New research shows that "whilst concerned about their children’s diets, the majority of parents still believe that they deserve treats and shouldn’t be totally deprived. However, they are becoming more discerning when choosing which treats to give them, favouring lighter, healthier snacks". Yep, sounds about right to me. And while Sophie and Juliette both love chonking on carrot sticks and slices of apple, they do also like to eat sweets and biscuits and crisps every now and then, like all kids, which is fine by me.
They've already tried and loved Pom Bear potato snacks so I was keen to see what they would think of the new, healthier Pom-Bear Bakes, which (as the name suggests) are baked rather than fried. They were on to a winner before I even got them out of the cupboard - the girls had recognised the bright colours and cute teddy bear character from the usual Pom-Bear Potato Snacks and were really happy to see that the little biscuits had the same teddy-bear shape as the original snacks. So, before they had even put one in their mouths, they declared that they loved them - well done to the marketing department !
The outer wrapping of the multipack highlights its "healthier snacks" positioning from the offset - there are three big squares declaring "baked not fried", "no artificial colours and flavours" and "no artificial preservatives". They are labelled as "cheddar cheese flavoured" but, being a bit cynical of all the small print and misleading claims on a lot of food packaging, I presumed the word "flavour" meant that they hadn't even stood next to a piece of cheese ! Well, in this instance, I was wrong - the back of the pack says that they are in fact made with real cheese (although a closer look at the list of ingredients reveals that it's 1.6% cheese powder, of which 16% cheddar cheese powder. 16%% of 1.6% suddenly doesn't sound like a lot of cheddar, so maybe they were right to leave the word "flavour" after all !)
But on to the important bit, the taste testing. The girls both loved them and said they tasted really cheesy and yummy. I had a quick nibble too and they reminded me of the small cheesy Ritz-cracker type biscuits you can get. I love the fact that my fingers stayed clean - no greasy or salty residue, as is usually the case with crisps or potato snacks. Could that be a sign that they are indeed a healthier alternative, at least on that score ?
Each child-sized 25g bag contains 110 calories, 4.5g of fat (of which 1.3g saturates), 14.8g of carbohydrate (of which 2g sugars) and 0.2g of sodium, which is the equivalent of 0.6g of salt. That equates to 6% of a child's recommended daily calorie intake, 2% of sugars, 6% of fat and 7% of saturates. As this information is emblazoned across the front of the packaging, I would assume it's a lot lower than other comparable products. I love the transparency and detail given in the data - for once, it's all there in front of your eyes and you don't have to go searching with a magnifying glass to find hard facts. Having checked on the Pom Bear website, the new bakes are described as "a lighter, healthier treat with 40% less fat than the leading cheese snack biscuit and 56% less saturated fat".
While looking around for information about the new Bakes, I noticed that the original Pom-Bear Potato Snacks have had an overhaul too. "Pom-Bear potato snacks have also been re-formulated so all its recipes are cooked with 100% Pure Sunflower oil – making them an even ‘better for you’ snack choice. Sunflower oil is light in taste and appearance, has a high Vitamin E content and is naturally low in saturated fats – the fats that nutritionists agree we should make a conscious effort to lower across our overall diets. By cooking in sunflower oil, Pom-Bear has further reduced the saturated fat in its potato snack range. Pom-Bear Original, for example, now has only 3% saturated fat (compared to 7% prior to August 2009 and 15% prior to August 2007). Pom-Bear is still deliciously crisp and light, and melts in the mouth to give kids the unique taste they love." Each pack contains less than 100 calories, which is actually less than the Bakes.
Whichever option you choose, the teddy bear shapes will make them an instant hit with the kids (Annabel Karmel based her whole career on the "making kids' food attractive" concept after all !) and it's great to see a snack food company taking the healthier eating aspect into serious consideration. The little bags are the perfect size for lunch boxes or snacks on the go too.
star rating : 5/5 (at Sophie and Juliette's request !)
New Pom-Bear Bakes Handy packs (39p rrp) and x6 Multipacks (£1.59 rrp).
Pom-Bear potato snacks (available in Original, Cheese & Onion, Salt & Vinegar, Prawn Cocktail and New Pickled Onion flavour) typically retail at 30p (rrp) for Handy packs, £1.39 (rrp) for Multipacks
for more information : www.pom-bear.co.uk/