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Sunday
Aug172014

Quest Protein Chips

Long known for providing the world with one of the highest-quality protein bars (using whey), at the same time supplying nice taste, Quest is now moving into whatever you want to call the snack/chip category. I wasn’t sure the world was asking for a protein chip. But now that one has arrived, let’s find out whether Quest knows chips like they do bars!

Quest Protein Chips exist in three flavors: BBQ, Sea Salt and Cheddar & Sour Cream. Anne and I taste-tested the three packets sent me, over the course of two evenings. Last night was before dinner, with chilled white wine. Tonight was after dinner, with cold beer (me alone; both of us last night). Certainly many CrossFit athletes aren’t going to wash their Protein Chips down with beer or wine, but the occasions do present themselves. Chips, wine and beer end up in the lives of many hard-working CrossFit athletes on occasion! Why not add some protein to that equation?

Last night we prepared fresh guacamole, thinking it would work well with the chips, but they proved better by themselves. White wine and beer both are fine with the protein chips; I favor them with wine, but I like wine with everything! First up was Sea Salt, and it proved to be the least satisfying. The initial hit to our taste buds was good, but the flavor disappeared while we were chewing, and what remained was unsatisfying (not bad at all, but not great) basic chip stuff in our mouths.

Cheddar & Sour Cream is good, surprisingly so, as this isn’t a flavor of chip I’d ever purchase. To some extent the taste remained longer and seemed imbedded rather than dusted on the chip. Could be imagination; we only had one small ( 1 1/8 oz) package of each flavor to work with.

BBQ is our favorite. In my world it’s hard to go against BBQ anything, actually, but Quest did a fine job with this protein chip. 

The big question I’m already getting, after posting on Facebook last night about doing this, regards whether these chips are a gimmick or possibly a real competitor in the potato chip arena. Of course, I’m not privy to the marketing meetings held at Quest determining this was a logical food market to move into, but let’s pretend we know the answers. I doubt Quest wants to go head-to-head with Doritos or Frito-Lay; that would be madness. But in the dollar-laden CrossFit world, there are no protein chips to compete with. The highly-competitive protein bar market is one Quest is comfortable and well-known in. Marketing and distribution and retail infrastructure is already in place.

And do CrossFit and Paleo and Zone people enjoy snacking! Yeah, they sure do. Witness all the Paleo/Zone cupcakes and cheescakes and cookies and other snacks; they are everywhere. Facebook is heavy with them. Whether all this crap is a good idea or not is a different discussion. But as a marketing move, in a niche field, a good Protein Chip from Quest seems to be a decision with vision.

So they taste pretty good. But what the hell is in a Quest Protein Chip? Protein is the first ingredient (it’s a blend, yes, of milk and whey isolate). Dried potatoes come next, followed by Corn Starch, with Sunflower Oil next in line. Nobody is trying to fool anyone here; there’s a laundry list of flavorings, extracts, cheese, salt, color in 2% of the contents. But the proportions allow the sweet 5 grams of carbs and 21 grams of protein in each 1 1/8 oz bag. For a chip that manages to taste good, this ratio is stunning.

I’m a long-time (3+ years) fan of Quest Protein Bars. They’re a standard part of my grocery shopping, and a life-saver at various odd times. I don’t often eat chips, and Tostitos Hint of Lime chips remain my every-six-weeks go-to, but Quest impresses me with their Protein Chips. I’d spend my money on them, and will on the occasions I see them at an event or in a retail store. 

As they do with their bars, Quest sells their Protein Chips by the box through their website. You can subscribe for regular shipments, as well. 

@QuestNutrition, @tostitos, 

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