Halfpops – A Fully Popped Idea

Corn nuts are my favorite road trip snack. I never eat them at home, but get in a car for a long ride and I’m pulling into the first convenience store for a bag of “chile picante” flavored corn snacks. And when I eat popcorn at home, my favorite part is arriving at bottom of the bowl where all the half popped kernels fall.

Apparently, I am not the only one who’d rather eat the “duds.” A company out of Seattle has launched a new line of snacks called HALFPOPS that are, you guessed it, half-popped kernels of corn. Air popped, by the way.

A few weeks ago, I accidentally deleted an email the kind folks at HALFPOPS sent me, asking me how I enjoyed the snacks. I had no idea what they were talking about. I was working remotely for a month in the Utah mountains and it didn’t dawn on me that they’d sent a huge (and I do mean huge) box of HALFPOPS to my office in Arizona.

I don’t normally review products people send me. In fact, I encourage food marketers not to send me product. If I write about a product or book, it’s because I bought it and liked it enough to share with you.

The PR letter that came with the box said the snack made its Arizona debut in August at A. J.’s Fine Foods, so I swung by one of the A. J.’s (there are a dozen locations of the gourmet food and grocer in the metro Phoenix area) and sure enough, HALFPOPS were on the shelf.

The bags the company sent me are 2-ounces, but the ones I found at A. J.’s are 7-ounces, and were on sale for $3.69 (normally $4.49). So, of course, I bought a bag.

HALFPOPS come in two flavors: butter & sea salt and aged white cheddar. I’m partial to the white cheddar, although I like them both.

A third flavor will be determined by public vote (see their website for details. Not to influence your vote in any way, may I suggest you choose chipotle lime? I think that may be the closest flavor to my beloved chile picante corn nuts.)

What I really like is the crunch. They’re not quite as crunchy as corn nuts, but close.

I also like the short ingredient list. For the cheddar flavor it’s popcorn, canola oil, cheddar cheese seasoning (whey, cheddar cheese, nonfat milk, lactic acid) and salt. The list is even shorter for the butter & sea salt flavor, and includes real butter.

To me they’re “rich,” meaning I can’t eat more than a couple handfuls without feeling like I’ve had enough. A 1-ounce serving contains 130 calories and between 5 and 6 grams of fat.

Verdict? Thumbs up.

They’re fine snacks to serve with a cocktail (especially a Negroni) or sprinkle on a salad to add flavor and crunch. You could even crush them and use as a crumb coating for fish, chicken, or okra (remember my jerk spiced okra fries?).

I’ve also snacked on them at my desk, like right now, as I write this post.

A. J.’s Fine Foods
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