We recently covered freeze dried fruit snacks, and today we’ll take a look at leather snacks. Chef Roberts, operating in the New York metropolitan area, has recently launched a line of fruit leather. From the Chef’s marketing department:
Matt’s Munchies are all-natural fruit leathers free of gluten, nuts, eggs and dairy products. There are 6 palate-pleasing flavors with no artificial coloring or preservatives. Great for vegans and those concerned with food allergies. All flavors are less then 100 calories per one ounce serving with no added sugar, oils or salts. They make for a super convenient, tasty nutrition-perfect snack on the go, a tasty companion to a glass of wine, or a healthy dessert after dinner.
The six flavors are divided into 2 categories:
Banana based – Choco-Nana, Apple Pie, and plain old Banana
Mango based – Island Mango, Ginger Zest, and plain Mango
Read on to find out which flavor is the tastiest, and learn what’s inside the label.
What you need to know:
Our test group from the San Francisco area consisted of 5 adults and 4 kids. All had an issue with the packaging, which was a bit difficult to open. The kids loved apple pie but had a hard time with the ginger zest, saying it was too spicy. Island mango was the adult favorite, and choco-nana got honorable mention as surprisingly tasty. The parents were worried about tiny pieces remaining stuck in children’s teeth. Everyone agreed that these leathers were tastier than comparable products found at Trader Joe’s. Two moms were happy to note that the products were not too sweet.
Here are the ingredient lists for some of the snacks:
Choco-nana – banana puree, semi-sweet chocolate (evaporated cane juice, chocolate liquor and non-dairy cocoa butter), organic chocolate concentrate(water, organic flavor)
Apple pie – banana puree, organic cinnamon (No apples, weird!)
Island Mango – organic mango puree, organic coconut flakes, natural organic coconut flavoring
Let’s take a look at the nutrition information for the kiddie favorite, Apple Pie:
A serving is a one ounce pack, and it will set you back just 70 calories. There are 14 grams of sugar, equal to 3 spoonfuls of table sugar. But remember, this is naturally occurring fructose, and is at least consumed with the other nutrients of a fruit, whereas pure refined sugar doesn’t provide any benefits art all. Having said that, we were surprised the product contains almost no vitamin C.
Compare this to a regular banana, which comes in its own wrapping and is easier to open, is available year round, and in a 70 calorie portion contains just 9 grams of sugar, plus 10% of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C is sometimes lost when processing fruits. Probably happened here as well.
A regular banana seems like a better option, and is usually available year round at low prices.
The mango based products are a different story, because fresh mangoes are harder to come by. Nutritionally, the mango snacks fare better. Mango flavor has just 50 calories in a one ounce serving, 11 grams of sugar and provides an additional benefit of 30% of the daily value of vitamin A.
This would be a better choice.
What to do at the supermarket:
We always prefer fresh, but are cognizant that some tropical fruits are hard to come by in the supermarket, or way too expensive. In such cases, fruit leathers can be a decent substitute. Note that you’ll need a toothpick as well, because these buggers tend to get glued to your teeth. Their high sugar content immediately attracts evil mouth bacteria…Leathers and dried fruit are snacks that dentists DO NOT recommend.
Disclosure: Ah, the perks of food blogging…Matt’s Munchies marketing person contacted us and offered to send evaluation samples. We had them sent to a family of volunteer testers. We did not pay for the samples. We were not paid to post this blog nor were we instructed in any which way regarding its content. In fact, we forewarned Chef Roberts that we are skeptical and scathing of most processed products available at the supermarket. If you would like to have something new and possibly tasty sent to your house, why not become a Fooducate Product Tester? Just comment below or shoot us an email: blog [at] fooducate [dot] com.
Help us test our new food comparison tool: alpha.fooducate.com