When is a crisp packet not a crisp packet?

Soylent Green - no thank you

If you’re a keen crisp collector, vintage crisp packets can be quite a draw. But buyer beware, particularly of ‘unused’ crisp packets. It wouldn’t cost very much to print something that looks vintage, so unused packets may not be what they seem. A quick online marketplace search for ‘old crisp packets’, for instance, brought up several instances of “old unused empty Swifts Potato Crisps Co advertising packet” with descriptions such as:

“This is a vintage original unused crisp packet as shown. The design is the same on both sides, it is made from a grease proof type of paper. The age is unknown but based on the 3d price it must be pre 1971 (decimalisation).”

eBay seller

We can find no reference to a Swifts Crisp factory in Durham or anywhere else. These packets may indeed have been created as promotional materials. But we question whether they are pre-1971. [“Net weight 14 Drams” is a bit of a giveaway, too – Ed]

The Swifty brand – tributes to classics

The ‘Swifts Potato Crisps’ name may have been borrowed from a lithograph created by contemporary designer Ian Swift.

You can find Swift’s original here, and there’s a review of Swift’s book here. Swift has created a whole range of faux products that pay affectionate tribute to design classics, including a Swifty milk chocolate bar, Swiftie’s tomato soup and Swifty’s safety matches.

The many imagined flavours of Lay’s

If you want to go down a real rabbit hole of imagined crisp flavours, you will find plenty of bizarre suggestions for Lay’s Do Us a Flavor campaigns. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether they’re real or not, but I really wouldn’t want to try Orange Juice & Toothpaste, or Soylent Green. Here are a few of them:

There’s a great selection of suggestions here. Funnily enough, some of them are not that different from real flavours (Strawberry Shortcake, for instance, or Pumpkin Pie).

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