Having exhausted almost every food flavour combination Walkers have now moved on to more esoteric varieties.
‘It was easy in the early days’, explained head of R & D, Mitch Rutland, ‘Things like Cheese n Onion and Salt n Vinegar could be easily replicated with chemicals. Beef just needed a dollop of Bovril and Horse extract…anyway the least said about that…’
A public campaign for new flavours came up with increasingly difficult flavours to reproduce in the laboratory. Slug Porridge was a challenge but the turning point came with an attempt to make Norwegian Lutefisk flavoured ridged crisps.
‘It was a real light bulb moment’ says Rutland. “After days trying to find a combination of additives that made our crisps taste like rancid ling I suddenly realised that no-one eating crisps in England would have a clue what Lutefisk tasted like; I could dig out an old canister of “Prawn Cock” and no-one would be any wiser. I don’t know why we didn’t twig that when we did the Hedgehog flavour. It would have saved us all a lot of sleepless nights – the spiky bastards are no-where to be seen in daylight’.
It was only after the success of Lutefisk that Rutland realised that the flavour didn’t have to be food related at all. ‘That was the real game changer. We immediately released a Happiness flavour followed quickly by our much more popular new flavours Disappointment, Resentment, and as part of our launch promotion with the Daily Mail, new Spite ‘n’ paranoia.’