi)

Tastes as cheap as the cardboard packaging feels.
Aldi has carried the name brand potato crisp snack for quite a while now; so long, in fact, that I have completely started ignoring them. That's one problem I've been noticing with Aldi recently, and that's that they are slowly giving in to more and more “mainstream” American supermarket staples, such as having an increased number of name brands taking up their aisles. I know in the past, they have gone on record saying that the only name brands they consistently carried (special buys excluded) were products they couldn't find a suitable private label alternative for, which is admirable. But lately, in some cases (such as with their excellent "Infuse" sports drink line), the national brand product has actually replaced their own store versions. I read the reasoning for that is that some customers are loyal to certain brands, so Aldi wanted to become more of a "one-stop shop" by including these items in their inventory, to dissuade people from going somewhere else. I get it, and I guess that's smart business, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. And I don't.

Anyway, the Aldi version of the canned chip is called Stackerz. No, that's not a typo, that's just the sign of an out-of-touch company trying to seem “hip” and “cool” in today's millennial-dominated world, another cue Aldi is apparently taking from the competition. There's also something I don't like about the can, and it has nothing to do with the picture of two chips—complete with sunglasses and facial features—sunbathing; in fact, I must admit to finding that picture kind of humorous. Instead, I find the cans to look—unappealing. I don't know if it's the muted, boringcolors they use; or the sloppy, cheap way that the label seems put on, with seams clearly visible in some cans; or the way it feels like it could just fall apart in your hands from the slightest touch; or a combination of all three, but everything about it screams "low quality" to me. It's rare that packaging to a product turns me off to the actual product, but I have to say that this is one of them.

Before I get down to the nitty-gritty, let me preface this by saying DO NOT EXPECT THIS to be a knockoff of the national brand that starts with a “P” and rhymes with “shingles”. I made that mistake, since that's the name brand I was alluding to in the opening sentence of this review, and was rather put-off by the difference in taste and texture. Actually, don't expect it to be a knockoff of anything—I have seen others say that it's more a knockoff of the other name-brand knockoff—the one that starts with “S” and rhymes with “racks”--but I don't even think that's the case. The cheese here tastes old to me, and not in a delicious “aged cheddar” kind of way, but in a “let's just get rid of some expired cheese” kind of way. The texture is also a ways off: the name brands almost melt in your mouth, while these seem thicker and almost grainy as you chew them. It's really an undesirable experience all around, which is a shame, because I'd get these pretty often if the quality was even remotely in the same ballpark as the brands it's ripping off.

The price point ($.99 per 5.5 oz tube) is okay, but you can generally get the (rhymes with) “racks” brand for around the same price; and while those aren't nearly as good as  the (rhymes with)“shingles” brand, either option is still loads better than this. Even our two year old son, who eats pretty much anything, won't touch these things; that might say even more about them than my own personal opinion.

Overall: 2/10. The score feels a little harsh, but I can't think of anything all that positive about the experience of eating these; in fact, on the rare occasions I've bought them, I don't think we've ever finished off a whole can. The packaging looks and feels cheap (minus the semi-cute and slightly humorous picture on the front), the chip's texture is way off, and it tastes like a mix of salt, and post-expiration cheddar cheese. The $.99 price tag might be its sole saving grace, but it's still not even enough to make it worth a purchase. One of the worst products I've had the misfortune of eating in quite a while from an Aldi store. Given their propensity for pulling their own private label brands off the shelves in favor of national brands lately, I can't see why these are still on store shelves.

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