Just when you think it’s safe to venture into the snack food aisle, out comes Cheese CC’s with “energy”. I feel sorry for parents trying to be vigilant about those rotten energy drinks. Now there’s caffeine being added to less-than-healthy cheese-flavoured snack foods to watch out for too.
We taste tested the Energy Cheese side by side with CC’s other two cheese flavours: Nacho cheese and Tasty cheese and rated them for taste, nutrition, caffeine content and convenience.
TASTE 4 / 10
In appearance, the Energy Cheese CC’s looked identical to the others – no one could tell them apart (see picture at right).
We found the Energy CC’s flavour less cheesy and slightly less flavoursome but with the same crisp texture as the other cheese varieties. Our initial taste reaction was pleasant – an “inoffensive” mild cheese taste with a hint of spice. Although there was something that reminded us weirdly of Burger Rings!
However, after a minute or two we experienced a metallic after-taste that was almost numbing. No lingering flavour, just a residual heat that left your tongue burning. The heat channelled up Jalapeños crossed with Burger Rings and the unmistakeable baking smell you get in Subway stores!
Once you’ve munched on a handful, you can’t taste or smell anything else – so don’t partner these with wine! A cold beer or icy fizzy drink was what our mouths craved – possibly designed this way to encourage you to buy a soft drink to wash the chips down with. We disliked the dusty, gritty coating left on our fingers and definitely needed to wash our hands after eating these!
Who would these chips appeal to?
We imagine these to be classic man junk food – truckies, hungry young men, students during late-night study sessions. Unfortunately the garish packaging and buzz word “energy” will also appeal to kids.
The serving size is the whole bag - a huge 90g pack. Definitely not for females – we could never imagine getting through one bag by ourselves but a hungry truckie could. So these represent another over-eating trap. Do you know anyone who leaves half a bag uneaten?
Claims made on pack
- “WARNING NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!!”
- “No artificial colours”
- “Caffeine from guarana extract”
- “ Is not recommended for children, pregnant or lactating women and individuals sensitive to caffeine”
- (Parents take note: this is your 'Get-out-of-jail-free' ticket – "Not recommended for children")
- “Consume no more than 90g (one bag) per day”.
Like all corn chips, this is not food to eat daily or even weekly. Energy CC’s are high in fat, saturated fat (probably palm oil judging from the ratio of saturated to monounsaturated fats - the ingredients just say “Vegetable oil”), high in salt and hard to stop eating once you start. What’s more the corn chips are full of additives and fake flavourings from three flavour enhancers, three food acids, starches, colour (OK it was a natural orange-yellow being paprika oleo-resins), extracts and flavours.
The ingredients of all three flavours of chips were very similar – the major difference obviously being the caffeine and the type of flavour enhancers.
|Corn, vegetable oil, cheese powder, salt, sugar, dairy solids, flavour enhancers (621, 627, 631), vegetable extract, food acids (262, 330, 270), vegetable powders (onion, tomato, garlic), guarana extract [(0.5%) contains caffeine], herb & spices, maltodextrin, corn starch, colour (160c), ginseng extract (0.01%), natural flavours.|
262 = sodium diacetate/sodium acetate
270 = lactic acid
330 = citric acid
160c = paprika oleoresins
The caffeine comes from 0.5 per cent of added guarana extract which has been stabilised to provide 80 mg caffeine if you ate the whole pack. This is around the same as a cup of instant coffee so not something you want late in the day as caffeine can interfere with sleep.
I have to ask WHY we need yet another food with caffeine in it? Surely there are enough products such as energy drinks, cola drinks and coffee for those that desire caffeine to force themselves to stay awake? Why do we need more? And one that turns parents into food police as caffeine is not something we want kids consuming.
Yes, there is a warning and a day’s limit on the pack but like the cans of energy drinks, it’s hard to find and even harder to read. You have to go looking for it.
As I’ve said in my review of Vitamin Waters, the added ginseng is mere window dressing to make this food look more healthy than it is. Nine mg of ginseng does nothing – a standard dose from the most popular tablets is 500mg.
Just rip open the bag and eat. Way TOO convenient in my opinion.
With assistance from Airlie Lacy and our male tasters Steve Lacy, Guy Saxelby and Mick Hutchison.