Peter York on Ads: Orange twisty puff snacks have never seemed so wacky

Nik Naks

Like so many of my chattering class friends I've got an A-level in nutritional hypochondria. We all have these special designer X-ray specs which show you exactly what's in whatever's on our plates. Where you see a nice microwavable convenience supper, I'm looking at refined flour, industrial fats, hydroponically grown low-cost vegetables and the rest.

Like so many of my chattering class friends I've got an A-level in nutritional hypochondria. We all have these special designer X-ray specs which show you exactly what's in whatever's on our plates. Where you see a nice microwavable convenience supper, I'm looking at refined flour, industrial fats, hydroponically grown low-cost vegetables and the rest.

And you can just imagine how we feel about "snacks" - those coloured flavoured polystyrene puffball things in a bag that young people eat. We know the fat's hydrogenated, we know that they've all got every E-number going, but we also know that some of them are cooked in ovens so hot that they develop acrylamides, things as bad as prions, or so they told us a few years back.

And they've got an epic amount of salt, more than your RDA (we all know our three-letter abbreviations). So the idea of even a kiddie-sized packet is a walk on the wild side, the equivalent of 15 Bacardi Breezers in a Nottingham theme pub.

Time was when the makers of these things - mainly consumed by six- to 20-year-olds, with a few older, careless eaters - tried to redeem them by saying they were nutritious or socially useful or eaten by clever people. All this to reassure mums who couldn't have stopped their kids' crisp fixes if they wanted to.

But come Tango and Pepperami ("a bit of an animal") and, above all, Pot Noodle, the effectiveness of a delinquent underclass appeal became conventional wisdom in the sector.

So there we are on a ferry with some faux-demotic young people - three boys and two girls. One of the boys is moaning that the first thing he's going to do when he gets back is to get some decent food.

So it's "Oyoy, bring it on" when someone pitches up with cola and something bagged called Nik Naks - orange twisty puffy sticks in a bag. But one of the boys starts retching, lies back on the table and a furious giant Nik Nak explodes out of his stomach in a shower of orange powder. It squeaks engagingly, then they pump up the volume on Chic's "Le Freak" and they're all well away.

"They're monstrous, they're deformed and available in four stupid flavours. Eat the freak." It's a masterpiece of copywriting and a glorious combination of chemicals, gash horror movies, underage rudery and inspired disco retro. Well done that man with the child in his eyes.

Peter@sru.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
FIFA President Sepp Blatter reacts during a news conference in Zurich June 1, 2011
news
News
people
Life and Style
food + drink
News
peopleKatie Hopkins criticises River Island's 'seize the day' bags for trying to normalise epilepsy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Management, Communications and Fundraising

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission, Benefits, OTE £100k: SThree: ...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?