Cubicle Cuisine Test: SunChips Original
Frito-Lay is out to convince us that SunChips® is a healthy junk food with “18 grams of whole grains per serving” (translation: that’s 1 of 3 daily whole grain servings recommended by the USDA). Not bad, but is SunChips all that and a bag of chips? We asked our reviewers to try a few.
“A SunChip is like a tortilla chip and a Ruffle had a baby” is how one reviewer put it. They are grainy like tortilla chips, and ridged like Ruffles, but, according to the manufacturer, SunChips are healthier than both. A 1-ounce snack bag has 0 grams of trans fat and cholesterol, 2 grams of fiber, and “less sodium than you’d think” (translation: cute, but they mean 120 mg). The calorie count is 140, total fat is 6 grams and saturated fat is 1 gram. In the same amount, potato chips have 150 calories, 10 grams of fat and 1 grams of saturated fat, while tortilla chips have 140 calories, 7 grams of fat and 1 grams of saturated fat. Tortilla chips have one gram of fiber and 110 mg of sodium. Read the SunChips ingredient list to see how whole corn is the first ingredient: Whole Corn, Sunflower Oil, Whole Wheat, Rice Flour, Whole Oat Flour, Sugar, and Salt. No additives or preservatives - hooray!
Our reviewers tasted SunChips Original, but SunChips also comes in Garden Salsa, French Onion, Harvest Cheddar, and Country Barbecue flavors. This is what they had to day about SunChips:
(1) Describe the taste:
SunChips are grainy, corn-y, wheat-y, salty, and nutty.
(2) Describe the texture:
SunChips are crispy, crunchy, light, easy to chew, and stick in your teeth.
(3) Did you like them?
100% of the tasters liked SunChips! They liked the flavor, texture, saltiness, low calorie count, and health properties (translation: they believe SunChips are healthy whether or not it is true).
(4) What didn’t you like about them?
Some reviewers though SunChips were an overly processed food. Half said SunChips left them feeling thirsty.
(5) Did them satisfy your snack craving?
Over 50% of the reviews said, “No!”, “I was just as hungry as before,” or “I need another bag.” A teenage boy would need to eat several bags.
(6) How does this food compare to similar products?
Most reviewers agreed that SunChips were as good or better than other snack foods.
(7) Would you recommend SunChips?
Half of our reviewers would recommend SunChips and the other half would not. Here are some of the quotes: “I wouldn’t recommend them, but I wouln’t discourage anyone either.” “ I would only recommend the flavored varieties.”
There are also additional customer reviews at Amazon.com.
The bottom line: People seem to like SunChips and they aren’t bad if snack food is important to you. They are really a lot like taco chips, with a little rice flour to make them light. Yes, they contain whole grains, but I can get whole grains from oatmeal, wheat bread, brown rice, and popcorn with less fat and for less money too. SunChips are okay but not all that and a bag of chips.
Question for you:
Would you recommend SunChips?