Monday Bites - Um Veggie Crisps

Over the last couple of months I’ve been reviewing baby and toddler finger foods that are just ‘normal’ everyday foods. Baked beans, Gingernut Biscuits, grapes, watermelon and foods that you can find in the supermarket that aren’t in the baby food section. This week I’m heading back to the baby aisle and reviewing the Um Sweet Potato Veggie Crisps. They sound delicious, but I’ve had a dodgy run-in with Um before (remember the Crispy Chewy Banana Fish? Those little fish still haunt my dreams) so I was holding my breath...

Recommended age: 12+ months

Age you could probably give these: 12+ months if your baby has several teeth, I’d wait longer if you have a late teether

Shape: shards with sharp corners, mixed in with small circles

Size: about the size of your thumb

Texture: I’ve been trying to come up with a category for this one... crunch & grainy scatter?

You guys, I was really hoping for these little crisps to be awesome. I love crisps and lately have been addicted to various forms of vegetable crisps, especially sweet potato. But the adult varieties are really salty (which, of course, is why they’re delicious). So I was excited to see these on the shelf because they appear to be a great treat for little mouths!

But, alas, they are weird. And at first, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. They are hard little chips but they aren’t particularly ‘crispy’. They need quite a hard bite (which is great for kids who like a hard crunch to their food) but then they turn to a weird consistency in the mouth. The chip shatters and scatters and then softens into tiny greasy particles.

I was really confused when I first tried these. What was happening? It was a texture I was unfamiliar with. Not quite melt-in-the-mouth, not quite bite-and-crunch (like a rice cracker). I don’t think they would be safe for babies or toddlers who are late teethers. And I was suspicious – their appearance was nothing like the vegetable crisps I’d been eating (which usually resembled the vegetable to some degree). These crisps are pale yellow, and look... highly processed.

So I looked at the ingredients. “Nothing artificial”, “no added salt”... and only two ingredients! Sweet potato and rice bran oil. Oh wait, except that 20% OF THE CRISPS IS OIL.

These are actually higher in fat, and lower in fibre, than the adult varieties of vegetable crisps. They are lower in salt, it’s true. But the trade-off with the oil and high level of processing is really off-putting. As is the texture.

And I worked out the cost per chip. It’s 12 cents per chip. Yep, I got 13 tiny shards of chips in one packet.

I’m sure there’ll be kids out there that will like them. But for me, I’m going to give them a miss.

Rating: Sorry Um. Zero stars.

(and remember, always supervise your baby when they are eating, no matter how easy you think the food might be to eat)

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