Monday, 22 July 2013

An open letter to Mr Tayto!

Dear Mr Tayto,

I have always loved your crisps. They are as much a part of childhood in Ireland as playing keepy upies and watching Bosco. 

Now that I live in England I don't have the same easy access to Taytos, but my mum uses all of her (not very large) Ryanair cabin baggage allowance to bring me a supply whenever she comes.  She has to leave her toiletry bag in my house so she has room for all the crisps, that's how much I love them (and I'm not joking about the toiletry bag!)
All other cheese and onion crisps are pale imitations of your original and best flavour- they are bland, bland, bland in comparison. (Ok, King crisps come a close-ish second, but you can't get them over here either, as you know because you make them too. Gold and silver in the best cheese and onion crisp category- well done!)

Tayto go with almost every other food type, and I can see where you were going with the crisp flavoured chocolate,but that didn't quite hit the mark and was a step too far. However, I digress, that's not what I'm writing to you about!

When we were home in Ireland for a holiday in July I was very excited to have the opportunity to visit Tayto Land. What an idea-combining fun and flavour- what more could you want?! I packed up my 2 kids and hubby and off we went with a picnic for a day out- oh the excitement! Well, excitement for me anyway. My husband (a Brit) was reared on Walkers and doesn't appreciate the true wonder of the Tayto flavour. My daughters are familiar with 'mummy's special crisps' but had not fully understood the legend that is Mr Tayto.  

Things changed that day in July.  My older daughter chased Mr Tayto all over the park trying to get a photo and making him wave (the poor old guy must have been close to having a heart attack in that suit on the hottest day of the year so far). My  22 month old can't quite talk, but she now points maniacally and mutters 'Tay-yo,Tay-yo' whenever she sees anyone in a red suit (God knows how we're going to explain that to Santa at Christmas time!) 

Both the girls wanted a Tayto souvenir- Alexandra, the 4 year old, got the teddy and Katya got the plastic money box (probably a good job Katya chose the more robust Mr Tayto as he has been dumped in the bath and paddling pool on a number of occasions since- perhaps mistaken for a duck in a suit rather than a crisp in a suit in the eyes of an almost two year old? Alex's plush Mr Tayto on the other hand has become Mrs Tayto and married the plastic fellow, despite the paddling pool gunk and soap scum that is starting to build on him!)

But I digress again! We had a great day at the park and your marketing department did an impressive job on the impressionable minds of my young daughters. The disappointment came when your lovely staff member sitting in the big Tayto lorry handed us each a bumper bag of Taytos to take home at the end of the day.  Alex was dying to try her Taytos, but I had to grab the bag off her and explain that Taytos contain gluten. Alex is a coeliac so gets very sick if she eats any wheat or gluten containing products. I couldn't explain to her why there was gluten in the crisps, when there isn't in cheese, onion, potatoes or sunflower oil but how and ever, she couldn't eat them. There are approximately 45,000 people with Coeliac disease in Ireland currently. If you made gluten-free Taytos and if each one of those people with Coeliacs bought a bag of Taytos just once that would make you over £20,000 gross. If you did a better job on gluten-free crisps than you did on the chocolate, then I bet all the Coeliacs would buy a lot more than one bag, meaning mega-bucks. If you made Taytos that didn't contain gluten, my mum would probably pay to put a big bag in the hold on Ryanair  to carry them over to England,so you could ask Ryanair for a share or two for the increase in their business too!

Please, please, please consider making gluten free Taytos so that I can introduce my daughter to your unique and fantastic flavour and all of my Coeliac friends can escape crisp blandness!

With thanks for your consideration,