Snack Review: Spud Crunch Salt and Pepper
So I’m walking through the Utah State University student center the other day and I spot a crowd of people gathered by the bookstore. Thinking it was one of those fight circles that you only ever see in movies, I immediately rushed over, anxiously awaiting the prospect of some dude getting jacked up. Alas, I should have known better. After all, what can draw a crowd of college students into a frenzy more than free food? (Hmmmm, come to think of it, don’t answer that question) The particular culprit in this case? A strange and never-before-seen snack called Spud Crunch.
Seneca Farms is probably better known for their Apple Chips, but the Spud Crunch Line is among several other “healthier” and alternative style snacks the Marion, New York company produces. The crunchers — as I’ve taken to calling them — are described thusly:
Cut from whole fresh Russet potatoes, skin and all, these delicious potato bites are then lightly crisped until they are a crunchy golden brown. No matter which “crunchy” flavor you prefer, the natural “potato” flavor comes through.
Color me intrigued. Like any self-respecting cheapskate would do, I grabbed a couple (or 10) bags of these little chip-like snacks, and eagerly rushed off to try them. I had samples of both the Original flavor as well as the Salt and Pepper flavor. I was not disappointed. First off let me say that the description offered is spot on. Structured like little crackers, they have the texture and oil-saturated color of a fine kettle chip, and were dotted with a thick black pepper seasoning blend just like on the bag. They had a great crunch like a kettle chip, and retained an amazing amount of potato flavor. I loved how some pieces came fully dotted with the skin, which survived the frying process to yield a striking and bold Russet potato flavor.
The taste was exceptional, with the strong black pepper flavor playing in perfect unison to the salty and firm Russet backdrop. Complimentary notes of a stronger and hotter white pepper and jalapeno blend followed on the back-end, while the clean taste of sunflower and safflower oil gave the crunchy spuds a ‘lickable’ quality. I have not had TGI Friday’s french fries since childhood, but for some reason the strong black and white pepper notes — coupled with the skin-on Russet potatoes used — gave these spuds a delectable french fry taste that reminded me of my childhood favorite fry. I have yet to see these in stores, yet from my limited experience with the samples of the Salt and Pepper variety, I would highly suggest this product. Conveniently packed in 100-calories packs (with just 5 grams of fat and none of it saturated) they make a great lunchbox side item, and more than satisfy my craving for a crunchy, fried snack. My only complaint is that the .7 oz sample bag yielded a fairly small batch, although you can apparently buy larger bags online. Provided, of course, I don’t buy them all first.
Pros: Amazing and pure Russet potato flavor. Strong notes of black pepper and sunflower oil, with oustanding crunch of a kettle chip. Good back heat and savory quality. Only 5 grams of fat per 20 oz. serving. No saturated fat. Tastes like a good french fry without being disgustingly high in calories.
Cons: Tough to find. Reletivly small serving size for 100-calorie bag. Currently running low on samples.
Price: About 35 cents per bag if ordered online (before tax and shipping - actual retail cost unknown)
Overall GrubGrade: 9.25/10
More Info: SenecaSnacks.com
Spud Crunch Salt and Pepper