Humor by Chason Gordon. See below.

Why No Ketchup Chips, America?

Some people wonder about the main difference between Canada and the U.S. You may point to the structure of government, the tax system, or the weather, but I can simplify it to one thing: ketchup chips.

The U.S. is the most snack laden country on the planet. Every shape possible has been sprinkled with flavor dust and shoved into polyethylene bags. The chip aisle is often the longest in any grocery store and many Americans have a hard time enjoying a sandwich or a hot dog unless there are chips lining the plate.

So why is it that the flavor which has most defined the United States has eluded their cherished and lucrative snack industry? Americans put ketchup on all sorts of things: burgers, potatoes, eggs (why?), whatever needs that extra sweet red kick. The ketchup bottle is more likely to be found on a kitchen table than silverware or dishes. Yet these two prized things – ketchup and chips – have never been united in this country (perhaps they can’t put egos aside and work together).

I live in the U.S. (as a dual citizen – suck it Canadian friends!) and search for them high and low. I write letters to Frito Lay and Doritos begging them to consider expanding their flavor kingdom into the wonderful waters of ketchup. I’ve tried making my own ketchup chips at home by drying ketchup and grating it onto plain chips, but all I wind up with is a big bowl of wrong.

Like many expatriate Canadians living near the border, I often drive up to Canada ostensibly to see friends or visit family when in reality I am seeking only the kind warm embrace of a bag of ketchup chips. Whenever the border guard asks me upon returning, “Did you purchase anything in Canada?,” I respond (as I have hundreds of times) with “ketchup chips,” pointing him to a trunk that looks like I won a ketchup chip prize on a game show.

You’re probably wondering what my brand is; you’re probably thinking: “Okay Chason, I’m an American, I have a car, I can drive to Canada. What bag should I purchase?” Sadly, you’ve already gone wrong there. For you see the brand to purchase is Old Dutch (sorry Canadian Frito Lay), but you do not purchase them in the standard polyethylene bags with the shiny gleam and bright colors. You buy only the boxed Old Dutch ketchup chips with two clear plastic bags inside, even if you have go from one store to another. It may sound silly to suggest that there is a superiority of taste in the boxed packaging, but this is simply the truth.

The boxes do not merely house a better product, they have better packaging and can be decoratively stacked in your apartment when you’re finished. They hearken to an old time in Canada, a time before the harsh efficiency of polyethylene bags, a time before snack products needed prizes or pictures of hockey players to draw you in, a time when a product was just successful because it was good, not because it had been branded cleverly. That is everything that comes to mind when you bite into a ketchup chip from an Old Dutch box, though the nirvana of flavor pushes these thoughts to a subconscious level where they wait for your dreams.

Of course, this is not the only new snack experience that awaits Americans over the border. Canada also has a product called Cheezies (“Made with real Canadian cheese!”) which puts Cheetos to shame, forever relegating them to a distant second place like a hockey championship between Canada and the U.S. (oh I went there). And sitting in the candy bar section, like a chewy Canadian hero, is the Eatmore bar, which is less a candy bar than a journey into the great toffee yonder.

This is Canada (it was really hard to get them to stand still).

Nothing defines a country more than its snacks, for they are the littlest of the little things that make up life, and are often how we spend our nights, sitting marooned on a sofa holding the bag as if it was an old dog that died years ago. So when I say there is a superior product up north, I do not do so with any arrogance or raged sense of Canadian nationalism; I merely mention it with the spirit of the original North American Free Trade Agreement. I want to bring our countries together and engender a better world where communication and trade and snacks flow freely.

In this dream an American will not have to stretch his arm over the border to grab from the proverbial bowl of ketchup chips, because sitting on his lap, in America, will be his own.

Other recent articles:

Crackers Should Stop Trying to Be Chips – Paste Magazine
An Inside Look at Trader Joe’s Notorious Canadian Knock-Off – Seattle Weekly
You Can Buy a Ticket to Space in Gig Harbor – Seattle Weekly
Thanksgiving is About More than Turkey, I Think – Literally Humor
McGinn: Decent Docent – City Arts

Chason Gordon
Copyright 2013

66 comments on “Why No Ketchup Chips, America?


    Herrs makes ketchup flavored chips (specifically Heniz Ketcup chips), sold in PA, NJ and parts of NY that I have seen.

    • Kiki

      The kind Herr’s makes compared to the kind Lays makes in Canada is different. Herr’s tastes cheap. This was a great read. I was talking to a friend and telling him how Ketchup chips were so hard to find here and that Coffee Crisp was sooo much better than their version.

  2. Blaze

    Lol im canadien im lucky execpt i love lays!!!! U r prob thr biggest ketchup chip fan

  3. adbearrobe

    I luv and miss my Old Dutch Ketchup chips….and I also heat Ketchup mini rice cakes. Dill Pickle chips are also hard to find, at least in the Southwest.

