REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special K Popcorn Chips (Butter & Sweet and Salty)

Special K Popcorn Chips

I had to call my cable company regarding some serious internet connectivity issues over the weekend. For those of you who have ever had the misfortune of having to contact your cable provider for any reason, I don’t have to tell you that it was a long, tedious process, fraught with drama. There was shouting, pleading, whining, and some profanity, and that was before I even spoke to a person. The automated system kept misinterpreting my voice commands, putting me on hold, and then kicking me out to the main menu in an endless loop of broken promises.

What kept me sane in those terrible moments before I finally broke through to an actual human being? Some crispy, corn-based snacks in the form of geometric shapes. Special K’s new Popcorn Chips are crunchy baked snacks that taste like tortilla chips but look like Styrofoam triangles. And they are the one thing that kept me from crossing completely over from blissful, crunchy serenity waiting on hold for 20 minutes to completely losing my shit on some innocent customer service representative who probably hates their job as much as I hate their company’s chirpy, ad-filled phone queue soundtrack.

Special K Popcorn Chips are made from corn (natch), and they taste like it. However, I never got the sensation of eating popcorn. It was more like I was eating tortilla chips. By referring to these thingies as “Popcorn Chips,” Special K may have wanted to emphasize how their snacks are baked and are similar in texture to Pop Chips. Like Pop Chips, Special K Popcorn Chips are low in fat and present a healthier option for those in need of a crunchy, convenient snack. Unlike Pop Chips, they have no association with Ashton Kutcher. See? Special K Popcorn Chips are already winning at life. They also appear thick enough to withstand some dipping as well, so if you’re curious as to whether a Popcorn Chip mixes with ranch dressing or nacho cheese and don’t care about fat, have at it.

Special K Popcorn Chips Closeup

I sampled two flavors of Special K Popcorn Chips: “Sweet and Salty” and “Butter.” Sweet and Salty was the chip flavor that kept me from crossing over into the Danger Zone during my telephone adventure. They’re very lightly sweetened, which makes their flavor profile a bit more complex than I first expected it to be. The sweetness mingles nicely with the saltiness, which provides a pleasantly addictive snacking experience. It makes me glad a single serving size of these Popcorn Chips is 28 chips and not something more restrictive and ridiculous like 10. But let’s not kid ourselves, I could totally go to town on these and eat half the box. What can I say? I like crunchy snacks… especially if the crunching drowns out the umpteenth repetition of some perky bimbo’s invitation to ask my customer service agent for more information on bundling telephone service with HD cable and high-speed internet.

The butter-flavored Special K Popcorn Chips, on the other hand, are actually pretty nasty. Special K… if you’re going to go so far as to create a corn snack reminiscent of POPCORN, you really need to hit the mark with the BUTTER-FLAVORED ones. It’s not rocket science. Just use the fake butter everyone else uses on microwave popcorn. Duh. The disturbingly rank artificial butter flavoring is so strong that it comes off tasting more like fake cheese than butter. And I don’t mean the good fake cheese. This is terrible fake cheese. Like the kind that comes in off-brand, plastic dip cups with stale cracker sticks, which would somehow always be lurking in the office break room at the bottom of the kitchen “snack bowl”… dusty and ignored for what seems like centuries. I’m so glad I didn’t try the Butter Popcorn Chips while on the phone. You’d all have heard about the first-ever long-distance throttling via fiber-optics on the morning news. A real triumph of science. For me, not for the cable company.

Special K Popcorn Chips Single Chip

The Butter Popcorn Chips don’t look all that differently from the Sweet and Salty ones, but you can actually see the fine dusting of “butter” seasoning on each chip. The inherent popcorn flavor of the Butter Popcorn Chips is overpowered by the funky fake cheese flavoring, so I can’t help but wish that they’d toned it down a bit. I don’t know what kind of butter they were thinking about when they created this variety, but it was probably left out in the sun for a while. It tastes like a foot. The butter’s gone bad.

Special K Popcorn Chips are crunchy and flavorful. It’s just too bad that only one flavor is good. They made a serious error with the Butter Popcorn Chips, but I’m not about to give them a call to complain about it. At least not without the Sweet and Salty Popcorn Chips within snacking distance.

(Nutrition Facts – 28 chips (28g) – Butter – 120 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Sweet and Salty – 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Kellogg’s Special K Popcorn Chips (Butter & Sweet and Salty)
Purchased Price: $2.89
Size: 4.5 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Butter)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Sweet and Salty)
Pros: “Sweet and Salty” lives up to its name. Nice crisp texture. Decent serving size. Low in fat.
Cons: Butter flavor is extremely artificial-tasting and gross. Foot-flavored snacks. Waiting on hold. Ashton.

14 thoughts to “REVIEW: Kellogg’s Special K Popcorn Chips (Butter & Sweet and Salty)”

  1. I have to concur with the taste of the Butter flavor. I purchased one box each of the Sweet and Salty and Butter flavors. Unfortunately I started with the Butter flavor.

    Despite the sell-by date’s indicating that the product was good until March of 2013, the flavor was so stale and old, that it should have been 1913.

    The texture of the chips was crunchy enough, so I’m reasonably sure that the product was stored properly. It was the flavor that was so objectionable.

