The ruling means Walkers, the company that makes poppadoms and dozens of other snack foods, will have to pay the same value-added tax on its poppadoms as it does on its various crisps. More important, a trial judge has recorded for all man- and crisp-loving-kind the sort of dictate that is sure to disproportionately irritate the masses.
“Food is probably one of the most visceral, powerful ways of expressing cultural identity,” said Dr. Ty Matejowsky, a professor of anthropology at the University of Central Florida. As such, he said, the court ruling was unlikely to change anyone’s crisp-related opinion.
The label of Walkers crisps bear distinct similarities to the American Lays potato chip brand, and also distribute Doritos in Britain. It’s because they’re all owned by Pepsico, which kept the Walkers brand name in Britain and Ireland. The label’s different, but they’re effectively the same chip.
A poppadom, an anglicized version of the Indian “papadum,” is a flat, crunchy, circular flatbread typically made with gram flour. Traditionally, they’re about the size of a tortilla. Walkers, though, freelanced the design into a smaller form, closer to the size of a potato chip, which they introduced with the help of a Sikh Elvis impersonator in the late 1980s.
The Walkers dispute bears uncanny resemblance to the great Pringles decision of 2008, when a British high court judge ruled the ubiquitous canned snacks also counted as crisps, despite tax-related arguments to the contrary.