Frito-Lay recently introduced a lineup of baked fruit and veggie chips under the banner “Flat Earth.” One ounce of these chips provides a 1/2 serving of fruits or veggies. Could this be the better-for-you snack chip that actually tastes good? The one that succeeds where so many others have failed? We aimed to find out.
Flat Earth Baked Crisps come in 6 varieties. We sampled three: Farmland Cheddar Baked Veggie Crisps; Apple Cinnamon Grove Baked Fruit Crisps; and Tangy Tomato Ranch Veggie Crisps.
In addition to the 1/2 serving of real fruit or vegetables claim, Flat Earth touts that the chips are “naturally baked,” and a good source of vitamin A (Farmland Cheddar) or vitamin C (Apple Cinnamon Grove). The Tomato Ranch is a good source of both A and C. The chips have zero grams of trans fat and contain no preservatives.
NOT “empty calories”
So they’ve definitely got some good things going for them. These nutrition benefits are not common to snack chips, that’s for sure. As one of our panelists noted, these are NOT “empty calorie” chips. The Nutrition Facts panel has some real numbers, instead of the parade of zeroes found on most snack chip labels.
Taste remains king
As usual, it all comes down to taste. Are these better-for-you chips tasty enough, crispy enough, satisfying enough to pass muster with kids, teens, ballgame watchers, and other diehard snack lovers?
We put them to the test in The Food Channel test kitchens, with chefs and other foodies.
To start with, we love the packaging. It looks “healthy” and “down to earth.” The flying pig logo is a great way to quickly communicate that these chips constitute a real breakthrough—a promise to deliver flavor that is indeed “impossibly good.” Another plus: the nutritional benefits and ingredients are clearly labeled.
Do they live up to the promise?
All the chips have a hearty crunch to them. They’re nice and thick, not wimpy thin chips. They’d probably hold up well as a dip chip, although that might undermine their better-for-you aspect.
The verdict on flavor was overwhelmingly positive. The flavors are bold, bright, and natural tasting. Each person had different favorites from among the three flavors we tried. Some liked the Cheddar flavor best, some preferred the Apple Cinnamon. But the Tangy Tomato was well liked, too.
Would we sit down in front of the TV with a bag of these? Yes. Do they have the cravability of regular full-fat potato chips? Well, of course not. Frito-Lay needn’t worry that these crisps will dent their sales of Lay’s Potato Chips.
But if you’re looking for a better-for-you alternative to empty-calorie snacks, Flat Earth crisps are a fine choice. In our opinion, they taste quite a bit better than the spate of baked and reduced-fat chips that currently line the snack aisle shelves.
Give them a try, and let us know what YOU think.
For more product information, you may visit the Flat Earth website.