Taste-Off: Buffalo vs. Buffalo

Six Buffalo-flavored products go head-to-head.
The Buffalo taste-off spread.

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

To honor Super Bowl Sunday, this taste-off highlights the flavoring of one of the most time-honored game day dishes: Buffalo wings. We gathered six Buffalo-flavored products for the biggest taste-off yet. What's Buffalo flavor? It's easy to get bogged down in origin stories, so let's just say that the spicy tang of this classic snack comes from the orange sauce that coats the wings —a mix of melted butter, a vinegar-based hot sauce, and red pepper. How does that flavor translate to potato chips, cheese, and pizza?

 

Herr’s Buffalo Wing Potato Chips 

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

  • DOB: 2005
  • Availability: Grocery and convenience stores
  • Price:  $2.99/9.5 ounce bag
  • Calories/Serving Size:  160 calories/1 ounce (about 13 chips)
  • Ingredients: Choice Potatoes Cooked in Vegetable Oil, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Maltodextrin, Sodium Diacetate, Paprika, Monosodium Glutamate, Onion and Garlic Powder, Natural and Artificial Flavors (including milk), Corn, Rye, and Malted Barley, Malic Acid, Salt, Spice, Extractive, Citric Acid, Vinegar Solids, and Silicon Dioxide (to prevent caking)
  • Cooking time:  Straight out of the bag
  • Fun Fact:  The Herr Foods story began in 1946 when 21-year-old James Stauffer Herr bought a small potato chip company in Lancaster, Penn., for $1,750.
  • Taste:  Tasters found this product to have the most authentic Buffalo flavor. They liked the wider crinkle cut, and thought this chip had more sweetness than the others.

 

Archer Farms Buffalo Wing Potato Chips

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

  • DOB: 2005
  • Availability: Exclusively at Target
  • Price: $1.99/8.5 ounce bag
  • Calories/Serving Size:  140 calories/1 ounce (about 15 chips)
  • Ingredients: Potatoes, Sunflower and/or Corn Oil, Vinegar Powder (Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Dried Vinegar), Chicken Flavors (Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dextrose, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Disodium Inosinate and Guanylate), Dextrose, Spices, Maltodextrin, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Salt, Sodium Diacetate, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Dehydrated Garlic and Onion, Malic Acid, Natural Flavors including Butter, Natural Smoke Flavor.
  • Cooking time: Straight out of the bag
  • Fun Fact: Archer Farms' philosophy is "tasty food for a tasty price."
  • Taste: These chips were the tasters' overall favorite. They were crunchy with a little spiciness and a smoky finish. One taster said the chips first tasted of “salt and vinegar” and then led to the Buffalo flavor, although one thought they tasted more of BBQ than Buffalo.   

 

Popcorn, Indiana Chip’Ins Hot Buffalo Wing

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

  • DOB: 2011
  • Availability: Grocery stores and Whole Foods Market
  • Price:  $3.99/7.5 ounce bag
  • Calories/Serving Size: 130 calories/1 ounce (about 18 popcorn chips)
  • Ingredients: Corn, Sunflower Oil, Maltodextrin, Salt, Dried Red Pepper Sauce (Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Vinegar, Salt, and Garlic), Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Spices, Sugar, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Vinegar, Citric Acid, Paprika (for color), Spice Extract, Butter (Cream, Salt), Lactic Acid, Canola Oil, Natural Flavor.
  • Cooking time: Straight out of the bag
  • Fun Fact: These chips have 8 grams of whole grain, zero trans fat, are gluten-free, and are 100% natural.
  • Taste: The tasters were confused by this chip at first. One said “this isn’t even a real chip.” In a side-by-side comparison with the other potato chips, this one was in a category all by itself. One taster compared them to “a buffalo flavored rice cake.” Not bad for someone counting calories or trying to find a healthy chip alternative.

