Well, once again we go out of town (this time to visit the in-laws in Tennessee), and once again we come away with yet another Walmart product. What is it with hillbillies and Walmart? Actually, it has nothing to do with my wife’s hillbilly heritage (a true story, since her grandparents came from the hills of Kentucky) so much as it does with getting the most bang for the buck. Sure, we pass a Kroger along the way, but who in the hell wants to shop there?
Also standard for a Tennessee Walmart visit, we were grabbing some ingredients so my wife could make a delicious dinner for her family. But it’s always hard for us to stay strictly focused on the task at hand…especially when her parents gave us their credit card to grab whatever it was that she needed. Naturally, when it’s on someone else’s dime, we’re going to take advantage of that and grab some unnecessities. Are we bad people, or is it just human nature? (Disclaimer: This was exaggerated for the sake of humor; they really didn’t care and actually encouraged us to do so.)
Craving a snack that was both salty and delicious, I finally settled on a bag of Great Value Glacier Ranch tortilla chips, a take off of the national brand of “cool ranch” chip. (Get it? Glacier ranch, because glacier’s are cold? How clever!) I had actually never tried this brand before, and was eager to see how Walmart’s version stacked up to the original. So curious was I that, in a fit of hunger while impatiently waiting for dinner, I almost immediately opened it upon getting it to our temporary home.
I have to ask: Does Dorito’s hold the patent to the texture of their flavored tortilla chips? One thing store brands seem to get right – not quite exact, but pretty darn close – is the seasoning. Great Value’s version is no different, with a salty base that actually does manage to taste like a ranch seasoning packet, and gives off a certain “cool” tanginess that’s captured in the national brand. Best of all, each chip is covered with a generous dusting of the stuff, meaning you won’t leave wanting more…quite the opposite, actually. It’s pretty tasty and should satisfy those looking for a delicious (and cheaper) alternative to the original.
However, one thing store brands seem to get rather wrong is the texture, and once again, Great Value is no different. The chips are just too…crunchy. And slightly grainy. It’s nothing like the experience of eating the name brand, which is smooth and almost melts in your mouth; in fact, it’s almost like eating a stale national brand chip. It just feels…off. Again, it’s not a huge deal, because it’s something I’ve noticed in other store brands, as well, but it doesn’t make it any less disappointing.
Working in Great Value’s favor, though, is that it lives up to its name, with each 9.75 oz bag retailing for a mere $1.74. That puts it about on par with Aldi’s store brand (which, in the sake of fairness, does offer 1.25 oz. more), making it a delicious alternative that shouldn’t let anyone down looking for a knockoff of one of America’s most popular snack foods.
Overall: 8/10. A tasty knockoff of the popular “cold ranch” flavor of tortilla chip, this one gets the seasoning pretty spot-on, but, like other private label takes, misses the mark on the texture, which is far too crunchy and doesn’t quite melt in your mouth the way the national brand does. There is a generous amount of seasoning, however, and the $1.74 retail price is certainly affordable, putting it on par with similar store offerings from other grocers. If you find yourself craving a salty snack and find yourself within the four walls of a Walmart (god forbid), you shouldn’t be disappointed.