Puffed kelp chips, anyone? New snack chips are crunchy, sustainable and weird
Puffed kelp chips, anyone?
I’m an avid scuba diver and ocean lover, so when I heard about a new organic chip made with kelp, I wanted to try it.
I’m munching on a bag of 12 Tides chili pepper flavor puffed kelp chips right now, and, well, they’re not bad. They’re not warm-tortilla-chips-from-your-favorite-TexMex-restaurant good, either, but they’re growing on me.
They look like giant Fritos, have the consistency of Styrofoam, only crunchier and more flavorful (at least I think so, I’ve never actually eaten Styrofoam), and taste salty and spicy, with an underlying hint of seaweed. You’ve eaten seaweed, surely.
I’m not hooked on them, but I want to be, for several reasons.
Kelp is a type of large brown algae that grows in cool coastal waters. It absorbs carbon from the ocean and is low maintenance to farm.
The maker describes the puffed kelp chips as “ocean positive snacking.” They’re not made with wild kelp, which provides a food source and protection for marine life. A warming climate has contributed to a decline in kelp forests in recent decades.
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These snacks are made with kelp grown at small, regenerative ocean farms in Maine. Kelp farmers don’t use pesticides, fertilizers, fresh water, or arable land, so it’s a lot more sustainable than crops grown on land. The bags they’re sold in is compostable, too, which means they don’t have to end up in landfills.
The chips come in three flavors – sea salt, chili pepper, and “everything.” Unlike Fritos and other processed snack chips, they’re organic, gluten free and have no added sugar. A 1-ounce serving has 100 calories and 2 grams of protein.
The chips are sold in stores in California, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho and more, but (so far) not in Texas. You can order them online at www.12tides.com. A four-pack costs $19.99 and 1 percent of sales from each bag helps fund kelp forest restoration projects in California.
The more I nibble on them, the better they taste. And knowing they’re more sustainable than other snacks makes me like them more.