REVIEW: Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag

What is Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn?

Kicking off the year strong, Frito-Lay created a Sam’s Club exclusive variety of its popular Smartfood Popcorn that uses the classic Doritos Nacho Cheese seasoning. It offers the flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos, but without the stained fingers you might get with the chips.

How is it?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bowl

The flavor of Nacho Cheese Doritos is strongly present but without the expected crunch of the tortilla chip or corn flavor. Admittedly, it was a little jarring at first. Once my mouth and brain took a moment to adjust expectations, it was a very delicious snack. Without the chip’s corn flavor, you get a chance to really taste the different elements of the nacho cheese seasoning. The garlic, onion, and paprika shine the most, with the cheese flavor coming in subtle at the end.

Anything else you need to know?

Smartfood Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn Bag Back

Because this is available at Sam’s Club, the item is over 2.5 times bigger than the standard Smartfood bag. If you don’t want to open it yet, you can always use it as a lower back pillow when you’re sitting at your desk.

Conclusion:

Smartfood’s Doritos Nacho Cheese Popcorn is an all-around enjoyable item. It’s a nice blend of Smartfood Popcorn and Doritos Nacho Cheese that feels new, but familiar. I could absolutely see it being a hit at parties or as a new snack to break up the normal noshing. Hopefully, it does well enough that we get other crossover flavors in the future. Maybe some Smartfood Flamin’ Hot Dill Pickle Popcorn?

Purchased Price: $5.28
Size: 17 oz bag
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/3 cup) 160 calories, 11 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 1 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Popcorn

Smartfood Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Popcorn Bag

What is Smartfood Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Popcorn?

Smartfood welcomes fall with a limited time cinnamon sugar doughnut-flavored popcorn.

How is it?

I had a sinking suspicion that this popcorn was last year’s Christmas themed-Snickerdoodle Smartfood with a new name and an earlier release date — and I was 100% correct. This red and shiny bag of delight tastes identical to 2020’s green and shiny bag of delight, and I love it just as much as I loved it last year; if anything, it might be slightly better.

Smartfood Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Popcorn Pour

The doughnut dust is slightly sweet and buttery with a rich and aromatic cinnamon taste that perfectly fits next to a popcorn kernel’s earthy crunch. The pieces are uniformly coated and have a fresh snap to them, with the cinnamon sugar flavor really bursting through on each bite.

Although this is Smartfood’s second doughnut release, it’s important to note that this is not a coated corn adjacent to caramel corn (the glaze in the Krispy Kreme version) but simply a powder, like Smartfood’s classic White Cheddar.

Anything else you need to know?

Smartfood Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Popcorn Closeup

I brought this up in a short review on Instagram last year, but no one else seemed to notice: this popcorn seasoning is Cheetos Sweetos dust. I knew instantly because I ADORE Sweetos and could recognize that sweet cinnamon-y cheetle anywhere (I’ve had over ten bags since their inception), and this year I was able to confirm it. For the first time ever, Cheetos’ Bag of Bones is available in Cinnamon Sugar (aka spooky Sweetos), and the ingredients check out – brown sugar, spices (including cinnamon), buttermilk, and molasses – they’re the same.

Conclusion:

Smartfood cinnamon sugar-flavored popcorn, whether it’s supposed to taste like a doughnut or cookie, is absolutely delicious. It’s a higher volume and lower calorie way to get my Sweetos fix, and while it may not have the same oily fatty airy crunch of a puffed Cheeto, it has the satisfying salty snap of popcorn, and I’m already trying to hunt down my next bag.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 oz bag
Purchased at: ampm
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/2 cups – 28 grams) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Snickerdoodle Popcorn

Smartfood Snickerdoodle Popcorn Bag

What is Smartfood Snickerdoodle Popcorn

From the pre-popped popcorn giant Smartfood comes Snickerdoodle, a “limited holiday flavor” meant to capture the magical, Home Ec essence of buttery cinnamon-sugar cookies. It is not Smartfood’s only sweet popcorn offering. Its regular lineup includes kettle corn and a caramel/cheddar combo. But it ties with this year’s earlier offerings of Caramel & Cinnamon Apple Mix and Cap’n Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix in terms of ambitiousness.

How is it?

Perfectly mediocre, I’m afraid. While the concept is a wonderful one — soft, warm, cinnamon blasted cookies in popcorn form! — the execution is lackluster. There is no uniformity, really, with about every tenth piece achieving a perfect nirvana of true Snickerdoodle bliss.

Smartfood Snickerdoodle Popcorn Seasoning

The pieces that escape the cinnamon-sugar bath are bland and unseasoned, small, chewy bits of lightly salted styrofoam. Also disappointing is the lack of a discernible butter profile, a key component of the cookie experience.

Anything else you need to know?

Smartfood White Cheddar is wonderful, so I had high hopes for this. Alas, my heart was broken. Additionally, I had no idea that the brand also has Hot Buffalo and Sour Cream & Onion versions. Are these any good? I guess that’s more of a “anything else *I* need to know.”

Conclusion:

Lots of moderately sized cities seem to have “gourmet” popcorn shops these days, and, in my experience, most of these have some riff on the “cinnamon toast” popcorn variety. So do yourself a favor and get a bag of that, instead. Chances are, you’ll be much happier.

