I don’t want to brag, but being stuck at home for the past five months, I’ve become pretty good at snacking. Too good at snacking, judging from my most recent trip to the scale.
Outstanding makes Pig Out, the plant-based pork rinds. What’s funny to me is that when I’ve mentioned them to other people, they wrinkle their nose in befuddlement and are hesitant to try them. As if gluten-free, non-GMO, soy-free, vegan and certified kosher rinds made mostly from rice, sunflower oil and pea protein is grosser than rinds made from deep-fried pig skin.
Pig Out rinds come in flavors like Original, Hella Hot, Texas BBQ and Nacho Cheese. While the main taste is salty, they are delicious! My wife in particular was hooked on the Hella Hot flavor, lamenting that left to her own devices, she could eat the entire bag. (I could too.)
Meanwhile, Startup CPG is a service that connects emerging CPG brands with each other and investors. The company sent me 25 different products to try out, and these are the ones you should hunt and chow down as soon as you can:
- 12 Tides seaweed snacks. Delicious puffs of organic kelp that are light, airy and satisfying. Plus the packaging it totally compostable.
- Loca plant based nacho sauce. This potato-based cheese spread is akin to the “cheese” you find in a convenience store. I’m not going to lie — it smells to high heaven, but tastes devilishly good!
- Renewal Mill chocolate chip cookies. Made from upcycled okara flour, these cookies are soft and chewy and a perfect sweet treat in the afternoon.
- Kween Granola Butter. A spreadable granola with a lovely cinnamon tinge to it. My only complaint is the texture is a little gritty, but it is a nice sweet counterbalance to the saltiness of a Wheat Thin.
- Jack and Tom jerky. I’m not usually a fan of jackfruit, but prepared and dried in this fashion, this is a great vegan alternative to meat jerky, and the spiciness is powerful, yet playful.
The sad part is that most of these snacks are more expensive than your standard CPG brands. But they are probably better for you (in moderation) and definitely better for the planet. Plus, most of these plant-based alternatives are just getting off the ground now and haven’t scaled up production to bring down prices yet.
But, since it looks like lockdowns won’t be ending anytime soon, it might be high time to invest a little more in your snack game.