Feb 09

Do Us a Flavour 1: Builder’s Breakfast

FT8 comments • 932 views

As keen devotees of ephemeral pop cultural trends, you will undoubtedly be aware of Walkers’ new series of flavour combinations, being marketed as “Do Us a Flavour”. The concept being that the flavour suggestions of six ordinary Britons have (out of over a million entries, apparently) been accepted by a judging panel which included celebrity molecular gastronomist Heston Blumenthal. And “only one can stay and become the next great Walkers flavour!” That’s another paradigm you’ll be familiar with. Reality TV meet reality manufacturing.

In the interests, then, of food science, it falls to Freaky Trigger to ask the question: when next we go down to the pub, will ANY of these flavours pass that ultimate test and be selected ahead of ready salted, salt & vinegar or Cheese Moments? I do so love Cheese Moments.

First up, randomly pulled out of a multi-pack bag, comes Builder’s Breakfast. The anthropomorphic graphic that adorns the pack suggests a smiling face of fried eggs, bacon and sausage, with a tomato for a nose. That’s a whole tomato. I can’t claim to be a builder myself, but I’ve had a fair few greasy spoon fry-ups in my time (rather shortening my time, I should say), and a whole tomato has not usually been part of the deal. It may have been chopped in half and fried or grilled. Sometimes it’s just a plum tomato from a can. A lot of the time, it stays on the plate at the end.

So is this what “Emma in Belper” might get were she to venture down to, say, Del’s Diner and ask for a number one set breakfast? The back of the pack suggests buttered toast as another of the key flavours (while omitting any mention of the sausage), and that certainly seems fair, if we’re not allowed to have a fried slice, or even some chips. And where are the beans? They hold a full English together: they are necessary. Surely this is no cooked breakfast fit for anyone, let alone a builder?

We should be thankful at least, that after that minor controversy a few years ago about their advertised salt content, Walkers aren’t serving us porridge with organic honey flavour.

So what is it like? On the nose, a strong smell of bacon, but not much else, to be honest. However, eggs dominate the initial bite, giving way to a very slight hint of tomato. That may be just imagined: you can get away with a lot by using a bit of suggestion. “Buttered toast” flavour may have been a bit of overreach, though: I’m not buying that, unless the eggs have been mopped up by it before that first bite. The interesting thing is that when the packet is gone and has been accidentally knocked on the floor by the next round of beers, the bacon flavour starts to assert itself. It’s a definite aftertaste, and it doesn’t go away quickly.

They’re not, then, unpleasant to eat. But a builder’s breakfast? Well, having polished off a packet, my girlfriend asked me to brush my teeth before she’d let me kiss her. So perhaps they can be called successful?


  1. 1
    Brack on 4 Feb 2009 #

    I thought they tasted like an McMuffin, with the egg dominating to the point I was still tasting it 3 hours later. Clever flavouring, but not something I ever want to eat again.

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 4 Feb 2009 #

    We will be inviting other FT writers to chip in (see what I did there) with the other reviews. I’m not forcing Ewan to write (or indeed eat) all of them!

    Here’s what some Americans thought of them:

  3. 3
    Ewan on 4 Feb 2009 #

    The flavour really does linger, rather too long. I don’t want to spoiler my other opinions (I definitely have something to say about fish & chips, and I’m working up something about the chilli & chocolate too), but the Builder’s Breakfast is starting to seem like one of the better ones.

  4. 4
    Geoff on 4 Feb 2009 #

    We did a blind taste test in the office – six plates, six packets of crisps, everyone had a go at guessing which flavour was supposed to which. Very few people got more than two right, even the winner only got 4. Which goes to show the power of suggestion from what’s on the front of the packet (or my office is entirely staffed by people with unusually unsensitive taste buds). The only one almost everyone got was chilli & chocolate

  5. 5
    A newly-registered but logged-out Katie on 4 Feb 2009 #

    I just tried some Onion Bhaji crisps, as I thought they’d go nicely with my lunchtime samosa – they smelt of stale curry powder, tasted of SALT, and had a lingering aftertaste of dehydrated onion. Meh.

  6. 6
    The Lurker on 8 Feb 2009 #

    This afternoon my girlfriend, her sisters and mum and I had a tasting session of all six of the new flavours. Builder’s Breakfast was unanimously considered the worst – the taste of dried egg predominated and this was not a good thing. No one wanted more than one crisp!

  7. 7
    Tom on 10 Feb 2009 #

    The Builders Breakfast is all my work canteen stocks, so I tried a packet. Unlike some here I didn’t mind the flavour, but – maybe it was just the suggestive packaging – the crisps seemed a great deal greasier than normal.

  8. 8
    Bex on 14 Feb 2009 #

    I tried this packet of crisps and they were lovely! We just can’t let this flavour slip right out of our fingers. Vote for it, you know you want them!

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