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.

REVIEW: Smartfood Flamin’ Hot White Cheddar Popcorn

Smartfood Flamin Hot White Cheddar Popcorn

What is Smartfood Flamin’ Hot White Cheddar Popcorn?

Summer may be winding down, but things in the snack aisle are just heating up! Combing Frito-Lay’s flagship cheddar-dusted popcorn with a burst of its flagship heat, Smartfood’s Flamin’ Hot White Cheddar Popcorn is here to keep things toasty long after sweater weather has arrived.

How is it?

Smartfood Flamin Hot White Cheddar Popcorn Closeup

Red. So very red. Even after seeing the bag, I didn’t quite expect the popcorn to be as generously coated in fiery cheese dust as it was. Even though Frito-Lay decided to shy away from artificial flavors, it didn’t hesitate to break out the whole arsenal of FD&C food colors in a way that would make a box of crayons jealous.

Eye-catching color aside, this whole-grain snack doesn’t have much else that makes it stand out. Unlike Route 11’s regionally-famous Mama Zuma chips, which I’m positive only exists to appeal to the same people who found Sonic’s Reaper Spicy Margarita enjoyable, the heat in Smartfood’s Flamin’ Hot Popcorn is woefully lukewarm by comparison.

That’s not to say it’s terrible, though. The popcorn starts super mild, but the heat gradually builds as you keep eating it. It never got to the point where my eyes began to tear, but it was present. Also, I found it to be just strong enough to make me keep eating – much like how the super-secret spice on Doritos makes them dangerously addictive.

Unfortunately, Smartfood’s signature white cheddar flavoring ends up playing second fiddle to each kernel’s red-hot coating. It’s just barely present – providing a bit of buttery creaminess desperately needed in pre-popped popcorn – but it’s just not sharp enough to stand up against the heat.

Is there anything else you should know?

Let me clarify something – although this popcorn is a little on the warm side, it’s not spicy. With all its heat stemming from a mysterious blend of proprietary natural flavors, this popcorn lacks the complexity of a heavily spiced meal at your local Mexican joint. Instead, it tastes more similar to the blind heat of having just eaten a spoonful of cayenne pepper.

Conclusion:

Although Smartfood’s new Flamin’ Hot White Cheddar Popcorn isn’t nearly as fire-hot as it looks, it packs just enough heat to keep things interesting, and I didn’t have any problems with finishing off a bag in quick order. Just don’t expect anything especially unique.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 1/2 cups) 150 calories, 10 grams of total fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of total sugars, and 3 grams of protein.