Top 8 crisps TESTED

WITH their full-on flavour and satisfying crunch, crisps are one of life’s simple pleasures.

It’s easy to eat too many, and with many packs weighing at least 100g, it’s even easier to eat a lot of them and yet still not feel satisfied until they are finished. Even when we’ve scoffed those with the highest protein content, we get hungry soon after. This is how we get fat!

There are some great new flavours in the shops to tempt us and this is what we sought for our survey. There are also a few small producers, who make them on the spot at farmers’ markets, salting them deliciously. Others make and sell in local shops. As their supply is not constant, I didn’t include them today, but they really are delicious and, if you buy some, I suggest you share them quickly, otherwise you will keep munching until they are finished. I also suggest putting a portion of any crisps into a bowl, so you see what you are eating to avoid over-consumption. Also, avoid eating them in front of the television so you are aware of the amount you eat. Confine them to treats, and use on the side with summer salads.

Additives in crisps include lactose from milk, so watch for allergic reactions in people who have sensitivities. Some also have soya, wheat and sugar, which might not be expected. The ingredients are usually clearly listed.

Top 8 crisps TESTED

Marks & Spencer Summer of Flavour soy & balsamic sweet potato crisps, 100g, €3.09

A good, crisp texture is not always easy with sweet potatoes. Sunflower and rapeseed oils are used to fry them and the appetizing sweet flavour comes from dried balsamic vinegar. Also included are dried barley malt vinegar, dried onions, yeast extract and garlic. Saturated fats are at 3.5%, with calories high, at 515 per 100g pack. Fibre, at 10.3%, is good, protein is 5.3%, and salt, at 0.75%, is relatively low. All tasters liked these.

Score: 8.75

 Top 8 crisps TESTED

Walkers Sunbites, 150g, €2.69

A six pack of multi-grain crisp snacks, rectangular and ridged, made from 67% whole corn, whole wheat and whole oat flour. This gives them a ‘healthy’ feel. Urated fats are the best of the selection, at a low 2.2%, but sugars come to 9.6%. Protein, at 7.5%, is very good and salt is low, at 66%. The flavour of chilli is gentle, the texture is of a re-formed mix. The 25g pack is light, but still has 125 calories which, despite the high protein, means the snacks are not very satisfying, but this is the best option for health.

Score: 8.25

Top 8 crisps TESTED

O’Donnell’s Tipperary jalapeno & sour cream,125g, €2.29

The two peppery and creamy tastes cancel each other out, so the jalapeno doesn’t show enough. They feel greasy, though they are cooked in sunflower oil. The texture of the potato is nicely crisp. Ingredients include rice flour, sugar, chilli powder, onion powder, sour cream powder and dried red peppers. Protein is 5.7%, saturated fats 4.1% and 536 calories per 100g is high. Fibre is 4.1%, and 1.5% salt is quite high. Nice crisps, but flavour disappointing. Made in Ireland.

Score: 7.75

Top 8 crisps TESTED

Kettle Chips sea salt & balsamic vinegar chips, 150g, €2.49

A commendably short list of ingredients here tasted of regular salt and vinegar, with no sweetness of balsamic. At 1.9% salt, they were very salty.

Saturated fats 3.3%, protein 5.4%, calories 502 calories per 100g.

Score: 7.5

 Top 8 crisps TESTED

Keogh’s Shamrock and Sour Cream crisps 125g, €2

It’s good to see an Irish company come up with an Irish gimmick: and there’s not much more gimmicky than our trefoil clover. It comes from shamrock extract and there are parsley flecks on the crisps, too, with lactose, sugar, whey, onion, garlic and cheddar cheese, lactic acid, malic acid and yeast extract. Fried in vegetable oil, they have a high 522 calories per 100g, 3.8% saturated fats, and a high, 1.63% salt, with protein of 7.4%. As we don’t know what shamrock should taste of it’s hard to judge, but the taste was of cheese and onion, with a crunchy texture. As most crisps have flavours added in extract form,Sshamrock extract is no worry.

Tasters like them.

Score: 8

 Top 8 crisps TESTED

Lidl Crusti Croc mustard crisps, 200g, €1.49

With a high, 2.5% salt and a strong vinegar flavour, no-one could tell these contained mustard. 546 calories per 100g is high; the low, 2.7% saturated fats is from frying in high-oleic sunflower oil. This oil is being used by producers to a substitute for less desirable trans-fat hydrogenated oils. People power has won out here. 6% protein, 4% fibre is fair. Sodium acetate caught my eye and may explain the high salt and vinegar flavouring.

Score: 6.5

 Top 8 crisps TESTED

Aldi Snackrite Thai sweet chilli potato crisps, 150g, €1.25

Lactose from milk is listed here, this time in the chilli flavouring, which is mild. There is also high-oleic sunflower oil, so saturated fats, at 1.8%, arecommendably low. Despite an interesting list of onion, tomato, chilli and garlic powders, the flavour was lacking in chilli flavour. However, sweet Thai chilli tends to be mild and there was sweetness, enhanced by the ground fennel. 6.9% protein and 502 calories per 100g, with salt at 1.07%. A pleasant pack of crisps at a low price.

Score: 7.5

 Top 8 crisps TESTED

Tesco Finest handcooked sweet chilli crisps, 150g, €2.29

Satisfyingly large crisps are gently flavoured with a sweet chilli, nicely salted and not overdone at 1%. Sunflower oil yields a relatively high, 4.1% saturated fats. The high sugar content, of 3.2%, comes in part from added sugar.

Fibre, at 2.5%, is low, and protein is lowish, at 5.1%, and calories are 520 per 100g.

Score: 7.75



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