In the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, we're always on the look-out for tasty new products, whether it's in our local markets or through the samples that companies send to us. Lately, we've noticed some similarities in the crunchy snacks crossing our path.Boulder Canyon
Here are the 5 biggest trends we've been seeing:
1. Sweet Potatoes:
Acknowledging consumers' desire for healthier snacks, food companies are capitalizing on sweet potato's reputation as the healthier spud and using it as a prominent ingredient in crackers and chips. If you're looking to try one of these sweet potato-based snacks, be sure to look at the label. Some are better for you than others. Just because a snack is made from a sweet potato instead of a white potato or bleached flour doesn't mean it's necessarily lower in calories or higher in fiber. On the other hand, if you just love the taste of sweet potatoes, then dig in.
Examples: Boulder Canyon Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips, Sweet Potato popchips, Brown Rice & Sweet Potato Roasted Sweet Onion Triscuits
2. Sweet & Savory:Kettle Maple Chips
The sweet potato chip trend is part of a more general fad of blending sweet and savory flavors in crunchy snacks. A trend in the dessert world for a while now (salted caramel, anyone?), this combination is now taking the bagged snack world by storm.
Examples: Kettle Potato Chips in Salty Sweet and Maple Bacon Flavors, Lay's Chicken & Waffles Potato Chips, popchips' Katy's Kettle Corn
Related: Healthy Kids' Snacks
3. Sweet Heat:
The sweet chili trend is another off-shoot of consumers' love of sweet and salty, adding consumers' love of spice to the mix. Sweetness and heat are great together, because sweetness balances out spiciness and snack food companies have finally taken note of this natural pairing.
Examples: Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili, Tyrrell's Sweet Chili Red Pepper Potato Chips, Lay's Sriracha Potato Chips, PopChips Thai Sweet Chili
Hummus Chips 4. Legumes:
Food companies looking to up the nutritional ante with their snacks have released myriad legume-based snacks, using everything from black beans to chickpeas to lentils. Being made with some legume flour doesn't always make a snack healthier though, so if you're really concerned about nutrition, you'll want to make sure the legumes are the first ingredient listed. Again, if you just happen to like the flavor of beans and lentils (like I do), then follow your palate.
Examples: Simply 7 Lentil Chips & Hummus Chips, Flamous Organic Falafel Chips, Brown Rice & Savory Red Bean Triscuits, Beanitos Bean Chips, Mediterranean Snacks Lentil Crackers
Related: The Best 100-Calorie Snacks
Gas Lamp Popcorn 5. Popcorn:
Who would've thought that one of America's favorite foods was actually something we should be snacking on? Yes, popcorn is, in fact, a whole grain (where the nutritional value starts to crash is when it's coated with fake butter topping). Bagged popcorn isn't exactly a new concept, but snack food companies have continued to expand this segment of the snack market for consumers seeking whole-grain options. Many companies have also taken popcorn beyond the usual buttery options. The variety of flavors now includes everything from classics like Kettle Corn to zanier flavors like Buffalo chicken.
Examples: PIPcorn, Skinny Pop, Gaslamp White Cheddar and Kettle Corn, Halfpops, Orville Redenbacher Ready-to-Eat and Pop Crunch, G.H. Cretors
Which trend are you most excited to try? Any trend you'd like to see become more common among snack foods? Let us know in the comments section!
-By Sherry Rujikarn
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