Product Review: Cauliflower Puffs
Ok let me start by saying that yes I know snacks wrapped in plastic or foil are hardly environmentally friendly and often not nutritious. And in an ideal world you wouldn't eat snacks other than whole fruit, nuts or veggies. But the world isn't always ideal and sometimes you just need a grab and go snack and this is where something like these might be an option. So let's take a closer look and see if they are worth your hard earned dollary doos.
I'll also kick off with saying that I was highly sceptical of these when I saw them on the shelf albeit intrigued. I was expecting little dehydrated cauliflower florets and was surprised to see they are simply an extruded snack (extrusion is a food processing method of combining ingredients into a desired shape, like Twisties or Cheerios). They have been so processed the only thing they have in common with the cauliflower they were made from is they are sort of a similar colour (ok I'm stretching here but as you can see from the photo not very cauliflower-esk).
Let's break down the claims:
Made with real cauliflower - 54% cauliflower is stated on the ingredients
Whole grain - they are making this claim as the puffs are a mix of cauliflower and rice. Rice is a grain, but white rice (which I'm assuming was used in this product although it's not declared) is not a whole grain as the outer bran layer has been removed. There isn't any regulation over the claim 'whole grain' and this is an example of why you should be wary of the claim unless they have a certificate from the Grains and Legume Nutrition Council
Gluten Free - great for those who have coeliac disease or gluten intolerance but otherwise doesn't mean anything
Healthier Chip - see comparison table below. I'd actually say they are on par with regular chips. With only slightly less energy, similar sodium and slightly more saturated fat there isn't much difference. Also don't forget potato chips are made from a vegetable, although potato doesn't sound as healthy as cauliflower, the humble spud is still worthy of it's vegetable status. The only part that would make this puff 'healthier' would be higher fibre but I wouldn't say that's worth the energy or the sodium and there are better places to get your fibre from.
Great source of fibre, vitamin C and protein - Vitamin C isn't listed on the nutrition information panel so there is no way of knowing if this product has any vitamin C. However, given vitamin C begins to break down in temperatures as low as 30oC, I'd doubt there was much left. As for protein and fibre, while the puffs have some fibre they aren't the great source as claimed and they don't have enough protein for a source claim.
We've added some superfoods - again there isn't any regulation over the term superfood and I'm struggling to see anything superfood in this product.
Leaving no guilt - guilt isn't an ingredient and should never be attached to any food.
Cauliflower (54%), Rice, Rice Bran Oil, Sea Salt (1%).
Positives: Clean ingredient list, no additives, preservatives or colours and 54% cauliflower and a source of fibre.
Negatives: Made in Thailand - food miles here wouldn't be great, high in sodium and moderately high in saturated fat. As you can see above, the nutritional information is far from a cauliflower! Expensive at $4 a pack they are almost triple the price of regular chips.
Flavour - very oily tasting but flavour is ok.
Verdict: These puffs using the hype around cauliflower to create a health halo where it really isn't warranted. If you want a snack, by all means, give these a try but treat them as you would any other chip and don't be fooled into thinking they are any healthier. In other words enjoy occasionally as a joy food not a health food.
If you want a snack and love cauliflower, try out my cauliflower bites instead. They have no added salt, use cauliflower in its natural state and are cooked in EVOO.