5 Combos Flavors That Need To Happen

To say that there’s a dearth in Combos flavors is an understatement. Their website only lists five. That’s unacceptable in today’s exciting, risk-taking snack landscape. Combos need new life. They need spice. Variety. There should be more Combos combos.

The best among the current options is obviously Buffalo Blue Cheese, a fun, funky twist that stands out in a crowd of Buffalo snacks. (Blue cheese, it should be said, is the proper dipping sauce for the Buffalo chicken wing, and I appreciate that Combos gets that.) But the only two you really see with much regularity are Cheddar Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza, and that’s if you find Combos at your local food mart or grocery store at all. They’re not exactly ubiquitous in the packaged food realm. I’ve noticed the bougie grocery stores won’t carry them, and whenever I drive past an upscale gas station, I find myself muttering, “I bet they think they’re too good for Combos.” 

It’s not a matter of taste. Nobody, not you, not me, not Marco Pierre White with his intense gaze and serial killer-like manner of speaking, are too good for Combos. They’re the amuse-bouche of the everyman. 

The problem is that Combos are stagnant. While other snack companies continue to take wild and imaginative risks with flavor innovations, earning their shelf placements at grocery stores, Combos are still living the cheddar cheese and pepperoni pizza life like it’s 1993. Hell, they don’t even show up among the most popular snack brands of 2021

The few big swings from the Combos team so far have been subpar. Their Seven Layer Dip was ambitious, but fell short in its vessel; the “baked tortilla” casing was just a Combos cracker and it didn’t jive well with the filling. Other discontinued Combos flavors include Bacon, Egg, and Cheese (how, why?), Cheeseburger Cracker (two words that should never be neighbors), and Zesty Salsa Tortilla. Mmmmm, pretzels and salsa! A classic!

Still, I find Combos charming, like an underdog you can’t help but root for. They’re the Cleveland Browns of snacks; they’re loveable losers with a ton of unrealized potential. It’s just downright frustrating: Combos could be really good. Here are the flavors that could drum up some interest in this snack once again.


Chicken Parm
Credit: Ryan Martin / iStock

Everybody loves chicken parm, and concentrating that cheesy, tomato flavor inside of a Combo should be relatively easy. Tomato and parmesan cheese flavor are already in a ton of your favorite snacks. As for the chicken part, I would take notes from Lay’s Stax Buffalo Wings and Ranch chips. Use chicken salt, chicken broth, and chicken flavoring to recreate that classic chicken breast flavor. Lots of restaurants use dried chicken flavoring for savory, concentrated umami. Combos should be using it, too.

PB&J
Credit: Ryan Martin / iStock

Peanut butter is already among Combos more interesting discontinued flavors. Peanut butter pretzels have been proven over and over again to be a classic. I mean, the Kirkland plastic jug of peanut butter pretzels is iconic. Combos has every right to step back into this space and come after the throne. But, let’s take it one step further. Let’s add some dried jelly in there to create a classic PB&J flavor. The added bonus of salted pretzels make for a unique flavor that will hold up well. It’s salty and sweet without being too dessert-y.

Queso Flameado 
Credit: Ryan Martin / iStock

Combos’ cheese-flavored products are in desperate need of a rebrand, and queso flameado is the perfect way to inject some new life into this stale product. Queso is not only better branding, but also a better way to think about Combos stuffing. You won’t be able to recreate the molten cheese fondue aesthetic of a classic queso fundido, but adding some chile, onion, and tomato flavoring to cheese and pork is a banger of an idea. Plus, as far as snacks go, spicy is en vogue right now. Queso Flameado has a fun, sing-songy element to it that would jump off the shelf. This would sell. I, a snack savant, guarantee it.

Spiced Labneh + Za’atar
Credit: Ryan Martin / iStock

Middle Eastern labneh is magic. It’s got the thick, yogurt-like consistency of cream cheese with all the flavor of tart buttermilk or sour cream. A labneh flavor would signal that Combos is not only willing to take risks, but that they’re also paying attention to trends. Labneh is being used in a lot of trendy recipes and restaurants these days. And za’atar carries a lot of herbaceousness that will play well with labenh’s creamy, tart nature. Thyme, oregano, sumac, salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander all join forces to pack the radical herby punch that is za’atar.

Beer Cheese
Credit: Ryan Martin / iStock

The one Combos flavor that doesn’t exist and it’s absolutely mind numbing. Seriously, this one has been teed up for years. Beer cheese is cheese but with more flavor, and an iconic combination with pretzels. Sharp cheddar, beer, garlic, mustard, horseradish, and cayenne inside of a Combo would be straight up scrumptious. This is a no-brainer for Combos, and really any other brand of snacks that fancies itself a pioneer of cheese. Bask in my processed cheese intelligence. And Combos, if you’re reading, please hire me. I swear to God I’ll make us both filthy rich.

 


About the Author

Danny Palumbo

Danny is a comedian, cook, and food writer living in Los Angeles. He loves gas station eggs, canned sardines, and Easter candy. He also passionately believes that all the best chips come from Pennsylvania (Herr's!). If you can't understand Danny when he talks, it's because he's from Pittsburgh.

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  • PB&J is definitely a possibility. Only exclusive to New Englanders is Fluffernutter. Is there a Queso cheese flavor for Combos?

    Reply
    • I don’t think they do a queso. Fluffernutter is a great idea tho!

      Reply
  • Combos recently came out with the 7 layer dip flavor and while I love the flavor, it is the only snack that has ever made me violently ill??

    Reply