10 best snack boxes to bring variety to your tastebuds

If you’re bored of your current snack selection, our picks will inspire you to try something new

Qin Xie@qinxiesays
Saturday 17 April 2021 06:00
<p>From meat lovers to vegans, snack brands have all options covered</p>

From meat lovers to vegans, snack brands have all options covered

We are a nation of snackers.

Whether it’s crisps and nuts, or snack bars and cakes, we love them all – and in the last year, the boredom of lockdown has only driven the snack market to new heights.

In fact, Mintel estimates that the UK savoury snack market alone soared by £173 million in 2020 compared with the previous year, and is now worth around £4.47 billion.

It is, of course, important not to underestimate the importance of nutritionally balanced meals. But sometimes you just need something to lift your spirits, fuel yourself up before a workout, fill the gap before your next meal, or simply a little treat, and that’s where these snack boxes come in.

Whether you’re after something sweet or savoury, we’ve rounded up some of the best snack boxes and bundles around, assessing variety, taste and value for money.

From healthy nibbles to something a little more decadent, here are our top picks to get delivered to your door for 2021.

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You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Nudie Snacks big night in snack box

Nudie’s Big Night In snack box gives you a bumper selection of 16 sweet and savoury options to nibble, and they’re all gluten free and vegan. You get two each of the chilli and lime lentil curls, sundried tomato and garlic quinoa chips and lightly salted hummus chips, but there’s only one each of all the other snacks, so you might just end up fighting for your favourites. That said, bags like the lightly salted roasted corn and toasted coconut chips are easily shareable, if you really wanted to.

The fact that there was almost no repetition is a great boon. It meant that unlike multipacks, where you always save the least-loved flavour to the last, if there was a flavour you didn’t like, you wouldn’t have to eat it again. Instead, we ended up wishing there was more of each flavour. Those chilli and lime lentil curls were light and flavourful and less greasy than a packet of crisps. We also enjoyed crunching through the sour cream and chive flavour roasted broad beans and were surprised by how well cheese and caramelised onion flavour cauliflower crisps worked.

Love Free From gluten free discovery subscription box

We love the idea of Love Free From’s discovery subscription boxes: each month, you get a selection of 12 or more snacks, as well as condiments, cooking/baking ingredients and drinks, from different free-from producers around the world. You can also buy just the one box rather than sign up for a subscription. It’s a great way to try new products that will fit your diet, and the contents of every box is a surprise.

They have three main options – gluten-free, gluten- and oat-free, and gluten- and dairy-free. We tried the gluten-free option and received a bountiful mixture of sweet and savoury snacks as well as a matcha protein mix, spicy arrabbiata sauce, quinoa pasta and hazelnut chocolate spread. The snack selection was a bit hit and miss, though. We had high hopes for the black olive and nori seaweed savoury bar from The Savourists for example, but the residual sweetness made it an unsavoury (sorry) combo. However, Mamma Loretti’s chocolate crema – chocolate cream-filled corn puff fingers – were so good we could have scoffed a couple more in succession. Fortunately, Love Free From provided retailer details and even discount codes for the ones we loved, so we can stock up.

Popcorn Shed The gourmet popcorn tasting club

Popcorn Shed makes gourmet popcorn in snazzy flavours such as pecan pie, cherry bakewell and even blue cheese, and they have a range of snack bundles that lets you mix and match different flavours according to your tastes. We tried The Gourmet Popcorn Tasting Club bundle, which you can get on subscription or buy as a one-off. Although you’re more likely to receive existing flavours, this bundle is also where Popcorn Shed tests out their new flavours which, depending on how much you like surprises, can be quite exciting.

Every month you’ll receive a selection of four mystery flavours in four different sizes: the gourmet popcorn jar (200g), the shed (80g), the snack pack (16g), and the mini pop! bag (22g). We received salted caramel, birthday cake (vanilla cake caramel with sprinkles), say cheese! (cheddar cheese) and white truffle. We were initially apprehensive about having cheese on our popcorn, but say cheese! actually turned out to be our favourite, followed by the white truffle. While we liked the sweet options too, we felt that there were similar, more affordable alternatives on the market that are worth considering.

Squirrel Sisters taster bundle box

The Squirrel Sisters taster bundle is a box of 10 sweet and savoury snacks with nuts at their core; the entire range contains no added sugar and is gluten-free and vegan. For snacking on the go, you have a choice of four chewy snack bar packs – each containing two small bars – flavoured with cacao or peanut, and four small bags of savoury nuts. You also get two sharing packs of cacao-flavoured “natural raw bites”, which are basically the snack bars cut up into bite-size chunks.

The portion sizes of these snacks were spot on if you just wanted to graze rather than stave off hunger. On the savoury side our favourite was the sea salt and apple cider vinegar roasted almonds; each bite gave just a hint of that tartness, never overpowering the flavour of the nut. We didn’t have an outstanding favourite on the sweet side but if a sharing bag (ideally the cacao orange one) was left in front of us, it wouldn’t stay full for long.

The Raw Chocolate Company mixed snack pack

The Raw Chocolate Company produces vegan and gluten-free chocolate treats using organic raw cacao where the beans have been sun dried but not roasted during processing. Raw cacao beans are more earthy and bitter and they’re blended with, in this case, cacao butter and coconut blossom sugar to make a rich dark chocolate.