If you don’t have a gourmet popcorn shop, you should open one. And if you don’t want to do that, maybe go with a bag of Pop Secret and hit it with some of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust we recently reviewed. I feel like that would still beat this.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 6.25 oz bag
Purchased at: Hy-Vee
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2.5 cups) 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 gram of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Caramel & Cinnamon Apple Mix Popcorn

Smartfood Caramel  Cinnamon Apple Mix

What is Smartfood Caramel & Cinnamon Apple Mix Popcorn?

It’s a new seasonal mix that combines caramel popcorn with cinnamon apple-flavored popcorn. While the cinnamon apple is a new flavor, the caramel one can be found in Smartfood’s Caramel & Cheddar Mix Popcorn. According to the folks at Frito-Lay, it’ll be available during the fall and winter months.

How is it?

Well, it depends on how you eat it. Much like Smartfood’s Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix that came out during the summer, I had to be mindful of what I pulled out of the bag.

Smartfood Caramel  Cinnamon Apple Mix Closeup

There are two types of pieces — lightly seasoned apple cinnamon kernels and heavily coated caramel kernels. Visually, the ratio looks like it’s two apple cinnamon kernels for every one caramel.

Although there are more of them, try to avoid eating only the apple cinnamon pieces because their flavor is too faint. They’re so unsatisfying that if someone gave me a bag of only those kernels, I’d hand the bag back to them, remove them from my holiday card list forever, block them on Facebook, and spurn any future greetings from them in public.

However, when eaten with the caramel-coated popcorn, the apple cinnamon flavor is exponentially better, making it hard to put down the bag. There’s some seasoning on the confection coated pieces, but they’re there because they happen to share the same bag with the other. There’s also a pleasant butteriness that makes my mind think pie crust. So, yes, this tastes like apple pie-flavored popcorn.

Anything else you need to know?

If you ever wanted to huff an apple pie, but couldn’t because of the logistics of it, this bag will help you accomplish that. It smells so wonderful that the scent should be available as a candle because strapping this bag to my face using binder clips and a rubber band is probably not safe.

Along with this seven-ounce bag with a $3.99 suggested retail price, there’s also a two-ounce bag with a $1.89 suggested retail price. But don’t mess around with the smaller one. Go for the bigger bag. Your mouth won’t regret it.

Conclusion:

I love Smartfood’s Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix, but I love this Caramel & Cinnamon Apple Mix more. I’m disappointed it’s seasonal. But since it tastes like apple pie, it could come back during the Fourth of July-apple pie season.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product. Thanks, Frito-Lay! Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 7 oz bag
Purchased at: Received from Frito-Lay
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 1/2 cups) 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Smartfood Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix

Smartfood Cap n Crunch s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix Bag

When I first heard about Smartfood’s Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix, I thought, “Why isn’t there a Cap’n Crunch Kettle Corn Mix?”

But after putting more thought than anyone should about the idea, I realized, “Do I REALLY want popcorn kernel hulls lodged into whatever scratches are made by the Cap’n Crunch cereal?”

Nope.

This less hurtful snack combines Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries from Quaker, owned by PepsiCo, with berry-flavored popcorn from Smartfood, also owned by PepsiCo. Because of the added kernel seasoning, it would be difficult to recreate this combo after its limited time is up with merely a bag of plain microwave popcorn and box of Oops All Berries.

But this is tasty enough that it should come back, or be a permanent addition to the Smartfood lineup.

Smartfood Cap n Crunch s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix Bag Closeup

Sadly, the popcorn itself isn’t colored like rainbow popcorn. Instead, at a quick glance, they look like plain popcorn. But there is a seasoning layer that makes the popped kernels look like they spent some time suntanning on the deck of the S.S. Guppy. That coating provides a noticeable amount of berry flavor and light saltiness. But it’s not enough to make the popcorn alone a satisfying snack or a product that should be added to the Smartfood lineup.

The Crunch Berries amp up the berry flavor to a level you’d get if you were, well, eating Crunch Berries cereal. I know. It’s a little anticlimactic. Maybe if I rephrase it with ship-speak? The cereal’s flavor hits the bow, stem, port, and starboard sides of my tongue full steam ahead with berry. It’s berry good.

While I find this snack to be wonderful, there is a minor, but correctable issue. When I first started eating it by blindly grabbing some from its bag, I’d feel for the cereal pieces and then feel for some popcorn before pulling out my hand. But almost every time, my fingers would pull out only popcorn. I guess the cereal piece I felt for slipped away somehow. Or I might have the worst luck or useless fingers. But being able to see the cereal pieces, pick one up, and then grab some popcorn helped tremendously.

While Smartfood Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries Popcorn Mix tastes pretty much like Crunch Berries, I did love having the two crunchy textures of popcorn and cereal at the same time in my mouth. Yes, this does seem like an odd combination, but I’m happy to report it works well.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product. (Thanks, PepsiCo!) Doing so did not influence my review, although it totally seems like it. But I assure you it did not.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 6 1/4 oz bag
Purchased at: Received from PepsiCo
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 3/4 cups) 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.