Blog, Food, It Came from Canada — November 4, 2013 11:06 am

It Came From Canada: Grape Potato Chips?

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Canada is known for some unusual foods, especially unusual potato chip flavors—ketchup chips anyone? We’ve grown to accept ketchup as the wackiest chip flavour around these parts, but in addition to ketchup there were also fruit flavored chips. I wish I were joking.

Made on the Intellivision.

Canada’s Hostess Potato Chips were the leading potato chip brand in Canada during my childhood and well before that. If you were getting a bag of chips from the grocery store, chances were that you picked up a nice Salt & Vinegar variety with a little yellow critter on the bag (these were the Hostess Munchies, which always reminded me of the Kodak Film mascots).


If you purchased a small bag of chips at the gas station, bowling alley, from a vending machine, or even from your school, it was Hostess. You collected the little cards they stuffed inside the bags and maybe you even had the little stuffed Munchies mascots at home.

You might not believe that Hostess was such a big deal, but they had quite a big impact on the potato chip industry. Think of your three main flavors: Regular, BBQ, and Salt & Vinegar. What colors did you imagine the bags? Blue for Regular, Red for BBQ, and Yellow for Salt & Vinegar? You have Hostess to thank for that. Other brands adopted the color scheme after realizing how recognizable Hostess made their brand.

The Munchies Play Super Mario Bros.? I didn’t win a damned thing on those scratch cards.

A few years before my time, Hostess embarked on a wacky mission to introduce fruit-flavored chips around 1978/1979. There was Orange, Cherry, and Grape. Reports online state that the chips tasted like they were covered in Kool-Aid powder. As I’m sure you can imagine, these lasted mere months on the shelves before the new flavors were scrapped. There’s rumors of a fourth unreleased flavour, Apple-Cinnamon, which I could have got behind. Hostess isn’t all crazy, though. They introduced the beloved Canadian staple of Ketchup, as well as Dill Pickle and Sour Cream & Onion. Other flavors not produced anymore include Pizza, Roasted Chicken, Sour Cream & Bacon, and oh yes, Hot Dog.

Michael Jackson for Hostess? Well, not quite.

Hostess ended up merging with Frito-Lay in the late 1980s and was then under the full ownership of PepsiCo in 1992. Things chugged along decently for a bit until all those super crunchy fancy chips came on the market, you know the ones that cut up the insides of your mouth but are hella good? This made plain ol’ Hostess chips look bad and they began their fade into obscurity.

Hostess Potato Chips are still manufactured, but only so Frito Lay can maintain its trademark. These are also difficult to find, unless you’re shopping in a lower-end grocery store in Canada (which I do).

So there you have some potato chip history from the Great White North. Although, word to the wise—skip the ketchup chips and just dip your regular chips in ketchup.

Have you tried fruit-flavored chips? Or any other “weird” flavors? Leave us a comment below!


  • Holy eye opener into an entirely new world. LOL.I never knew Hostess made chips – let alone all the flavors and stuffed animals that went along with it. Sour Cream and Bacon sounds frakking amazing. Too bad they discontinued it. I’m also impressed they had a commercial tied in with Mario Bros. Fun read!

  • Nerd Out With Me Hostess Chips was completely separate from Hostess treats.

  • Nerd Out With Me I think they also had Pizza Flavour, Dill Pickel and Roast Chicken if I remember correctly  The fruit flavoured chips had a weird sheen to them like the flavour was sprayed on.

  • JeffreyScott1 Nerd Out With Me Dill pickle and roast chicken are still available. Lay’s bought Hostess so they’re under that brand now. Roast chicken was only available in Newfoundland for a long time, if I recall.
    I do remember the pizza flavour, but only recalled them after you mentioned it. I think they just dumped all the left over flavouring on them and called it pizza.

    We’ve got some new weird flavours too. My favourite is the maple poutine ones from President’s Choice.

  • Summer of 78 I ate so many bags of Grape flavour Hostess Chips…It was like eating chips and drinking grape pop at the same time

  • I remember the Orange and Grape flavored chips from my childhood. Never actually ate them because honestly, who would? And I can’t for the life of me ever remember seeing them in the stores. Ever. I ‘d just see an empty bag where somebody dropped it.

    But yeah Lays were, at the time, seen as the inferior brand. Until the 90’s when they went on a slick marketing campaign and suddenly became the chip of choice. It was the same thing that happened when Carling Black Label was relaunched as a hip beer with a slick marketing campaign and suddenly people were drinking it all over the place when before it was just a bargain brand.

    Although you can’t find Hostess chips everywhere, you can still find them in come Price Choppers and Food Depots. Or you can find the Hickory Sticks just about everywhere. That’s the only Hostess brand that is still sold in major supermarkets and corner stores the country over.

  • I remember having those pizza chips but not the fruit flavoured ones. Those would be interesting.

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