TRIED & TESTED / When it's crunch time: Do you know your cheese and onions? Our taste panel tests leading crisp brands

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Last year this country scrunched its way through pounds 936 million worth of crisps - more than 3 1/2 billion packets - and every year we eat more. The most enthusiastic crunchers are children, so we recruited a panel of young snackers. Their off-duty favourites include Phileas Fogg Corn Chips, Salt 'n' Vinegar Hula Hoops, Chip Sticks, Frazzles, Nice 'n' Spicy Nik Naks, Prawn Cocktail

Skips and Pickled Onion Monster Munch and the improbable Smoky Spider Monster Munch. We concentrated on cheesy crisp flavours: old favourite Cheese and Onion has been joined by a range of sophisticated newcomers, rippled, puffed, hand-cooked, thick-cut, flavoured with cream cheese, or with chives and spices. Read on to find out which are most welcome in the lunchbox.

THE EXPERT PANEL

The Chambers family: Louise (11) and Kevin (9). The Dhingra family: Surjit (16) and Rupa (11) and their cousin Rupinder (15). The Levis family: Ruth (14), John (13), Michael (11) and Huw (9). The McKane family: Camilla (16), Sophie (14) and Felicity (11). The Norton family: Henrietta (10) and Freddie (6).

THE TEST

Each family marked the crisps out of 10 for flavour, crunchiness and size and shape. Scores were converted into a best-buy star rating.

***BRANNIGAN'S CREAM

CHEESE & CHIVE

32p/37g pack

Scored well all round.

'Really nice flavour, although the aftertaste wasn't that nice,' said Ruth. 'Brilliant flavour] The taste stays all the time you are chewing them,' according to Freddie.

*FRISPS CHEESE & ONION

23p/28g pack

Rippled texture was popular, scored well for crunch, less well forflavour.

'Nice and light,' said Camilla. Henrietta was dubious: 'Strong flavour, but I'm not sure I like it.'

*GOLDEN WONDER CHEESE & ONION

21p/30g pack

Scored quite well all round.

'Quite crunchy, full flavour,' said John. 'Very crunchy,' said Huw. 'Good shape and quite big,' said Ruth. 'What a crisp should be,' commented devoted fan Rupa. 'Ordinary,' concluded Freddie. 'Run-of-the-mill, hazardous to the gums,' according to Sophie.

KETTLE CHIPS JALAPENO JACK

49p/50g pack

Too strong for younger testers.

'Fresh, a very hot flavour, nice and crunchy,' according to Sophie. 'They are very potatoey, like crisps should be,' commented Henrietta. But most of our testers found the strong spicy flavour too overpowering: 'Awful,' said Louise.

**KETTLE CHIPS NEW YORK CHEDDAR

49p/50g pack.

Scored well for crunchiness andshape; more popular with our older testers.

'Self-indulgent]' said Camilla. 'Greasy,' according to Sophie, Ruth and Surjit.' If you just suck them you can taste real cheese]' discovered Henrietta. Too spicy for Huw; 'too big for my mouth,' complained Rupa.

KP CHEESE & ONION

21p/26g pack

Scored poorly on flavour.

Sophie found them 'wholly disappointing'. 'Not much flavour at all - like ready salted with a bit of cheese,' said Ruth. 'A bit boring,' said Kevin. 'You can hardly taste the cheese,' complained Henrietta. 'I wouldn't want these in my lunchbox,' said Freddie.

****McCOYS .TX.- TRADITIONAL CHEESE

32p/40g pack

Scored well all round; our testers' top choice.

'They were lovely,' said Kevin; 'really crunchy,' according to Felicity; 'very tasty' said Louise. 'Loved them,' said Ruth.

**ROYSTERS CHEESE & CHIVES

25p/28g pack

Unusual shape and bubbled

texture were popular.

'They hada very interesting texture, the shape was excellent,' said Sophie. Henrietta felt their flavour didn't match up to their looks. 'Really nice flavour,' said Ruth.

SMITHS CHEESE & ONION

21p/28g pack

Scored well on crunchiness, poorly on flavour.

'Pale and tasted of old cheese,' according to Sophie. 'Unless you lick them hard you can't taste them,' said Henrietta. 'What I eat a lot,' admitted Rupa. 'Very crunchy but not much taste,' said Huw.

**ST MICHAEL CHEESE & ONION

27p/40g pack

Scored very well for crunchiness, less well for size and shape.

'The crispiest crisps,' commented Freddie. 'They are still crunchy on the eighth or ninth chew,' agreed Henrietta. 'Very cheesy,' said Ruth. 'I think they're too cheesy,' said Huw.

***WALKERS CHEESE & ONION

21p/30g pack

Scored well all round.

'Very good and I would definitely buy them,' said Huw. 'Distinctive flavour with more onion than cheese,' observed John; 'too oniony,' said Felicity. 'Very crispy,' said Rupinder.

Next week: Alarm clocks

(Photographs omitted)

Comments