In the mixed snack pack, you get 10 small bags of raw chocolate coated bites, with almonds, goji berries, mulberries, stem ginger or raisins at their heart. All of them have a dusting of cacao powder on the outside, just like a dark chocolate truffle. There’s a slight crunch as you bite through the bitter chocolate exterior before the sweetness of the fruit or the creaminess of the nut takes over. We think it’s a great one to try for dark chocolate lovers – even though the bags were quite small (28g each), we found the flavour was so intense that we only needed a few bites to feel happy with what we’d snacked on.

Cake or Death surprise box

Cake or Death makes rich, gooey vegan chocolate brownies in jazzy flavours such as salted caramel, peanut butter and coffee bourbon, all dispatched by post from their bakery in east London. There’s no need to settle for just one flavour: it does mixed boxes with the most popular options – like the biscuit box – or you can leave the selection up to them with the surprise box. The brownies come in packs of six or 10, and are wrapped in tissue paper and boxed up in the brand’s signature pink leopard print packages, which make them great for gifting. You can also sign up for a monthly subscription and get a 20 per cent discount on each box.

We plumped for the 10-piece Surprise Box, which came with five different flavours: sea salt, peanut butter, Lotus Biscoff, raspberry and Jammie Dodger (our favourite). Each of the squares measured 6cm by 6cm, which is much smaller than some shop-bought versions, but they’re so decadent that you’ll struggle to have more than one without getting a serious sugar rush. Fortunately, the brownies will last 14 days in the fridge or longer in the freezer. You can also reheat in the microwave for a couple of seconds to serve them as a dessert. As an aside, they’re baked in batches, so stock levels can fluctuate – if you can’t shop them now, it’s well worth coming back later.

Creative Nature ultimate snack taster bundle

Creative Nature’s ultimate snack taster bundle has 11 sweet treats. Seven of these are date-based chewy snack bars in flavours such as salted caramel and spiced apple, while four are “gnawbles” – think Maltesers but with either pea and potato protein puffs or rice balls at their centre rather than malted milk biscuit. All of the snacks are vegan and gluten-, dairy- and nut-free, making these ideal on-the-go options for those with food intolerances.

We loved these gnawbles. Their crunchy centres gave them a savoury finish, which contrasted really nicely with the chocolate coating. We enjoyed the snack bars, too, but they are a lot sweeter. Although they have no added sugar, the bars can contain a lot of natural sugars because of the dates and other dried fruits. The 38g bursting berry blend bar contained the equivalent of 16.1g of natural sugars for example, which is almost three teaspoons, so you might not want to give them to kids.

Perkier variety snack box

Perkier makes high-fibre, protein-packed snack bars that use no palm oil and are gluten-free and suitable for vegans. Their variety box lets you try all eight flavours in their range, which includes highlights such as salted caramel and cacao and Madagascan vanilla with dark chocolate – the fruity cranberry and goji was our favourite.

Once you’ve found your favourite, you can also get boxes with just one or three different flavours. Unlike other snack bars, Perkier doesn’t use trail mix. Instead, it incorporates more unusual ingredients, such as puffed quinoa and chicory root fibre, and sweetens them using date syrup, which is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as iron and potassium. They’re not really flop out in front of the TV snacks, but we think they’re the perfect healthy on-the-go option.

Nourish – grow, cook, enjoy The love you box

The love you box is an eco-friendly giftable bundle for coconut fanatics from Nourish – grow, cook, enjoy. The box contains a mixture of vegan coconut bites and macaroons (the only discernible difference we’ve found between these is the size) in four different flavours. The cacao and vanilla coconut bites come in smaller bags while the raspberry coconut bites and red velvet macaroons are in bigger sharing packs. All of the flavours are organic and free from dairy and gluten, and contain no refined sugar, while the packaging is biodegradable and can be composted at home.

Although we wouldn’t normally open all four at once given they’re all made from coconut, we did for the taste test and found that the flavours were different enough that you might just want to if you need a healthier, shareable snack. The vanilla and red velvet are slightly creamier, which we preferred, because they also contain ground almonds, but the raspberry and cacao complimented the coconut really well and had us coming back for seconds.

The Curators The full collection

The full collection from The Curators is quite a meaty bundle and definitely not suitable for vegetarians or vegans. It comes with two each of 10 different snacks split across biltong, snacking sticks (think Peperami), pork puffs (puffed pork rinds), almonds and peanuts, so there’s plenty of choice. The entire selection is savoury with the exception of the cocoa caramel peanuts.

The biltong and the snacking sticks didn’t really work as a snack for us – they’re not really shareable and we can’t imagine tucking into them on the go. But as an appetiser before a meal, perhaps with a glass of wine, they were great. Our favourites were the pork puffs, which were super light and flavourful. There were four flavours to tuck into – original salted, salt & vinegar, smoky bacon and sweet chilli bbq – and we reckon the last one was the best.

The verdict: Snack boxes

Variety and flavour were key for us for snack bundles. We loved the Nudie Snacks big night in snack box for its sheer variety – there’s something for everyone and something for different times of the day as well. Plus, we felt that it offered really great value for money. Popcorn Shed’s savoury flavours were a surprise hit for us and we really enjoyed rummaging through the Love Free From selection.

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