Ranking some of the nicest crisps available in Ireland

Simply Crispy, the pop up café in Belfast serving crisp sandwiches, will continue beyond it’s month-only initial plan, writes Roz Crowley.

It’s not so surprising as most of us have made a crisp sandwich at some time. It’s hard to beat white bread slathered with butter — a few slices of tomato is my favourite addition — the top pressed down to break up the crisps and stop them from falling out. Delish!

Since Spud Murphy’s Tayto company started in 1954 with the first cheese and onion flavour, Irish people have been hooked. Safefood and Bord Bia research shows that 12% of our snacks are crisps, (with confectionary at 21% and fruit at 12%).

At night 26% of adults who snack on crisps have them between 6 and 9pm, 42% of them with a fizzy drink or alcohol. This is where weight sneaks on. There are about 500 calories in 100g — about three quarters of a large bag — or about 130 calories per small packet.

So we have to factor this amount (and the accompanying drinks) into our weekly calculations to keep ourselves at a healthy weight.

If we buy salted crisps, we can avoid gluten and the additives which give crisps their delicious, wide range of flavours, so today I am looking at salted crisps, two of them with vinegar, in the hopes that they are tasty and crisp, and not over-salted.

Joe’s Farm crisps 70g €3

Beetroot, parsnip and carrot crisps with a sprinkle of sea salt are deliciously crunchy, full of flavour and not over-salted. Definitely posh crisps, these work out at a high €5 for 125g. A resealable bag means we can have a handful at a time for a few days, so perhaps we can make them last. All tasters liked these. From speciality food shops.

Score: 8.5

Tyrrells Swanky Veg crisps 125g €3.96

Purple sweet potato, beetroot, golden beetroot and parsnip crisps make an interesting mix which is crisp and light. ‘Swanky’ is an apt name, and this mix glorifies root vegetables to good effect. The light salting of 1.25% contrasts nicely with sweetness of the vegetables, particularly the beetroot. Saturated fats are 3.6%. All tasters liked the crisps, but were a bit shocked at the price. Made in Britain

Score: 8.25

Keogh’s Just a pinch of Irish Atlantic Seasalt crisps 125g €2.95

At 1.51% these were a little saltier than we would expect from just a pinch, but the salt was lively, fresh and delicious. Saturated fats at 1.2% are low, and at 5% fibre is decent. A good all rounder and liked by tasters. Expensive.

Score: 8.25

Kettle chips lightly salted 150g €1.86

Like most salted crisps, a simple list of three ingredients is comforting: potatoes, sunflower oil and sea salt. These are a little greasier in the mouth than some samples, and have 3.5% saturated fats. A decent 6.5% fibre and a light 0.9% salt made them a favourite of a few tasters who liked their crisps big and crunchy. Made in Britain.

Score: 8

Tesco Finest lightly sea salted crisps 150g €2.29

Cornish sea salt is used with Hermes variety of potatoes grown in Devon. It’s hard to pin down the exact difference, but they are very good, perhaps with a more dense vegetable flavour than others. At 2.5% they have about half the amount of fibre as some other samples, and a slightly higher 4.1% saturated fats. Lightly salted (1.2%) is the apt description on the pack, which was just right and the crisps were nicely crunchy.

Score: 7.75

Marks & Spencer lightly salted, reduced fat crisps 150g €2.69

A ridged style, the low 1.9% saturated fats compared well to other samples which have twice the amount. Sun Kernel oil is used for frying. This is a trade- marked oil which the label states is lower in saturated fats. There is a decent 4.7% fibre too. Lightly salted as the pack suggests, there is plenty of flavour.

Tasters didn’t like the texture as much as the other, regular crisps.

Score: 7.75

O’Donnells Tipperary Irish cider vinegar & sea salt crisps 125g €2.49

With no plain salted version in this range, we tasted this one instead. The vinegar was nicely soft, and the salt, though at a high enough 2.3%, was not overbearing. Fibre is not listed in nutritional information, but saturated fats are a moderate 2.5%. Made from Clonmel potatoes by Largo Foods in Co Meath who also make Tayto, Hunky Dorys, King and Perri crisps. Good balance of flavour which tasters liked.

Score: 8

Tayto Bistro crushed sea salt and aged vinegar crisps 150g €2.69

While the vinegar here may be aged, it is still quite volatile and harsh and doesn’t allow the salt flavour through. At 2.6% salt is high, perhaps softened by the added maltodextrin and sugar. Saturated fats at 2.5% is average. No fibre content is given on the pack.

Score: 7


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