A number of weeks ago Tiffany told me about a great new snack chip she had while at work, they are called Pop Chips. I’m not big into snacks like this but thought it may be worth a shot, their claim to fame is they aren’t fried, they aren’t baked and they use all natural ingredients – kind of a novel idea! A week ago I was hunkered down in a hotel working and made a run to the grocery store for food to keep me going and I saw a display of Popchips so I picked up a bag.
My first thought is that they are a little pricey for what they are, then again I was in a pricey area so I’ll reserve branding them as expensive until I shop around for them locally. The next thing I noticed is the “share bag” their larger bag, is only 3 ounces, compared to 8.5 ounces or more in regular bags of chips for the same price it makes popchips seem rather expensive. But let’s not hold that against them just yet.
They are healthier, they are using all natural ingredient and due to the way they are processed they are lower in fat. My “go to” chip of choice is Cape Cod Original Chips when I’m going to eat chips, which is pretty infrequently in my life. Comparing the same 1 ounce serving size the Popchips do have 1/2 of the total fat, 4 grams compared to 8 grams from Cap Cod chips and no saturated fat, compared to 1 gram from the Cape Cod chips, score one for Popchips! What does concern me is the sodium, one ounce of Cape Cod original chips have 110mg of sodium compared to a staggering 280mg from the Popchips, score one for Cape Cod. The Popchips have fewer calories coming in at 120 which 35 come from fat compared to 150 calories from the Cape Cod chips which 70 come from fat. It seems the caloric difference is directly tied to the higher fat content of the originals. Cape Cod does offer a Reduced Fat chip and that makes it a much closer battle.
I guess if you count calories the Popchips have an advantage, but the Reduced Fat Cape Cod chips only have 10 calories more. If you are looking for lowest fat, the Popchips do win hands down they are low in fat for a potato chip, even the Reduced Fat Cape Cod’s have 6 grams of a fat per serving compared to Popchips 4 grams. If you’re watching your sodium, avoid Popchips they seem to be just full of it!
How about taste, do they live up to the hype, are they a viable low fat replacement to the regular potato chip? I think the best answer here is maybe? They do taste good, but they are not a regular potato chip, then again they never really claimed to be regular, they are Popchips. If a regular potato chip and a toasted rice cake had a child it would be a Popchip. It tastes like a lighter potato chip but there is a certain toasted taste to them that borders on tasting burnt. The texture is miles off, it reminds me more of a rice cake than a potato chip. While they are all natural they are heavily processed. You’ll notice the image below all of the chips are the same exact size and perfectly round.
Some develop waves and have holes in them but you can clearly see they all came from the same mold. I obviously don’t have access to exactly how they are processed, I suspect they shave, mash or somehow create a potato paste of sorts and then apply their famed heat and pressure to “pop” them in a mold. While it may be all natural ingredient you can tell they are heavily processed. Call me old fashioned but I like natural ingredients as they are provided for us by mother nature. Often the more we do to an ingredient the further we get from it’s original taste, shape, texture, etc… and that appears to the case with Popchips, they sort of taste like a potato, but something is just a miss to my palate.
I think my biggest complaint was the almost burnt taste they had. They were pale and appeared to cooked correctly, but they had a heavily toasted taste to them that wasn’t terrible but it also didn’t make me want to keep eating them. It’s 3 weeks later and I still have 1 serving from the 3 ounce bag left. I wanted to try the original chips first before I attempted any of their flavored chips, I will likely try them again but if my second impression mimics my first it will be my last. I eat potato chips so rarely that when I do I want it to be a potato chip, not mashed paste that is heated and pressurized.
I may be wrong in my theory about how they are processed, however their site is particularly vague and I suspect that my theory is pretty close to accurate. I would love to hear if I’m miles off, so if anyone with insider info reads this please let me know.
I took one final image, a close up to try to capture they texture of these chips – be sure to click the image to see the original size.
Popchips are an interesting concept, but sometimes I just want to eat real things instead of a concept.