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Wise Onion Flavored Rings (Big Lots)

I love onion-ring flavored snack “chips”; growing up, the national brand was my favorite, but it was only an occasional treat because they cost so much. I’m now 32, and the national brand is still an occasional treat, because they cost so much (come on, I’m not paying upwards of $4 for junk food). Thankfully, as I’m learning, there are lots and lots of private labels eager to earn the business of hardworking folks like myself, and Wise is one of them.

Wise is actually one of the more well-known brands that I review. It isn’t a private label, and their foods can be found at a variety of places, from Big Lots, to Dollar Tree. But while they may not officially meet the criteria for a “private label” brand, their much lower price points put them in a similar price bracket as the more inexpensive knockoffs.

This particular onion ring avoids taking the “sweet” route, which we have seen from other off-brands; instead, it goes for straight-ahead onion flavor. It’s a little bit of an overload at first, but assuming you can get used to it–and, assuming you really like onion–it gets a little better the farther into the bag you go. Unfortunately, what also gets stronger is the sodium content, which kind of takes away from the main flavor, and throws everything off a bit. In fact, after downing several more than I should have, it wasn’t the onion taste that was lingering in my mouth, but that of salt. Honestly, I think this problem is also inherent with the national brand too, but I still would have liked to have seen it “corrected”.

Visually, these are kind of similar to the national brand, only these rings are much thinner and smaller; it’s kind of strange, because this seems to be the appearance that the vast majority of off-brands share. Is it cheaper and less labor-intensive to make these rings smaller, as opposed to the larger, thicker variety in the main brand? Obviously, the size of the ring doesn’t matter, but I’m just curious and thinking out loud.

Now it’s math time, kids! I can hear collective groaning, but it’s necessary to see if we’re actually saving any money by opting to go for the cheaper option. The size of Wise’s Onion Ring bag, which I picked up at Big Lots for a mere $1 (the original retail price is $1.79) is 3.5 oz. For the sake of comparison, the large bag of the national brand stuff is 6.5 oz., which is slightly less than double Wise’s. Thus, we can compute that it would take a mere two bags of Wise’s onion rings to cover the size of one bag of the national brand, which would give us 7 oz. for just $2; unless you’re a couponer, chances are you won’t be getting the “actual” stuff for that price.

Wise’s attempt at onion rings aren’t without fault, but they provide a tasty little snack at some excellent value, especially if you can catch them at Big Lots stores.

Overall: 7/10. There’s a headlong onion flavor right out of the gates that goes straight for the taste buds, and that can be rather surprising at first, but once you get used to it, it gets a lot more manageable. The only problem is, there’s also a ton of salty flavor, that eventually manages to overpower the onion taste the more you eat, causing the lingering taste of salt to stick around. This is a big turnoff for me (even though, if I recall correctly, the national brand also has the same problem). Value is present, as each 3.5 oz. bag is just $1 at Big Lots stores, meaning you’d just need two of these to cover the size of the large package of the national brand onion ring snacks (with .5 oz. to spare). This would only cost you $2; chances are, short of couponing, you wouldn’t be able to get the real stuff for that price! Worth a look.

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