Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Product review: Cassava Chips

While at the Healthy Villi spring meeting a few weeks ago, I tried Cassava Chips (original flavor) from Arico Foods. They are marketed as having 40% less fat and twice the fiber as potato chips. I had never heard of cassava before - from the Arico Foods website:

"The cassava plant grows much like a potato and originated in South America thousands of years ago. Its cultivation has spread to other parts of Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Today, cassava is consumed by millions around the world and is relatively unknown in North America. Nearly 500 million people around the world depend on cassava as a staple crop. It is a resilient root and grows well in dry or drought-ridden soil."

As far as allergen information, the site does not say that they are a dedicated gluten or dairy free facility (looks like they are not peanut free, as they make a peanut butter cookie). I have sent a request for them to clarify this, and will update you when I hear from them. For easy ingredient reference, they do provide a handy matrix of common allergens. They claim that their products have

  • No refined sugars or artificial sweeteners
  • No trans-fat
  • No cholesterol
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No colorings
  • No yeast
  • All-natural seasonings
  • Gluten-free, Wheat-Free
  • Dairy-free, Casein-Free
So, how do they taste? Pretty much like a thicker potato chip, with a slight aftertaste. I did enjoy the crunch, but I think I might like the BBQ Bliss or Ginger On Fire flavors better. Overall, I think this is a great snack if you are looking for a healthier chip or if you need to avoid potatoes. I've seen Cassava Chips in a few stores, usually retailing for about $3.50 for a 5 oz. bag.

6/8/09 update from Arico Foods: "Kim, In response to your question, Arico products are free of gluten, wheat, casein, dairy, trans fat, refined sugars, preservatives and colorings. Our products are made with natural ingredients from suppliers who have submitted written allergen statements that their products are free of gluten and dairy. To ensure the safety of our products, we randomly test for the presence of gluten and dairy in each batch of finished product. We find none detectable. Our tests ensure that gluten presence is less than 10 parts per million (ppm) and less than 5 ppm for dairy. Prior to production, our shared manufacturing facility undertakes an extensive sanitation process to remove any traces of allergen-containing proteins (e.g. gluten, dairy). The line is then tested for protein residue. The production week begins with designated gluten-free days."

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