Sunday, March 24, 2019

Munch Rights Cheddar & Sour Cream Baked Veggie Puffs (Dollar Tree)


Ignore the brand name, and the fact they're in Dollar Tree: these are actually pretty good.

Oh man, how I hate buying food from Dollar Tree. Don’t get me wrong: I’m open to trying new things, so that’s not at all the issue. The issue is that a lot of the things I have tried from there have ended up being virtually inedible: their cereals are probably the worst offenders, but there have been a large quantity of items that have left me either disgusted, at worst, or disappointed, at best. 

And yet, as the old adage goes: You never know unless you try it, which is the mindset that keeps me (occasionally) trying things that I’m pretty sure I won’t like. (Well, that, and “Well, what do I have to lose, it’s only a dollar!” which should seriously be the company slogan.)

Here we have cheddar and sour cream baked veggie puffs, which sound pretty good, by a brand called Munch Rights, which sounds nauseatingly awful (is it a requirement that cheap brands have to have a name that makes them sound cheap?) The packaging seems fairly straightforward, walking the line between “somewhat appealing” and “dollar store item”, using bright colors to try to stand out from all of the other options. It’s in a 3.5 oz. bag which also toes a line: it’s bigger than most “snack size” chip packages, but about half the size of a typical “regular” sized snack bag.

The puffs themselves are more appealing than I thought, at least visually. I guess I kind of completely ignored the picture on the front, because I was expecting a combination of green and orange puffs that resemble the color in those straw-shaped vegetable snacks: much to my indifference, all of the puffs are a light orange, resembling a regular cheese puff that was pulled out of the cheese powder tub a little too early.

Tastewise…they’re actually pretty on point with what you’d expect, given their title: They’re a nice, light combination of cheddar cheese with a slight, but noticeable, touch of sour cream that goes down easy. Personally, I think I would prefer a little more cheese powder, but there’s enough that I can’t really complain too much about that, and then it would run the risk of overwhelming the secondary sour cream flavor. The texture, though, is probably where I was most surprised: like the best of cheese puffs, these almost melt in your mouth the moment you pop them in, offering you the choice to chew, or just let them dissolve while absorbing all of their delicious flavors.

The ingredients reveal…well, in yet another surprise, a product that’s aptly described. I was expecting loads of filler, or maybe vegetables comprised mostly of “natural flavors”, but there’s actual cheddar cheese in here (especially a surprise considering it’s not touted in large letters on the front of the bag), along with no gluten, nuts, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives. There also don’t seem to be any artificial colors listed, so chalk that up as another “untouted” win.

I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with these, and would definitely get them again, if for no other reason than to let my cheese puff obsessed son try them…this would be a slightly healthier alternative that would also give him a different flavor profile. That sounds like a win-win to me!

Overall: 7.5/10. Dollar stores certainly aren’t noted for their “healthy” options (in fact, some articles have lambasted their propensity to help the impoverished develop poor eating habits), and while the quoted word might be a bit of a stretch, these puffs come closer to reaching it than most. There’s half the sodium of regular cheese puffs, almost half the fat, and all without sacrificing too much in the way of taste. Great melt-in-your-mouth texture for those that appreciate that, too. And at $1 per 3.5 oz. bag, value is pretty good, though not outstanding. It’s a great change of pace for those that are looking for something a little more unique than a standard cheese puff.

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