    • Pepper

      We have Dill Pickle chips everywhere here in Miami! -^_^- I still miss ketchup chips the most… 😥

  4. adbearrobe

    thats HEART ketchup minis

  5. Des

    I sooo agree! Old Dutch Ketchup is much better… you can buy Kernels KETCHUP seasoning from walmart and sprinkle them on popcorn and plain chips… I have done that when Ketchup chip deprived. They are also missing Cherry Blossoms down there… soooo sad!

  6. Sy

    I am from Hawaii and am not a potato chip lover. Except for ketchup chips! I shamelessly have asked any friend or co-workers traveling to Canada to bring me some. And I have told co-workers I will not share them around the office. I, too, don’t understand why two very American things are not available here. I am eating some as we speak thanks to a co-worker. Keep up the campaign!

  7. kirsten

    lol i love canada 🙂 ketchup…..nom nom nom 🙂

  8. Dan

    Finally someone that may love Ketchup chips as much as me!!! I wonder if we can sign a petition to get the chips in the US…or just start a black market for them…

    • micki

      I”ll sign and get more signatures !!

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  12. Katherine

    I traveled to the states last summer and we found HOTDOG flavored chips, but no ketchup ones 😦 I didn’t realize Americans don’t have Cheezies either, you poor depraved souls!

  13. do you Agree

    Hi there, You have done a great job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m sure they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  14. Greg

    Ever consider eating fruit or veggies? I’m sure there are a lot bigger issues to consider then the lack of ketchup chips in th US. You are and idiot.

    • FaggotGreg

      Perhaps you should be trying to go solve these problems then, instead of commenting on a blog, you dumb nigger.

      • YouDeservedItGreg


    • Yupgregsucks

      Wow ya he really is a prick. But in a way there are bigger problems, like no all dressed chips.

  15. harvey

    Frito lay IS an American company……not a Canadian one

    • Thepointwasketchupchips

      Not the point

    • Gustav

      He knows that. He was talking about the Canadian subsidiary of Frito-lay which formed by purchasing Hostess (not the Twinkie company, the Canadian chip company) years ago.

  16. Lisa

    I just discovered ketchup chips (Lays brand) during a recent visit to Canada. Tried them on a whim and LOVE them. OMG! They are sooooo good. Bought a couple extra bags for the drive back to the US and wish I would have bought more. Though I’ll be flying home to California soon I am more than willing to stuff more bags in my luggage. Now that I think about it maybe it’s a good thing they aren’t available near me…..I might gain another 20 lbs inhaling those chips.

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  18. Val

    I lived in Canada for 10+ years and I fell in love with Old Dutch Ketchup Chips. When I moved back to Hong Kong 9 years ago the one thing I missed most is Old Dutch Ketchup Chips!!! Last time I went back to visit friends and family I filled my largest luggage bag (which is huge) with Old Dutch Ketchup Chips and when I went through Hong Kong customs they looked at me like I was crazy! Wait till you tried a chip and you will know but you are NOT getting any from my precious collection!!!!

  19. RJ

    Cheezies and eatmore bars rule ketchup can go south no loss

  20. Gustav

    FYI, Sobeys now has “Extra Flavour” Ketchup chips and Presidents Choice has “Loads O’ Flavour” Ketchup chips. You can’t even see the chip, they’re so coated with Ketchup seasoning.

  21. Jk

    An Eat-More is a chocolate bar. Canadians don’t say candy bar.

  22. brenda

    Don’t forget about Smarties. Yum.

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  25. Chelsea terry

    I want to cry everytime I think of ketchup chips. I am a Canadian living in Florida. I have family up in canada sending them whenever they can. No one can visit without bringing a few boxes with them. I remember Pringles’ attempt at ketchup chips and it was a disgrace. All I’m asking for is a quality snack in the states. I say Americans are missing out.

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  29. DH

    What a great article! I was reduced to tears at your description of crossing the border with a car jam packed with ketchup chips.


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  31. Peter Gaseoustania

    I don’t know why everyone thinks they’re not available in the U.S. They are difficult to find, yes, but not impossible. Walmart used to have them for a time.

    The thing to remember is that product marketing depends largely on demographics. This means one store in your town could carry a certain product, whilst the same store brand in another part of town may not. It all depends on who is shopping there, and what they’re buying.

    Keep looking and, if all else fails, you can buy ketchup chips online. 🙂

    • Fox Mulder

      what you found is not ketchup chips but spicy ketchup chips, they are not the same.

  32. Kellie Mooney

    OMG I agree completely! While yes I am American I discovered Lays ketchup chips in Canada – which are everywhere! I was so excited only to find out not sold in US stores. I am dumbfounded! All the strange flavors especially recently?? And still no ketchup…?

  33. Chau

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  34. Leslie

    American Ketchup and Canadian Ketchup taste very different. Is the taste more remnecient of American or Canadian ketchup?

    Both sound gross to me lol, but I don’t think I could bring myself to try Canadian flavored ketchup chips.

