Good news, Americans: You don't live in a country that tolerates cappuccino-flavored potato chips. But if Wasabi Ginger sounds equally dubious, well, pack your bags, because that's the winner of Lay's contest that gives people a chance to create a new flavor. Also-ran finalists included Mango Salsa and Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese. About 1 million total votes were cast online for the Do Us A Flavor promotion. Bags of the four finalist flavors hit shelves in late July and people were able to vote on Facebook and Twitter for their favorites through this past weekend. It was the second year for the US contest, which is designed to send customers to stores in search of the flavors. Last year's winner, Cheesy Garlic Bread, is still on shelves.
The winner, Meneko Spigner McBeth, a registered nurse from Deptford, NJ, will get $1 million or a percentage of a year in sales. Ram Krishnan, Frito-Lay's chief marketing officer, said this year's winner is evidence Americans want more ethnic flavors—though the top four Lay's flavors remain Original, Barbecue, Cheddar & Sour Cream, and Sour Cream & Onion. He said he couldn't have imagined Lay's selling a Wasabi Ginger flavor when he joined the company eight years ago: "When I went to school, Mexican food was exotic." Winning flavors abroad include Pizza in Saudi Arabia, Shrimp in Egypt, Sunday Roast in New Zealand, and Pickled Cucumber in Serbia. As for the cappuccino flavor—described as "NASTY" and "gross" in Facebook comments—Krishnan says, "the fact that it made it to the final four is no small feat." (Read more Frito-Lay stories.)