This recipe is part of a sponsored content series produced in partnership between Texas Monthly and H-E-B highlighting H-E-B brand products that are made to be Texas favorites.

H-E-B’s goal is to deliver the best products to Texans, with love. The H-E-B Salty Snacks team, responsible for developing exciting new snack flavors, takes this goal so seriously that their team slogan is “Saving mankind, one chip at a time. Our life’s purpose!”

Mark Bradshaw, Business Development Manager at the helm of Salty Snacks, explains that their lofty slogan emerged from an email the team received from a satisfied, but desperate customer. “For the love of mankind, please bring back the Creamy Dill Cheese Puff,” the customer implored. “They’re the best chips my family has ever had, so please make it happen!”

A Texas native from the Permian Basin, Bradshaw has worked for H-E-B for almost 28 years. Affectionately known as “The Sultan of Salt,” Bradshaw is used to hearing from devoted customers. Since the Salty Snacks team unveils new flavors every sixteen weeks, requests for discontinued varieties from flavor fanatics are a common occurrence.

“When we move into other flavors, our emails sometimes explode from our customer relations department,” Bradshaw says.

A spread of the latest H-E-B Limited Time Offer chip flavors on a festive table.
The latest trio of flavors coming to H-E-B stores this fall are Apple Pie, Holiday Stuffing, and Habanero Salsa. Photo by Cassandra Klepac

Previous highlights from the Limited Edition flavor line include Pepperoni Pizza Rolls, Honey Sopapilla, and Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich. Those with an adventurous culinary nature may also remember Vanilla Milkshake, Mixed Berry Lemonade, and Fried Corndog & Mustard.

It takes extensive brainstorming to keep exciting new flavors hitting the shelves, but Bradshaw and his team have a lot of fun coming up with their imaginative creations. Bradshaw is quick to stress that the entire process of developing these products is a big team effort. “We all do this completely together,” he says. “We brainstorm as a group.”

The team fields ideas from brand managers, plant managers, H-E-B in-store partners, and, of course, customers. There’s more to this process than dreaming up wild flavor combinations. Erika Bordovsky, Product Development Manager, explains that the kind of chip the seasoning appears on also has a large impact on the end result.

“One seasoning can taste different on a thin potato chip versus a ridged chip versus a wavy chip,” Bordovsky says. The team tries their flavor combinations on corn chips and tortilla chips as well, and tweak seasonings tirelessly on their unique flavors.

They undergo taste test after taste test to make sure they’re delivering the best flavors to H-E-B customers. This may sound like a dream job to all those chip lovers out there—and the Salty Snacks team would agree—but their substantial, untiring dedication to making sure each flavor is just right is what the team is most proud of.

H-E-B is particularly proud of the ingredients they choose to make these flavors. Almost all of the H-E-B Salty Snacks are Select Ingredients meaning these products don’t include high fructose corn syrup or over 175 synthetic ingredients, preservatives, and colors. H-E-B listens to customers and knows that they want food they can feel good about eating. When buying H-E-B Select Ingredients you can expect these items to include all the things you love without the things you don’t.

The teamwork doesn’t end when the Salty Snacks team achieves their desired flavor combination. After the seasonings are nailed down, it’s time to think about packaging—after all, you eat with your eyes first. “Our job is to make sure the chips taste good,” Bradshaw says, “but it’s the designer’s job to make it look like it tastes good. They do a phenomenal job really bringing these flavors to life.”

The H-E-B Salty Snacks Team show off the packaging.
Photo by Cassandra Klepac

The next time you have family and friends over, you might want to try something that Bradshaw does whenever the team finishes up a new set of flavors. Put the latest chips into bowls and hide the bags at first. Let your guests taste the chips and see if they can identify the flavors. It’s always fun to hear people’s guesses—and it’s especially rewarding to see eyes light up as tasters realize what flavor they’re experiencing. After everyone guesses, do a big reveal with the beautiful packaging.

The next round of seasonal offerings is perfect for your upcoming festive gatherings. The latest trio of flavors coming to you this fall are Apple Pie, Holiday Stuffing, and Habanero Salsa. The Apple Pie Ridged Potato Chips bring the warm flavors of baked apple, browned crust, and fall seasonings like cinnamon and nutmeg. Holiday Stuffing Ridged Potato Chips taste just like grandma used to make it, with hints of herbs, onions, celery, and savory breadcrumb. For those of you who like some heat, the Habanero Salsa Tortilla Chips pack a punch with notes of earthy floral Habanero chile and dashes of lime.

Keep an eye out for these exciting new flavors, just in time for fall. And keep an eye out for what the Salty Snacks team will come up with next—To Texas, With Love.

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