Lazy or very focused list wielding shoppers -BOTH can't help but notice that the bulging chips-pretzels-cracker shelves looking very different from just a few years ago.
Reasons abound...for the surge in choices... a better travelled, multi-ethnic, growing palate - gourmet type of population, the explosive popularity of foodie media...all generations more open to cultural excursions around the world in their world with their tastebuds...not just those dwelling in millennial-loaded zip codes.
At recent media events and the gargantuan Fancy Food Show in NYC.. miles of delicious crunchy snacks- got devoured...showcasing baked or air-popped choices- made from pulses -not potatoes, dressed up popcorn-now touched with so-called 'healthier' oils. delectable crackers made from gluten free flour sources or freshened up with savory herbs-bold enough to eat unadorned, and the bar food staple pretzels-sizzling in 'hot' flavors -or decorated with the sweet treats usually atop an ice cream sundae.
SOME Highlights---new products from established and cult-y brands. All crunchy, satisfying-crisp in texture-and with just enough lick your fingers goodness-without saturated fats-hydrogenated oils (now it seems- the norm) and as peoples with a very wary eye towards added sugars...not so sweet as to feel the urge to speed dial a dental cleaning.
Biz wise- giant food companies have responded accordingly- for their own big brands , or by buying up smaller food companies with that distinct MO-infusing capital for brand expansion (Frito-Lay's-Stacy's Chips,General Mills-Annies etc).
And this being snacks, single serve packaging is common-or-multi-portion resealable bags-all at reasonable prices.
Editors Showcase Selections:
|STACY's PITA Chips one of the earliest hybrid cracker-chip alternatives we remember seeing in our local West Side Market-from a gal entrepreneur Stacy Madison...a crunchy take of pita bread in a chip shape that is made for slurping up dips...imo-the new cinnamon and fire roasted jalepeno (not too hot fyi) versions-pictured...or just fine on their own!|
|impressive bowl of salsa-pairs well with Stacy's Pita Chips fire roasted jalapeno-or salt version|
GOOD HEALTH snacks for adults---and a kid's focused snack assortment-are free of hydrogenated oils, added preservatives, trans fats and artificial coloring. The HALF-NAKED Popcorn -USDA Organic certified, NON GMO project verified -comes in 3 flavors...including a hint of sea salt...just enough to satisfy-airy -light, not greasy...made from certified organic popcorn...
|our sample gone in a NY minute...|
|TERRA CHIPS- A grocery store game changer as far as what crispy chips can be made of (besides the occasional taro or plantain chip)--- all gluten free-made from non-GMO ingredients and kosher. Sweet Beets -on the left -one of 12 other sweet potato based varieties|
|Garden of Eatin' fun name for a well-scoop perfect shaped crisp-love it-mini tortilla bowls-for dips/salsa -or so cute-we'd love this as mini salad bowls...USDA organic -in white corn and blue corn -both with sea salt pictured below...$4.99|
|Garden of Eatin' Organic Blue Corn Bowls|
|goldfish competition-Horizon Organic snack crackers -crispy original or mild cheddar flavor|
Another example of a bigger company-buying up a smaller brand and expanding the offerings...White Wave Foods' owned Horizon- began its brand life as an organic dairy company-one of the first with widespread distribution...NOW a complete tasty line of organic snacks-and yay-microwavable Macaroni and Mild Cheese single serve cups-two per package. Youth oriented but adult approved for sure AND all USDA Certified Organic.
|Horizon Organic Apple Clusters-4 single serve pouches per box $4.49|
|Thai Style Peanut-sweet salty peanuts with ginger, garlic and mild red chilly pepper spice...good choice with cold beer.|
|our fav-ginger-toasted sesame flavor thing going. Not pictured Spicy N' Sweet|
CRUNCHMASTER oven baked crackers are flavorful on their own-we ate our sample of the salty sweet crisp Sweet Potato&Sunflower-with sea salt -also a cinnamon+sugar version- straight out of the resealable bag! Gluten/wheat free.
We don't see everyone loves Japanese Edamame too much as a basis for chips -though crunchy salty seaweed is a huge (and low calorie) trend we saw at the Fancy Food show...Crunchmaster's Popped Edamame Chips are a tasty California rice flour based crackers- with real edamame in the mix- non-GMO verified, saturated fat and cholesterol free. A nice change from the usual veggie chip-a bit lighter but just as crispy satisfying! Hope our local spot stocks these.