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Kelloggs Special K Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar Cracker Crisps

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1 Review

Manufacturer: Kellogg's / Type: Crisps

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      01.07.2013 20:40
      Very helpful



      Very salty and vinegary crisps

      ===Losing the Pounds===

      Since we got back from holiday at the start of May, Allan and I have been on a diet. At first it seemed like a hassle but now it's almost second nature to go for healthier choices. In fact, we got a big bag of sweets to share not too long ago and ended up throwing them out as neither of us wanted to eat them when we sat down to them. Having lost just under a stone and a half in a month and a half, we've been incredibly encouraged by the stuff we are now eating, even though a lot of it is still the stuff we love to eat. That does come with some substitutes however. Allan loves crisps. He's a total crisp fiend at the best of times. As such we needed to find a crisp that wasn't going to tip the scales too much. Thankfully he stumbled across Special K Cracker Crisps in his work's vending machine and came home begging to stock up on some packets so he could take some to work instead of paying the extortionate vending machines. We bought all three flavours that were available and tried them all out.

      ===Kellogg's a bit Special===

      Kellogg's made the Special K brand by which started off with the healthy cereal of the same name. It has less calories than cornflakes it might even have some fruit in it, but that might just be my memory playing tricks on me! Kellogg's have since added other things to the Special K brand which are all lighter alternatives to fatty snacking choices which is a totally awesome thing. The incredibly well known Kellogg's were the first company to make Cornflakes. The reasons for doing so were incredibly amusing if not somewhat questionable: Dr John Harvey Kellogg, the founder, believed a bland diet would stop the urge to do dirty things to your nether regions without the involvement of others and invented cornflakes as a suitably bland foodstuff entirely by accident in 1895. He began feeding them to his patients in the sanatorium/health resort he ran in Michigan and (for want of a better phrase) they went down rather well so he decided to mass market them. Since then the company has expanded into less bland foods, adding a bit of sugar to stuff and have wound up with quite a few well known brands.

      If you wish to contact them the following methods are available:

      Kellogg's Consumer Services,
      P.O. Box 356
      WA4 6XY

      0800 626 066 (8am - 6pm Monday to Friday)


      ===Boxing Clever===

      We discovered quite quickly that these crisps do not live in bags like all their friends even though they have muscled in on the crisps isle in our local Asda. Kellogg's have instead done what they do best and popped them inside a cardboard box in a foil bag, making these look much more like cereal and much less like crisps. The front of the box will tell you that Salt and Vinegar flavour cracker crisps come to only 95 calories per serving (which is equal to 21 crisps or 23g). That adds up to only 4 points on the Scottish Slimmer's diet we are on which is a good thing. Most other packets of crisps come in at double that. If you are counting just the calories, then you'll do well with these things, being that they are so low. Most other bags of crisps come in near the 200 calories mark. You'd also be interested to note that the sweet chilli cracker crisps are a whole calorie less per serving than these ones. Bizarre.

      The boxes are all quite similar. They have a look of diet food about them with the light colours that are used to indicate the flavours. The Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar box (how posh!) looks especially healthy with the airy blue colour they have used. I'm not sure I like how healthy it looks but that's just me being weird. The picture on the front is of a few of the crisps in question stacked in a tower, the same as the other boxes. Obviously only impossibly light crisps could be stacked in such a manner. Grumble. The box really does shout "I'm on a diet" to anyone who cares to look at it. Gross.


      Due to a little misinformation Allan had given me, I had assumed I wasn't going to like these as I thought they would taste like snack-a-jacks. I loathe snack-a-jacks. Allan had thought they were made of rice due to being called crackers. I hadn't been looking forward to these at all. Thankfully, they are made out of Tapioca rather than rice as we originally thought. That's the same stuff that Skips are made out of. With that little tid-bit of information you might assume that these crisps will melt in your mouth and disappear in seconds without even a little crunch like I did. I really should learn not to assume. The crunch is definitely there. It's even quite a satisfying one. The feeling doesn't really match a real potato crisp, but it really isn't far off it, leaving me a rather happy bunny.

      ===Hey, smelly!===

      The smell of the Salt and Vinegar didn't appeal to me at all. It was incredibly strong and almost overpowering to the point of making me cough a little if I inhaled too closely. Mind you, that's sort of par for the course with salt and vinegar crisps and me. I'd still say it's one of the stronger smelling salt and vinegar crisps available out there.

      The flavour of these is much as I would have expected. They are incredibly salty and incredibly vinegary all at the same time. The smell really does give you an idea of how strong the flavour is on these crisps. I'd say it's a generic flavour that all salt and vinegar crisps seem to have in varying degrees of strength. This one, like the smell, could probably win the cup for the strongest flavoured Salt n Vinegar crisps. Is that a good thing? Yes and no. If I'm in the mood for salt and vinegar then it's totally acceptable. If you aren't in the mood to be kicked in the face with the flavour then step away. If you eat more than one crisp at a time the flavour can become too much. I once made the mistake of tipping the leftovers from my little bag I had brought into my mouth and nearly died from the salt overload. It's crazy. If you are a Salt and Vinegar fan then I'd give them a bash.

