The snack aisle of any supermarket can be a minefield for parents looking for something small and compact to throw into a lunchbox that their children will deem tasty enough to eat.
Things to avoid are artificial flavours and colours, too much fat and I prefer snacks that resemble real food like plain, unflavoured potato chips.
These puffs are new to the snack aisle and add to the extruded shapes using corn that are already available in various guises.
However these proudly advertise no artificial colours, which is great, and less fat than potato chips as they are baked not fried.
I usually opt for cheese flavours which tend to be more natural as they use mainly cheese, whereas other flavours like beef, chicken or in this case BBQ, rarely resemble the real thing. Which brings me to the question, what is BBQ flavour? Is it smoky, is it meaty? Is it both? It's certainly not something real. I've compared BBQ and Cheese to see what differences there are in their flavour mixes.
INGREDIENTS (in order of greatest quantity first)
• Corn - The corn in this contributes to the light, airy puffs which are made by extrusion. Finely ground corn is mixed with water then extruded into shapes such as these and in this case baked.
• Sunflower oil - Nice to know which oil is used in these. Sunflower oil is low in saturated fat.
• Sugar - This tells us that the main ingredients in the BBQ flavouring mix is sugar, and you can taste this.
• Mineral salt (508) - This is potassium chloride, which is a natural mineral salt.
• Yeast extract - This provides a meaty taste, similar to Marmite.
• Salt - These will give you 70mg of salt per 12g serving.
• Flavour - This will be artificial and it's hard to imagine what you could come up with to imitate the taste of a barbecue.
• Hydrolysed vegetable protein - This is created when soy is boiled in acid and then broken down with sodium hydroxide to release the protein. It is used in foods as a flavour enhancer.
• Tomato powder - Dehydrated tomato.
• Onion powder - Dehydrated onion.
• Anticaking agent (551) - This is silicon dioxide, which is in the food to stop the flavouring from caking.
• Acidity regulator (262) - This is methyl-cellulose which is made from wood and cotton.
• Herbs - These will be in here for flavour.
• Vegetable oil - Not sure what this oil is.
• Dairy solids - These are what is left over when you dehydrate milk.
• Corn starch - This is cornflour, a thickener.
• Hydrolysed vegetable protein - As above
• Salt - Slightly less salt than the BBQ flavour at 65mg per 12 g serve.
• Maltodextrin - This is a form of sugar.
• Cheese powder - Not sure how they get the cheese into a powder form, but it should be natural.
• Flavour (soy) - This is disappointing because I have looked at cheese flavoured products before which have no artificial flavours so it is possible to do it. The fact that this is from soy could make you hopeful, but I think if it was natural they would say so on the label.
• Acidity regulators (331,330) - These are sodium citrates (331) which is salt of citric acid and citric acid (330).
• Mineral salt (339) - This is sodium phosphates.
• Yeast extract - As above.
• Anticaking agent (551) - As above.
I was disappointed to find that the cheese flavour still had an artificial taste in there, because other products like Twisties manage to get the cheese flavour naturally.
But I still think it is preferable to the BBQ flavour because its main ingredient is dairy solids, not sugar, and it also has other natural ingredients in it like cheese powder and cornflour.
The BBQ flavour, on the other hand, seems to rely heavily on sugar, artificial flavour and yeast extract.
• Low in fat
• Both use artificial flavours but not colours
• No MSG
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