    Side note: kind of offended that you think Americans are more likely to have ketchup on their tables than dishes or silverware lol. I’m not sure which Americans you been spending time with, but I think it may be your friends and not the rest of us. 😉

  35. Adora

    Americans don’t need ketchup chips , another thing for their fat asses to sit and munch on all day . Obesity is common in the states .. The least they need is more junk

  36. Anonie

    I am not Canadian nor have I been there. I haven’t tried Ketchup chips, Cheezies or eatmore bars. But I heard about them and it makes me want to try it! Readning about this makes me want to try them even more badly! I live in California. Please bring these snacks here. I’m dying to try them all! Ugh.

  37. Scott WB

    Herr’s is an American company that makes Ketchup chips under the Heinz label. So Ketchup chips are pretty easy to find, just not Lays Ketchup Chips. And Lays are overrated anyway. They have less flavour added than other brands. Aside from Ruffles, Lays does nothing for me. – Canadian

    • Scott WB

      What I meant was aside from their Ruffles brand, Lays does nothing for me, I’m not saying that Ruffles isn’t a Lays product… Just clearing that up before someone tells me that Ruffles is a Lays product, LOL

  38. Heidi

    Oh my! This just totally cracked me up and my curiosity is raging. Main problem being that I am as far South as you can get. South Florida.

    I discovered Herrs chips (sorry thats all I’ve ever had the opportunity to try) here in Florida quite a few years back and just as they appeared they quickly disappeared but my unusual craving for them did not. Years later and after checking store after store from here to Virginia on numerous family vacations….we went further North and there they were in New Jersey. Sweet victory! My husband could not stop laughing at me as he knows I never eat chips, but the empty bags of chips were a testament to my new found obsession. Really weird is the fact that I also never eat ketchup. Hmmmmm can we say weirdo?

    Anyway….I figured I would stock up for the ride home, etc….and thinking they must be more available again my husband asked me to wait for a stop on the drive home. Well bad idea…..nada! Now down here in Florida we have every chip known to man and many unknown as well. For example….Dill pickle chips, crawfish flavored chips, barbeque rib chips;hot dog flavored chips and now even Spicy Mustard…but NO ketchup.

    I actually came upon your article in my quest to locate some place in Florida that carries them but it’s not looking good. 😦

    I wonder if Herrs ships and now thinking about my first trip to Canada. Funny that we were actually in talks to go to Niagara Falls next…..hmmmmm I wonder if hubby wants to take a drive for a bag of chips?

    Good luck on your battle to bring them to the states. Where do I sign?

  39. Bobby Ross

    Pussies eat ketchup, real men eat Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce

  40. Blake

    i aime puces de ketchup! I LOVE YOU KETCHUP CHIPS!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!! When I was growing up in Montreal, I never recall trying any other types of chips, other than THE Lay’s Ketchup chips. These chips made me grow hatred towards other chips; it’s not my fault, no other chips are even remotely as delicious, imo. It sucked me into it’s sweet, tangy, delicious, mouthwatering goodness!! I live in the NW States now and whenever I get a chance to go to Vancouver, I scoop a few dozen bags. 2 days later….gained a few lbs and the pantry is empty 😦 At least poutine is slowly becoming prominent around here…Is it like the Quebec poutine!? … lol, hell no, but still pretty good.

  41. Robyn

    I moved to the states 4 1/2 years ago. I absolutely miss old Dutch ketchup chips as well as hickory sticks. I haven’t found anything close here and I too travel to get my fix (visit family)!

  42. gigi

    Just discovered ketchup chips in Canada and brought some home.
    They are available on Amazon too.

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  44. carrie-ann

    Omg i love these chips!! Thank God for my Canadian friend who brings these to me!!! I so wish we had these here!! I have a small handful left from the lastbbag she brought me. Trying to make them last. Seriously wish we had them here in the USA!!!!

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  47. Soleil

    Awesome loved the descriptions

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  49. Jeremy Boyle

    Agreed. Old Dutch chips are amazing. The can’t even hold a candle to anything else.

  50. N. Dyson

    While in Jasper Park this summer we saw, tried and I Really Really liked the flavor of the Lays Ketchup chips. Recently I went to Safeway here in Washington State, which Yes, had a Whole Isle dedicated to Chips, and Never Ever Saw any Ketchup Chips. So I chose to Google them instead of running here and there trying to locate them. I was Very Surprised to have NOT been able to find them, thus reading the saddness of only being in Canada. Will I then be forced to drive the miles to the boarder to locate them? Hopefully U.S. will get either the Smarts to bring them in or the boarder patrols will be seeing bags & bags of Ketchup Chips coming back over to the U.S. when More people like me have fallen into the taste clutches of Lays Ketchup chips.

  51. Richard Miron

    The reason the ketchup chips are better in an Old Dutch box is because the boxes contain all the original Old Dutch flavours while a bag of Old Dutch contains the flavours of Humpty Dumpty from when Old Dutch bought out Humpty Dumpty.

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  53. Kaye Hickman

    Why do we not have the option to buy Lays ketchup potatoe chips in our grocery stores in South Carolina? I would love to be able to buy them.

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  55. Sysau

    I missed ketchup flavored chips all over latin america when i was polishing my spanish skills 🙂

    My uncle missed them in North Africa, China and Russia !!!

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