      Before trying any of the flavours I had worried that I wouldn't feel full after these. Most packets of crisps weigh around 35 to 45 grams but each serving suggests only 23g. I wasn't convinced that they'd keep me satisfied for very long. Thankfully the salt and vinegar, like the other flavours, really do keep me full till the next meal. The strength of the flavour alone is enough to make your mouth not want much else in it for a while.

      ===Ups and Downs===

      Each box has 100g of crisps in it and it suggests that each serving is 23g, so that's 4.3 servings/equivalent bags a box. As they are all stored in one big bag inside the box, as soon as you open the bag, the freshness can start to go. If you don't intend to eat them fairly soonish then that can start to compromise the freshness of your treat. Thankfully I've found that over the course of a week they don't go too soft or unappealing as long as you fold the top over on the foil bag. As there are two of us eating the crisps there isn't a lot of chance for them to go stale anyway.

      Another slight downside is that the foil bag is not recyclable. I'm a bit of a recycling fiend when I'm not feeling lazy and the kitchen is tidy enough to faff about with wrappers and cleaning tins out so it upsets me that the bag needs to go to the bin. Some people may not mind though. As if to apologise for the bag, the box is entirely recyclable. I guess half of it being recyclable is better than nothing!

      One upside of the boxes is that it makes them slightly easier to store. I've had many incidents with people's crisp cupboards before where opening causes you to be attacked by a million bags of crisps on their way into their new found freedom on the plains of the kitchen floor. The boxes stop that happening entirely. It does mean, however, that you need to have somewhere available to store them as they can't really be shoved in in the same manner that bags of crisps can be. Overall though, it's a much neater way of doing it.

      ===No death please!===

      If you are unlucky enough to swell and bloat at awkward moments or even keel over dead whenever you come in contact with certain foodstuffs, then you'll probably want to keep a keen eye on the list of ingredients. If not, be free, eat what you will with a joyus and fear free attitude! For those who fall into the former camp, here's what's in the box:

      Tapioca Starch, Dried Potato, Wheat Flour, Salt & Balsamic Vinegar Seasoning(Lactose{from Milk}, Sugar, Acidity Regulator{Sodium Diacetate}, Salt, Flavourings(contains Barley), Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Balsamic Vinegar Powder, Rapeseed Oil, Dried Tamarind Extract, Yeast Extract, Black Pepper, Stabiliser{E450a}, Antioxidant{E304}), Sunflower Oil, Maize Flour, Oat Fibre, Salt, Emulsifier(E471).

      You'll be able to see that there are milk products, in there as well as gluten containing products so this product is not suitable for Vegans or those who are Lactose intolerant but it's totally fine for those of the Vegetarian persuasion.

      If you are keeping your eye on EVERYTHING nutrition based then the guideline daily amounts box is very clear on the front bottom left side of the box. From this you will see that your 21 crisp/ 23g serving of crisps includes the 95 calories it tells you about at the top of the box which is 5% of your GDA. Sugar comes in at 2g per serving (2% of your GDA). Fat is 2g or 3% of your GDA with saturates sitting at 0.3g (2% of your GDA). Lastly salt is 0.6g per serving which is 10% of your GDA. This, as you may expect, has the highest Salt content of all three flavours so might not be great if you want a lower salt intake.

      ===Cracking or Crackers?===

      Price wise, these boxes of crisps usually retail at 1.99; that translates to 50p per serving/ bags worth. That is better than the 60p per bag Allan is paying from his work's vending machine but it is not really great when you compare it to other multipacks which come in around the 25p-30p mark such as McCoys, Quavers and Skips. Kellog's are taking the opportunity to overcharge you for your premium diet food. On the whole though they are a good option for people on diets and if you aren't snuffling your way through a box at a time then hopefully the costs won't be too hard to bear. If you aren't on a diet, however, you might be tempted to go elsewhere simply due to the savings you could make.

      Thankfully the price DOES drop occasionally to a mere £1 per box which brings it right down into the 25p per serving range. We tend to only go for the boxes that are on special and not all the flavours are always on the special offer at the same time so it's a good idea to keep your eye out for them

      ===My Verdict===

      These crisps are alright. I'm not a big fan of salt and vinegar at the best of times and the strong flavour can sometimes put me off. When they are on offer, however, the price is definitely good. Otherwise I'd probably avoid them even though they are filling and low on the calories. I've grown to love the other flavours whereas I've grown to tolerate this flavour. As such I'm giving it three stars out of five, one less than its brothers due to the flavour that I find can be overpowering. Still, if you are a fan of salt and vinegar crisps then you'll probably enjoy these a lot.


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