 

Cabot Creamery's Extra Spicy Hot Buffalo Wing Cheddar

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

  • DOB: Summer 2009
  • Availability: Grocery stores
  • Price: $4.49
  • Calories/Serving Size: 110 calories/1 ounce (about a 1-inch cube)
  • Ingredients: Fresh Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Sugar, Maltodextrin, Spice, Garlic Powder, Sweet Cream, Yeast Extract, Onion Powder, Citric Acid, Canola Oil, Natural Flavors with Extractives of Paprika, Lactic Acid, Natural Butter Flavor, Soy Lecithin, Vinegar, Enzymes.
  • Cooking time: Slice and enjoy
  • Fun Fact: Cabot Creamery is owned and operated by 1,200 farm families in New England and New York.
  • Taste: Tasters found this cheese to be “tasty," but didn't think the cheese had a lot of overall Buffalo flavor. The lingering heat also left tasters wishing they had crackers.

 

Morningstar Farms' Buffalo Wings

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

  • DOB: 2002
  • Availability:  Grocery store frozen foods sections
  • Price: $4.29
  • Calories/Serving Size: 200 calories/5 wings 
  • Ingredients: Textured Vegetable Protein (Soy Protein Concentrate, Soy Protein Isolate, Wheat Gluten, Water for Hydration), Water, Enriched Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamin Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Corn Oil, Cornstarch, Wheat Starch, Contains 2% or less of Salt, Methylcellulose, Modified Corn Starch, Sugar, Dextrose, Artificial Vinegar Flavor (Malic Acid, Sodium Acetate, Lactose, Fumaric Acid), Potassium Chloride, Garlic, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural and Artificial Flavors from Non-Meat Sources, Spices, Soy Protein Isolate, Tapioca Dextrin, Disodium Inosinate, Dried Yeast, Caramel Color, Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Paprika Extract for Color, Xanthan Gum, Inulin from Chicory Root, Onion, Annatto Extra for Color, Nonfat Dry Milk, Dehyrdated Butter (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Salt, Annatto Color), Sodium Acetate, Paprika for Color, Malic Acid, Baking Soda, Celery Extract, Wheat Fiber, Lactic Acid, Barley Extract, Niacinamide, Egg Whites, Citric Acid, Succinic Acid, Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Vitamin B12, Tumeric for Color
  • Cooking time:  5 minutes in the microwave for 15 wings (whole box)
  • Fun Fact:  Morningstar Farms has been making 'meatless meals' for more than 25 years.
  • Taste: The tasters were intrigued by the “soft texture” of these wings, and found them to be “not very Buffalo-flavored, but still tasty.” One said “If I had to eat a meat substitute, I would not be upset about eating these!”

 

Red Baron Classic Crust Buffalo Style Chicken Pizza

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Credit: Maryse Chevriere

  • DOB: 2009
  • Availability: Grocery store frozen foods sections
  • Price: $5.79
  • Calories/Serving Size: 340 calories/¼ pizza
  • Ingredients: Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Low Moisture Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese (Cultured Pasteurized Part Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Buffalo Sauce (Distilled Vinegar, Aged Cayenne Red Peppers, Salt, Water, Modified Food Starch, Canola Oil, Paprika, Vegetable Fiber, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate [Preservative], Natural Butter Type Flavor, Garlic Powder), Water, Seasoned Chicken (Chicken Meat, Water, Modified Food Starch, Chicken Broth, Salt, Spices, Dextrose, Dehydrated Garlic, Dehydrated Onion, Sodium Phosphates, Soy Protein Concentrate, Maltodextrin, Natural Flavor [with Chicken Fat]), Vegetable Shortening (Palm Oil, Soy Lecithin, Butter Flavor), Yeast, Contains 2 percent or less of Vegetable Oil (Soybean, Cottonseed, Corn, And/Or Canola Oil), Sugar, Salt, Spice, Dough Conditioner (Wheat Starch, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride, Ammonium Sulfate), Ascorbic Acid
  • Cooking time: 16-20 minutes in the oven
  • Fun Fact: Red Baron began as a pizza sold in local taverns. In 1976, the brand was expanded to grocery retail outlets.
  • Taste: For a frozen pizza, the tasters were impressed by the Buffalo flavor. One described the pizza as “Buffalo sauce on a pizza.”  However, one gripe was that there was no blue cheese.