Why am I drawn to Ikea’s Swedish Food Store? Hard to say. Maybe because the prices are generally crazy cheap. Maybe because they have so many curious products that seem vaguely familiar, yet different. And maybe it’s because, unlike trips to some other oddball/curious food shops in town, there’s usually at least a bit of English on the packaging. And the products are just exotic enough to be interesting, even though they’re not particularly risky. (I’m looking at you, lingonberry sauce.)
Of course, when I buy a product at Ikea’s Swedish Food Store, I expect it to come from Sweden. Seems reasonable, no? That’s how they set themselves apart from other shops. So when I bought a bag of potato chips at the Ikea shop, I just assumed it was from Sweden. Only later, at home, did I read the fine print on the back: “Produced in USA for Ikea Food Services.”
I quite enjoy American snack foods. There are some pretty amazing chips made in the States, and lord knows we eat a fair number of them up here in Canada. But why buy American chips at Ikea? If I want those, I can visit any number of other shops in town. Why not sell Swedish chips at Ikea?
My confusion aside, here’s what I thought of the chips once I got past the politics of global food production and got my fingers greasy.
The Pitch: “Potato chips, sour cream and onion flavour.”
The Look: A remarkably utilitarian potato chip bag. No flashy graphics or fancy marketing blurbs about extreme this or kettle-cooked that. Just a foil plastic bag with a blown up image of crispy, thick-cut potato chips. As for the chips themselves? Also pretty utilitarian. Little specks of dehydrated parsley dot the chips’ curled surfaces. They’re the bowl I’d skip at a party until all the other chips were gone. (Yeah, I’m shallow sometimes. Whatevs.)
The Taste: Crunchy and oily, without a whole lot of flavour. There’s a touch of sour cream and onion taste, but enough to stand above the oil. If the base chips were better, it would be easier to overlook the lack of seasoning, but these lack zazz in a big way. They’re not terrible, but there are countless better ways to spend your daily calories in the supermarket potato chip aisle.
RATINGS AND DETAILS
Cost: $2.49 for a 150 gram bag at Ikea.
Value for cash money: Meh.
Nutrition?: Per 0.9 oz (25 grams): 130 calories, 8 grams of fat, 125 mg of sodium, 1 gram of fibre, 2 grams of protein.
The verdict: They’re potato chips. From Ikea. And they’re not all that great. Pity.