October 21, 2009 in Food

Smartfood sweet snacks less than satisfying

By Correspondent
 

Smartfood, known for its scrumptious white cheddar popcorn, has branched out.

The brand, now owned by Frito Lay Inc., has released a new line of sweet treats. The snacks are meant to be indulgent, but still lower in calories and high in fiber and calcium.

“Why not savor something smart?” it says on the packaging.

But most of our food panel tasters, both young and old, weren’t thrilled with the flavors. The children on our annual back-to-school panel, ranging in age from 6 to 14, gave each of the four varieties just two stars.

The adults agreed, giving two stars to the Peanut Butter Apple, Cranberry Almond and Honey Multigrain flavors. The Chocolate Caramel Pecan received the highest score overall from the grown-ups, three stars on our five-star scale.

“Oh my God, it was horrible and popcorn used to be my favorite,” said 14-year-old Bryton Martin.

“Horrid” and “gross” were two of the words Pierce Hubbard, 9, used to describe the sweetened popcorn snacks.

Vicki Deschaine said they were all too sweet for her. “Who wants to mess with good ol’ popcorn? Butter and salt is all I want.”

Others liked the snacks. But no one agreed on which was best.

“Tastes like breakfast cereal, full of caramel and nuts. Very good with a nice crunch,” Marcia Oranen said of the Honey Multigrain snack.

Lindi Messenger liked the Chocolate Caramel Pecan mix best. “Tastes like ‘pecan pie’ in a caramel corn. Nice and crunchy. I liked it a lot.”

The peanut butter and apple flavor was most appealing to Skip Hubbard. “The peanut butter flavor hits the spot. Yum.”

Andy Hoye liked the popcorn flavors well enough, but not the price. “(They’re) fun, sweet and unredeeming in every way, including a grotesque price.”

Smartfood Peanut Butter Apple

Price: $3.49 per 51/2-ounce package

Nutrition per 1-ounce serving: 120 calories, 3 grams fat (0.5 grams saturated), 1 gram protein, 23 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 85 milligrams sodium.

Kids

Taste: • •

Adults

Taste: • •

Value: • •

Comments: “Sugary bulk. Sticks to your teeth.” – Larry Inman

“All the different things freak me out.” – Samantha Hubbard, 6

Smartfood Chocolate Caramel Pecan

Price: $3.49 per 51/2-ounce package

Nutrition per serving: 120 calories, 2 grams fat (no saturated fat), less than 1 gram protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 75 milligrams sodium.

Kids

Taste: • •

Adults

Taste: • • •

Value: • •

Comments: “Chocolate and popcorn? No way.” – Vicki Deschaine

“Simply wonderful.” – Carter Martin, 11

Smartfood Cranberry Almond

Price: $3.49 for 5 (1-ounce) snack bags

Nutrition per 1-ounce serving: 120 calories, 2 grams fat (no saturated fat), 1 gram protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 75 milligrams sodium.

Kids

Taste: • •

Adults

Taste: • •

Value: • •

Comments: “A pleasant surprise. I don’t know what the red berry flavor is, but it’s not bad.” – Tina Johnson

“Nice crunch, but the berry flavoring is too artificial, leaving an odd aftertaste lingering.” – Lindi Messenger

Smartfood Honey Multigrain

Price: $3.49 for 5 (1-ounce) snack bags

Nutrition per 1-ounce serving: 110 calories, 1 gram fat (no saturated fat), 1 gram protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 5 grams dietary fiber, 150 milligrams sodium.

Kids

Taste: • •

Adults

Taste: • •

Value: • •

Comments: “This was very good and enjoyable.” – Bridget Plese, 10

“The company is on a roll with the fourth attempt to try and get us not to love ‘caramel corn.’ ” – Marilyn Moore

Products sampled by The Spokesman-Review’s reader food panel are prepared according to package directions. Panelists are not aware of a product’s brand name or price until after they have tasted it. Products are rated from one to five stars for taste and for value, based on quality compared to price.


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