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O'Grady's Au Gratin chips - remake?

I just purchased a bag of Ruffles Thick Cut Cheddar Baked Potato chips and immediately was struck by how much they remind me of O'Grady's Au Gratin chips. Although it has been many years since they disappeared, this Ruffles flavor brought back what is seared into my taste-memory for O'Grady's Au Gratin potato chips.

I wanted to get opinions from other 'hounders who remember O'Grady's and have tried this variety of Ruffles. If anything, I remember that O'Grady's may have been even thicker than the Ruffles but that doesn't detract from the taste.

I remember being really mystified as to why this product just disappeared from the shelves when my friends and I could not get our parents to buy them fast enough. Maybe, they are back.

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  1. I bought the Ruffles Thick Cut Cheddar Baked Potato chips for the sole reason - that hopefully I would be biting into a piece of my childhood in the form of a thick-cut cheddar-flavored potato chip. And my goodness, these ruffles sure do bring me back! I agree with the thickness of the chips, they don't seem to be as thick as the original O'Grady's, but they do have a lot of the same tasty color and flavor characteristics. I too was left mystified when they disappeared off the shelves! I hope that these Ruffles are here to stay.

    1. Its funny you mention O'Gragy's Au Gratin Chips. They were the best. I was very disappointed when they stopped selling. these new Ruffles remind me of them. I cant finf the new ruffles on the shelf. were they just a promotion.

      2 Replies
      1. re: maytag

        Unfortunately, the storms in the Midwest wiped out much of the potato crops. Believe it or not , the last month or so Lays and Ruffles have been on very short supply. Some of the products (Some flavored Lays, Reduced fat Ruffles, natural Ruffles and Lays, and last but not least thick Cut Ruffles) have not been supplied at all. These products should be starting to be shipped shortly.

        1. re: chipman

          I have been searching high and low for Reduced Fat Ruffles, thank you for the info. We used to love O'Gradys, when we moved out of Manhattan and back to the West Coast I thought it was a regional product, I tried the thick cut Ruffles and they rocked!!!!!!!!!! We need to let Frito Lay know.

      2. They appear to have been a limited run! I have been looking for them for the last two months to no avail (at least here in Toronto).

        6 Replies
        1. re: buttertartz

          Read my post above and you will see the reason. Things are getting back to normal slower than anticipated. However, I don't know your situation. If they didn't sell well before, they may have indeed stopped supplying them.

          1. re: chipman

            I have seen these Ruffles chips back on the shelves. I noticed all of my local stores don't always have it available so maybe it just depends on what the delivery guy has on hand. But HOPEFULLY they are here to stay!!

            1. re: cc84

              After reading the original post I bought the Thick Cut Ruffles and YES! YES! YES! They are totally O'Grady's Au Gratin, the only potato chip I have truly loved. Since then, I haven't been able to find the Thick Cut anywhere - not even online! I just came back from the ginormous Lucky's - which has every chip known to man - and they are sadly missing. cc84 - where do you live and where did you find them? I am going to start obsessing and stalking eBay for sightings of them - I will buy a crate if I have to! :)

              1. re: saffree

                Saffree, I have bad news for you. The chip gods are not in your favor. Both versions of the thick cut Ruffles have been discontinued.

                1. re: chipman

                  That is truly heartbreaking. :( Thanks for the update, chipman!

                  1. re: saffree

                    just bought a small bag of Ruffles Thick Cut Au Gratin from the local vending machine (Ottawa), and these are as close to O'Grady's as I can remember - the thickness, the spacing of the ridges, the crunch, and the flavour!!! Maybe the originals had more stuff on top, but that may be a batch-to-batch variation. Time to hit the local grocery store to find these in the big bags!!!

        2. Hi ... I used to work at Frito. Maybe this background info might help:
          1) The new thick-cut Ruffles come close to the original O'Grady's -- BUT the new Ruffles are slightly thinner and MUCH easier/faster to make.
          2) O'Grady's had slightly more "crunch" to them.
          3) O'Grady's extra crispness was made possible because the slightly thicker-potato slices were first soaked in a cold brine solution before they entered the Ruffles fryer (this brine processing was a MAJOR discovery for Frito).
          4) BUT this extra "brine processing" step also meant that O'Grady's manufacturing cost would always be slightly more expensive for Frito (versus producing a Ruffles or a Lay's chip).
          5) This "brine" step increased Frito's mfg'g costs in 3 ways: a) slightly slower chip output: the soaking added an extra 30-50 seconds to the chip process, b) factory floor space: the O'Grady's "brine" tank/machine was large & required the removal of at least one Ruffles fryer from every plant, and c) extra machine costs: the tank / extra motors / extra conveyors / sprayers for the "brine" process added yet another cost.
          6) Most of the people who bought O'Grady's (including me) had previously been loyal Ruffles purchasers (Frito exec's said: "our higher-profit Ruffles are being 'cannibalized' by the slightly-less profitable O'Grady's). O'Grady's didn't attrack many store brand or competitive users.
          In SUMMARY: O'Grady's was very-very popular and it took several years for Frito-Lay / PepsiCo to figure out the problem caused by lower profit-margins & cannibalization. The decision to halt O'Grady's was contentious and drew many complaints from consumers & store mgrs.
          This new thick-cut Ruffles seems to be a good compromise: a) it tastes similar to O'Grady's (in most consumer's minds) , and b) it avoids the delays/costs of the unique "brine" process. .... Well ... hope this info helps. dave in austin, texas

          1 Reply
          1. re: corp4444

            Dave, great info. Thanks for sharing that with us. If Frito-Lay ever decides to test the market again with thick cut, brine processed cheddar/au gratin chips I will make sure to send them a message by buying them two bags at a time. Hell, three at a time.

          2. I remember the Au Gratin chips. I LOVED THEM!!! They just disappeared and were gone forever. I too bought the Ruffles Baked Potato Chips and they were similar to the O Grady's brand. The closest thing I've had to them....but sadly not close enough!

            1. What I wouldn't give for a sack o' O'Grady's, or even a modern knock-off! From now on I'm going to patrol the chip aisles in search of thick-cut, ridged chips.

              1. It looks like this chip has been brought back - to South Africa. The company Simba, which is under the PepsiCo International umbrella has relaunched O'Gradys chips after shelving the product back in 2005. Massive consumer demand got the chips back into production.

                More information with pictures here:
                http://www.fastmoving.co.za/fmcg-supp...

                They offer "baked cheese" (au gratin I assume) and sour cream & onion flavors.

                1. I can't believe that this just happened. Just yesterday I got the same Ruffles Thick Cut Cheddar Baked chips and immediately turned to my husband and asked if he remembered the Au Gratin Chips. He is younger than me, and did not remember them...but, I certainly do. Tasting those was like a flashback to the best chip ever. I just googled Au gratin chips to find out what happened to them and saw your comment.