do us a flavor
Credit: © Frito-Lay

Fans of potato chip flavor-creating competitions may have noticed something last year: The world’s premiere – and possibly only – potato chip flavor-creating competition didn’t happen. After running three iterations of its “Do Us a Flavor” competition where amateur potato chip chefs entered new chip flavor ideas for a chance to win a $1 million prize, last year, Lay’s decided to run a “Flavor Swap” promotion instead. Well, Lay’s “Flavor Swap” must have been a “Flavor Flop” (at least for the purposes of giving me a good pun) because, this year, Lay’s is bring back “Do Us a Flavor” for its fourth installment.

This time around, Lay’s has given the competition the reality TV-ready moniker “The Pitch,” asking fans not just for their flavor ideas, but also for the story behind them through a photo, video or written description. Yes, simply having a good idea isn’t enough anymore; now it also helps to have a $700 Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II camera – which in a sad ironic twist is the first thing you’d buy if you had $1 million.

That said, entering is incredibly easy. Just go to and follow the instructions. You type in a name, select from 541 preselected possible ingredients, share what inspired you, customize your bag if you wish, and you’re done. For instance, I created a British flavor called “Lay’s Roasted Monkey Nuts,” inspired by the fact that I am currently eating Tesco Roasted Monkey Nuts. It took about a minute. It’s that easy. Will I win $1 million? I can only assume so!

Entries can be submitted until March 19, at which point “a judging panel made up of chefs, foodies and flavor experts will narrow down the semifinalists to three finalist flavors that will be fully developed by Frito-Lay's culinary experts and brought to market this summer,” according to Lay’s. At that point, a fan vote will determine who takes home the million dollar prize, and if past timelines are an indication, the winner will be announced in the fall.

So how do you win? Well, here’s some advice from a “Do Us a Flavor” expert (that would be me). Don’t pitch Cheesy Garlic Bread, Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger or Southern Biscuits and Gravy: Those were the previous three winners. (Unless, of course, resubmitting previous winner is your bold strategy.) Also, the rest of the most recent 2015 finalists were Kettle Cooked Greektown Gyro, Wavy West Coast Truffle Fries and New York Rueben, so maybe steer clear of those as well. And whatever you do, don’t pitch Roasted Monkey Nuts. That’s my turf, punk! Don’t double cross me!