I Tried It…

…So You Don’t Have To

Lays Poppables Honey BBQ

Have you ever had Lay’s Poppables?  As a light, salty-crunchy type snack, they’re quite enjoyable.  They’re made from extruded potato flakes (much like potato chips that come in a can) that have been shaped into a cage-like shape.  They’re light, crispy, and salty, with a mild but pleasant flavour. They’re a couple of steps away from being an actual potato, so they don’t taste like a potato chip, but sometimes that’s what you’re looking for.  I have tried the Poppables Sea Salt flavour before and enjoyed them, so when I saw the new Honey BBQ flavour, I had to give them a try.

POP FACTSSnack Facts

Nutritionally, compared to regular BBQ chips, you’re actually going to get more bang for your snack from Poppables than from chips.  Now, keeping in mind that neither is a healthy snack option, when you’ve got a salty crave raging and a piece of fruit just isn’t going to cut it, it’s nice to have a better option available.  A serving of Poppables is 50g, or about 50 chips, versus 28g, or 15 potato chips, and 15g of fat vs. 20g in chips that still have a lot fewer actual pieces of snack food. When I tried these, I actually found that 50 chips was way more than I needed or wanted, and had probably satisfied my crunchy-salty crave about halfway through.  

But How Did It Taste?

When it comes to the flavour, it actually comes down to what your expectations are from the name Honey BBQ.  I was expecting a sweet, tangy, tomatoey flavour, much like I’d expect from sweet BBQ wings. I always read the ingredients list carefully because I’m lactose intolerant and there are often milk solids hidden in flavoured snack foods (they help the flavourings adhere to the snacks).  There are lots of sweet ingredients: sugar, corn maltodextrin, brown sugar, honey solids, molasses solids, and stevia. With the first few bites you get that hit of sweet, but its surprisingly subtle. There are a lot a BBQ products that are really, really sweet, but given the list mentioned, this isn’t one of them.  After a few more bites, though, there is a smokiness that comes forward and it stays with you, building on your tongue the way hot spices can. The tanginess that you might expect with BBQ never comes.

After those first few bites, all I got was smoke. Lots and lots of smoke.  The only ingredient that would even hint at smoke flavour is Paprika Extract.  I’m guessing this is smoked paprika and not sweet. I am not averse to a bit of smoky flavour.  I love smoked paprika, cumin, chipotle, and the like. In this instance though, after a dozen bites all I could taste was smoke.  I didn’t even finish the serving portion because it started to taste like I had been licking a campfire. It became overwhelming and unpleasant.  

Maybe if my expectations has been set up to expect the smoky flavour by calling it Smoky Honey BBQ or something, my disappointment wouldn’t have been as palpable.  My younger son also gave them a try. His reaction went along the lines of: “Crunch. Oh, nice. Crunch. Crunch. Wait. Crunch. Crunch. No…Just no. These are weird. Next time just buy the plain ones.”

Buy or Pass By?

So what’s the verdict?  If you love smoke flavour, go for it.  You won’t be disappointed, and if you eat the whole bag at once, it’s not a terrible guilt trip. (Seriously, potato chips—8 Servings in a Family Size bag? Get real!). If you like a little, smoke flavour, buy a bag and it will see you through a few snack attacks.  But if you don’t like smoke and your looking for sweet, give it a pass. You’ll be disappointed.

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