Sunday 31 October 2010

Crips Wheat & Potato Snacks

Teaching English in France, I always have a good laugh when I try to get the kids to pronounce the words crisps - for some reason, it just ain't happening ! 90% of them say either crispsps or crips but they can't manage crisps ! Well, now that I've discovered Crips, I'll tell them not to worry - if they miss out an s, they'll still manage to get their hands on a tasty snack !

I'd never heard of Crips, described as oven-baked wheat and potato chips, so I wasn't at all sure what to expect. The website explains, "CRIPS are all the things you love about traditional crisps, but better. We bake them with just a suggestion of sunflower oil and heaps of natural flavour for a tasty crunch with nearly four times less fat than potato crisps."

Well, less fat is definitely good but can they still taste just as as nice ? Well, in a word - YES ! We started off sharing a big 140g bag of cheese & onion flavour - but not just any old cheese & onion. Crips offer the impressive sounding  "Mature Cheddar Cheese and Spring Onion". They are absolutely packed full of flavour - the flavour seems stronger than when you eat normal cheese & onion crisps - and they are incredibly crisp and crunchy. They're less greasy than normal potato crisps and I find the flavour lasts for longer in your mouth. They're absolutely delicious. The 140g "big bags" to share are also available in Thai Sweet Chilli flavour.

If you opt for a small individual bag of Crips - maybe you want to pop one in your lunchbox or limit yourself to a reasonable sized serving because they're so moreish, you know you'll eat your way through the entire big bag if you're not careful ! - you still find the same ultra kitsch but cute animal packaging. I absolutely love it because it makes me feel all nostalgic, remembering the Tufty club and the "Bunnikins' Tea Party" types of Ladybird books featuring humanised animals from the 70s ! Sophie and Juliette are way too young to remember those but they still love them too.

We tasted three flavours - Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper, Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar and Natural Sea Salt. The Natural Sea Salt was the real test as it would give the unenhanced flavour of the Crips and I must admit I was worried they would be a bit bland (which is also my opinion of ready salted crisps). Well, although they're not my personal favourite, they're still a lovely crunchy tasty snack. The texture is like a cross between potato crisps and crackers and the girls actually preferred this, saying that they didn't make jagged edges that dig you in the gums like normal crisps. I also like the small size of the Crips which makes them easy for younger children to eat.

For the health-conscious amongst you, or for mums who are after healthier snacking options for their kids, there is also a 99 Cals range, available in three flavours :  Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar, Mature Cheddar Cheese and Spring Onion and the deliciously spiced Thai Sweet Chilli. I love the fact that you can tuck in knowing that you (or your kids) will only be eating 99 calories which is not bad at all, especially compared to normal crisps. However, I compared the nutritional information on the 99 cals range and the normal bags and came away totally confused. A 22.5g bag of 99 cals Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Crips contains (unsurprisingly) 99 calories, but 432 calories per 100g and 8.3g of fat. The same flavour in the normal 35g bag contains 141 calories per bag but 403 calories per 100g and 8.1g of fat, which is actually lower than the 99 cals version ! I repeated this experiment with the Thai Sweet Chilli flavour and again found that the 99 cals range contains slightly more calories and fat per 100g than the normal pack ! (EDIT : Crips got back to me with this reply : The oil/flavour application system is different for the 99 cal packs compared to the original 35g. The calorie content is more accurate/100g in the 99 cal pack and it had to be since it was the main pack claim, compared to less tha 10% fat previously claimed.)

Nevertheless, I love the fact that they are a healthier, lower fat and lower calorie option to the usual potato crisps on the market, while packing in just as much if not more flavour. The website says that they have an amazing 6 months shelf life so you can stock up safe in the knowledge that they won't go stale before you get a chance to eat them. Especially as, if our house is anything to go by, they won't hang around for very long anyway !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : 49p for the 22.5g 99 cals packs, £1.69 for the 140g big bags

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