    I took back the unused portion, along with the unopened box and returned them back to Publix. Publix is really customer focused when it comes to returning items as such, but I can’t say the same of Kellogg’s. I called their toll free number to register my comments, thinking that they might make a peace offering in the way of a coupon or some such, but all they said was “Thanks for your feedback, have a nice day.”

    This was not what I expected. Maybe they’ve become “Too large to care.”

  2. We haven’t tried these yet, but they look pretty much like all of the rest of the new popped corn chips – Poptillas, Chip’ins, Pop Corners, PopChips now has a corn version – either way, for the most part we are not the biggest fans of the trend or the products…..

    The Sweet & Salty does sound like it would be the far better flavor!

    Thanks for the review.

    1. I tried Pop Corners first a couple of months ago and instantly fell in love with them (specifically the Kettle flavor). Unfortunately I could only find them in a Fairway supermarket that I don’t have easy access to so while looking online for places that had them I ran across this review for the Kellog’s version. I found the preferred “sweet and salty” flavor in a Stop n Shop and found them to be similar to the Kettle flavor (having had Pop Corners first I felt Kellog’s was trying to sweep into a new market with a bigger name and pretend to have been first) but they didn’t excite me. A week later I was able to get back to the Fairway and grabbed the Pop Corners brand again and I was right they are FAR FAR FAR superior to the Kellog’s version. They have more flavor, tasted fresher(there was a mild but distracting aftertaste in the Kellog’s chips), had better texture, and were larger per chip. They were also cheaper. So I’d say skip Kellog’s version of these chips and try to get your store to look into Pop Corners.

  3. Just bit into a butter flavor special k popcorn chip and it is truly awful. Not sure I will be able to bring myself to try the Sweet and Salty ones after that, but I suppose I can thank Kellogg’s for helping me keep cross one more snack food off my list.

  4. I think the first reviewers must work for or have a lot of stock in Kellogs. I tried them and they are awful. They don’t taste like popcorn and the butter taste, well let’s just say if they used that butter on my popcorn at the movies I would demand my money back. Anybody that thinks it tastes like buttered popcorn should have their taste buds checked. They don’t chew up like a cracker. You just keep chewing and hope they finally disolve so you can swallow them. I bought two boxes thinking the ad made them look so good I wanted to make sure they weren’t sold out before I could get back to the store to get more. They are both going into the trash. My wife won’t eat them and my dog took a couple of chews and spit it out. In my opinion Kelloggs should have done a better job in test marketing this product. Give the test subject a piece of buttered popcorn and one of their crackers and tell them which tastes better. Then ask them how close their product tastes like buttered popcorn. Then ask them if eating a handfull would remind them of going to a movie theater. I think the response would surprise them. Or maybe not. Maybe they know how bad they taste and they are just trying to get rid of a large stock of a bad product. On a scale of 1 to 10 for a snack I would say a -1.

  5. I love the sweet and salty flavor. I ate a whole box in a day. The texture is slightly more puffed than the chip’ins. I love the mild salty paired with the more dominate sweet (not overly sweet). I have not tried the butter flavor, but I can assume the same as most butter flavor snacks, ultimately are not the best. The Sweet and salty though; especially if you have mild-ish tastebuds, amazing! My favorite.

  6. I agree…the butter flavored chips are horrible, unfortunately they were on sale this week and I bought 2 boxes and I through it out after trying 1 chip. The sweet and salty chips are pretty good. I was looking for a replacement for Chip ‘ins (Popcorn Indiana product…also popcorn chips) because I can’t find those in every store. I also like those better because they are not sweet (sea salt flavor). If you haven’t tried them yet and you liked the sweet and salty Special K popcorn chips, then I highly recommend giving them a try. So far, I can only find them at Walmart and my local employee owned grocery store. Walgreens carried them for a little while and you can order directly from Popcorn Indiana but you have to order a case of 8 and it’s a sample pack and that’s too many bags for me!

  7. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one that thinks this! I tried the buttery version and I literally almost immediately threw up. I eat low-fat things all the time so I know what to usually expect and I thought these were just terrible. I can’t imagine they’ll be selling them for long because they’ll never have repeat customers!

  8. I tried the Butter flavor Popcorn chips from Special K. My first thought was too salty. I hate it when companies try and hide lack of flavor with extra salt. Is it too much to ask for a low fat, low calorie and low salt snack?

  9. I only live 30 miles from Kelloggs! I am a professional chef and they should hire me! The butter flavored ones taste like crap and have a strong chemical taste. My 9 year old (who eats anything) was disgusted. I’m afraid to waste money on other flavors.

  10. I picked up two boxes today at the 99cent store near me. (Don’t ask me how much-LOL). The sweet and salty are awesome. Glad I read the reviews about the butter flavor.

    But, I have to say that I never would have purchased these at their retail price in any store…way too expensive. So, this was a lucky find today.

    I’m thinking about going back to buy the other several dozen boxes that are still there…uh oh!

  11. Funny because I am eating the Butter ones right now, and I actually like them. I agree that it doesn’t actually taste like butter or popcorn, but I still like them. I’m not very critical i guess -_- I definitely need to give the Sweet and Salty ones a try though!

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