Thursday, 16 February 2012

CCs Corn Chips review

I will often support the underdog, like Pepsi over Coke or Hungry Jacks/BK over McDonalds.
On this occasion, I want to support our Australian CCs over the American Doritos, but at this point, we don't have much to work with in CCs favour compared to their range here.

CCs are an Australian brand of Corn Chips, that were introduced here some time in the 1980s, some 30 years after Frito-Lay first released their Corn Chips in America as Doritos.  Unfortunately, the CCs brand changed hands a number of times due to buy-outs, takeovers and mergers, to end up in the hands of Frito-Lay. Since the American company had its own brand of Corn Chips, they stopped production of CCs and introduced their Doritos here. (same happened with Samboy chips and Cheezels, as they wanted to sell their Smiths Chips and Cheetos here)
After they were forced to sell off a number of snackfood brands, to avoid being penalised for being a monopoly in this country, we eventually saw a return of these Australian snackfood brands several years ago, including CCs (and Samboy).
And they were once again Australian owned.

But if I remember correctly, the introduction of Doritos (with lighter coloured corn chips), led to CCs now no longer having their noticeably darker corn chips, which were a lot crunchier (less "fragile" than the other type). The texture of the CCs now matches the more dainty Doritos... and as you'll see below, they also copied the flavours and packaging colours too. (I liked the crunchier yellower corn chips)
A bit disappointing, as they haven't hid their strategy of copying the competition.
The three main flavours of CCs are Original/Plain (in green), Tasty Cheese (in red) and Nacho Cheese (in yellow).  All the same as our main Doritos flavours in Australia.

They've re-established themselves here again, so they really need to make an effort of stepping out of Doritos' shadow and take the initiative for the American Doritos to follow instead.
Even their most recent flavour - 2 Flavour Smash - is copied from a concept Doritos have in America (two distinctly different flavours in the one pack), but at least they got it out here first, which would look like Doritos copied them if they ever bring out more of their American flavours here.
Last October however, CCs did introduce a new flavour (and concept) to Australia - "Energy". I've never seen them in America, so could well be unique concept entirely. It basically adds caffeine to the Corn Chip, to give it a kick. Not something you want mixed with Saturated Fats and artificial additives, which already raises the blood pressure.
Besides, caffeine or other legal stimulants are best ingested by way of a liquid medium (like Cola or Energy Drinks).  The solid medium of Corn Chips gives it a more "slow release" format though, so the "coffee" feel lasts for quite a while.

So with CCs on sale at Coles this week, and the Energy variety being cleared out (I guess they are being discontinued due to lack of interest), I bought up each of the flavours they stocked. For some reason they didn't have the plain/Original flavour (which I don't recall seeing anywhere - I didn't think it existed before seeing it on their website today).

From right is the Tasty Cheese, Nacho Cheese (both in 200gm), 2-flavour Smash (Tasty Cheese + Sour Cream & Chilli - at a smaller 175gm size), and the Energy Cheese (only in 90gm packs).
I separated the 2-flavour smash flavours, with the (yellow) cheese being on the left and the (white) chilli being on the right.

Now for the taste test...

Tasty Cheese - The standard fake cheese taste, so kinda boring, and not as strong as I was expecting. The packaging says "even tastier", but that may be from them adding (or increasing) the MSG content. Snackfoods go through these cycles, removing it with great fanfare to promote a healthier image, and then quietly add it back in later under a banner of better flavour. With me being one of those people with an allergy to MSG (a lot of people have the same sensitivity), it means I can't eat too much of these if I don't want to start sneezing, getting a runny nose or even itchy skin. (the first two I will have tomorrow though, after eating these 4 packs tonight) 2/5

Nacho Cheese - A subtle cheese flavour, but the tomato and garlic flavourings aren't significant enough to overpower the cheese. 3/5

2-Flavour Smash (Cheese & Chilli) - Individually and together, every mouthful is a different flavour. And the Chilli flavour is one of the better ones, and not just because it is the only non-cheese flavour. And even if you just eat a Cheese chip from the pack, it has some of the chilli flavouring rubbed off onto it, making it a nice bitey cheese flavour. I loved the Doritos twin-flavour varieties in America, and think this is the best Corn Chips flavour currently in this country (by both CCs or Doritos). 4.5/5

Energy Cheese -A strong cheese flavour, actually tastes like burnt cheese (like when you grill cheese on toast and it just goes a little too dark). The caffeine kicks in a few minutes later, and you can feel it thumping in your chest for some time after the pack is finished. 1/5

See a pattern here? Every flavour is Cheesy. It makes their line-up very boring. The best was the 2-Flavour Smash because it was the one that was most different from all the cheeses.  Apparently they used to have a BBQ flavour, something they could desperately use for some variety here, to break up the wall-to-wall cheese. I can think of a few flavour options at their disposal that they could use to add some variety, while avoiding the appearance of still copying Doritos.

And as with the Doritos road test, I tried each flavour again with Sour Cream (my preferred dip for flavoured chips).
Tasty Cheese - Softens that fake cheese taste, to make it a more creamy cheese flavour. 3/5

Nacho Cheese - This was my favourite flavour of Doritos, and again with this brand, the Sour Cream really brings out its flavour. I'd still like to see a meatier taste (that Doritos once had when they first came to this country). 4/5

2-Flavour Smash (Cheese & Chilli) - This couldn't get any better. It's like I'm eating every type of Mexican dish at once... with the cheese, the chilli, the sour cream.... yum. I can't stop eating them. 5/5

Energy Cheese - And on the other end of the spectrum, we have something that doesn't taste any better, and is a concept that must have doctors horrified. Fat-filled corn chips are unhealthy enough on their own, shortening lifespans with excessive consumption... do they need to add in an ingredient that can be deadly in the short term as well. It still tastes like burnt cheese. 1/5

The good thing about eating chips with Sour Cream, is when you end up with a handful of crumbs and fragments of chips in the bottom of the packet (especially with white corn chips being more fragile), you can crush them up and mix it into a little bit of the Sour Cream, to make a crunchy, creamy, cool-ish, flavourful, taste sensation.
It probably explains why so many Chip brands have been coming out with a Sour Cream (and something) flavour in recent years, as it compliments and even improves other (fake) flavours.

No comments:

Post a Comment