Product Type: Snack a Jacks Snacks
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A Health-Conscious "Nacho Cheese" Fix
Snack A Jacks Jumbo Rice Cakes Cheese
Member Name: Hishyeness
Snack A Jacks Jumbo Rice Cakes Cheese
Date: 17/07/09, updated on 17/07/09 (541 review reads)
Advantages: Good taste. Quite more-ish.
Disadvantages: MSG. Sticks to teeth.
This is a review of cheese-flavoured rice cakes. That said, allow me to be blunt. I don't eat these sorts of things out of choice. I'd much rather be eating nacho cheese Doritos with copious amounts of guacamole and salsa, however, a dedicated regime of doing exactly that (and oh so much more) saw me balloon to 25 stone not so long ago, so quaffing fried corn chips is no longer an option.
However, having spent most of my formative years in the junk food Mecca of the USA, its not easy to quit the diabolically addictive artificial flavour that is "nacho cheese" - which has always been - in my book at least - the snack food industry's secret weapon against dieters. As such, when I discovered that this pernicious day-glow orange concoction was adorning "Snack a Jacks" idea of edible Styrofoam, I was mildly excited.
PACKAGING & PRICE
These jumbo, Cheese flavour Snack a Jacks come in a bright yellow and orange plastic wrapper containing a stack of twelve disc-shaped wholegrain rice and corn cakes, each weighing in at a feather-light ten (10) grams. I bought mine at Tesco, where they normally retail at £1.18, but at the time of writing there is currently an offer on for two for £2 which includes all the "jumbo" varieties (i.e. Cheese, Caramel, Chocolate Chip and Salt & Vinegar).
The best before date and nutritional information is clearly and boldly printed on the side of the package, as is company information, a website address and a quality promise. A fairly robust twist tie is provided, and you are encouraged to re-seal the packaging tightly to stop the cakes from going stale and chewy.
That would be all well and good, but for the fact that it's virtually impossible to open these things by hand without the contents either exploding out in various directions, or ripping the package such that major surgery (of the duct tape variety) would be needed to make it airtight again. I would suggest scissors. The plastic packaging can be recycled.
NUTRITION & INGREDIENTS
Snack a Jacks are a dieter's friend. Each "cake" has only 38 calories, 0.3 grams of fat, 8.1g of carbohydrates and 0.15g of salt. They count as 2 "Syns" each on the Slimming World plan. It is suitable for coeliacs and vegetarians, but not for vegans as it contains milk products in the cheese flavouring.
The cake is made up of 44% wholegrain rice, an indeterminate percentage of maize, cheese flavourings, and sunflower oil. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is used as a flavour enhancer, and this may put some people off, as it has been the subject of health studies and the source of some controversy.
APPEARANCE & TASTE
The cheese flavouring liberally coats only one side of the cake, and is that trademark powdery lurid orange colour. The sharp, slightly pungent aroma is reminiscent of cheese Doritos with a hint of butter popcorn. The obverse is a cream colour flecked with yellow areas (rice and corn obviously).
It feels like a bit like eating compressed popcorn.
When fresh, it has a substantial crunch to it with a pleasant, very more-ish taste. The cheese is not overpowering and combines nicely with predominantly "corny" taste. However, there is a slightly gluten-like, cloying residue that stays in the mouth for a little while after eating, which I would put down to the MSG. The other down-side is that bits often get stuck in the molars and can be annoying to try and prise out.
Despite my initial reservations, I found these "cakes" to be relatively inoffensive. They don't set the world alight and are not a patch on the real thing, but they are not a bad substitute if you're looking for a healthier, calorie conscious nacho cheese "hit" every now and again.
© Hishyeness 2009
Summary: Not bad, but not great either.