Britain is a snack obsessed nation. Everywhere you go there are displays of tempting food begging us to part with our hard earned cash. It’s impossible to stop for a coffee, pick up your lunch or even buy your groceries without being bombarded by an array of yummies just waiting to be consumed.
Do you even have a dining table?
Society has slowly moved away from the more traditional family sit-down meals to a world where grazing and eating on the go are the norm. It’s now quite common to have five or six smaller meals or snacks instead of 3 meals at a dining table.
If we’re going to snack more often it’s important to look for good, healthy options, rather than those that are full of rubbish, sugar and almost zero nutritional value.
Emily Fruit Crisps is one food brand that is striving to do just that. Emily is making crisps that are fun and exciting, that are 100% natural and (almost) as pure as fruit from the tree. With a sparkle in her eye and her radiating passion it’s no wonder customers are excited about the crisps and singing her praises.
From a rather quiet cafe in East London — the coffee aroma was to die for — we sat down with Emily for a chat about her delicious snacks over a couple of flat whites. She wasted no time in diving in to her love affair with fruit and how her fruit crisps came to be.
Emily is originally from Canada and when she arrived in the UK about 13 years ago, she was surprised at how little fruit British people consume. It seemed it was a real struggle for people to eat fruit, almost a chore, and she thinks its because of the lack of quality of the fresh fruit available in the supermarkets. She knew that they had apple crisps in the States, but found them to be very dry and the only flavour came from those added artificially. She had an inkling that there could be a better way…
While travelling in Asia with her partner Alessandro they fell in love with the way the locals snacked all day, consuming and constantly chewing.
“We are really passionate about eating well, food that’s not just good for you but incredibly tasty. We don’t believe there should be compromises made between eating well and eating sensibly”.
“They had alternative fruit snacks even though there is an abundance of fresh fruit. We wanted to bring the same to the market here. We want to give people a choice, and want people to be excited about it. We are really passionate about eating well, food that’s not just good for you but incredibly tasty. We don’t believe there should be compromises made between eating well and eating sensibly.”
“We want to be sensible, wanted to get back down to basics, we want people to eat more fruit and veg. We wanted to develop and work on a product so that when people eat it they don’t feel like they’re compromising. We want people to say ‘this is really exciting, this is something that I can swap for a bag of crisps’”
The key to capturing the flavour of the fruit is to harvest it when it’s ripe, when it’s at its best. If you can capture that, then you don’t need to add anything to it; the fruit does all the hard work by itself. Naturally.
By harnessing the flavour of perfectly ripe fruit, Emily Fruit Crisps require only two ingredients: the best quality fruit they can find and a little non-hydrogenated vegetable oil. That’s it.
There’s no preservatives, no additives, no added sugars, no e-numbers. They’re totally natural and gluten-free and vegan too.
The concept is simple; good fruit produces great flavours. So why aren’t all the big brands doing this? It turns out that it’s a difficult process to make such good quality fruit crisps and it’s expensive. The big multinationals choose to make cheaper products, with cheaper ingredients, less fruit product, with added preservatives to extend shelf life, and added flavourings so they can buy lower quality fruit.
Have you ever tried to make dried fruit at home? It’s not too difficult, you slice up some fruit, space it out on a baking track, and put it in the oven on a low heat until the fruit starts to shrivel or curl a little. You could use a dehydrator for slightly more control, but this is definitely not a required piece of kit.
The problem with this method is that you get chewy, leathery fruit, and while it’s tasty, it doesn’t have you racing back to make another batch. With a dehydrator you’ll get more consistent results, but still the fruit doesn’t come out very crunchy.
Fear not, Emily and her team have mastered the art of the crunch and they’re here to save the day.
After much experimentation Emily’s team have come up with a proprietary process, a secret formula, which uses pressure and a vacuum to reduce the cooking temperature of the fruit. With this process the fruit cooks really quickly (even at the lower temperatures) so it doesn’t destroy the nutrients or the taste of the fruit. The process also harness the natural sugars in the fruit which become perfectly caramelised, making the fruit extremely crispy. It took over a year to arrive at this winning formula even though they worked closely with a partner who pioneered this type of technology.
The current range of fruit crisps includes apple, banana and pineapple in two size bags, the smaller size is perfect for a lunchbox or handbag. Emily also hinted that there are new developments underway, but she was keeping her cards very close to her chest.
Let’s get down to the really serious business. How do they actually taste?
super crunchy fruit morsels with an almighty flavour explosion
It’s like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. When I think of fruit crisps my brain automatically thinks of dried banana chips or slightly chewy dried apples. But these fruit crisps almost need a category all of their own. These are super crunchy fruit morsels with an almighty flavour explosion, and so light you just want to keep eating them.
The crunchiness of the crips makes me think they’re more baked than dried. And if I had to draw a similarity between another type of product it would be something equally crunchy like pork crackling. I wonder if the apple crisps would actually go well with a loin of roast pork? I’ll have to get my resident chef to experiment!
It really is difficult to put into words how great these things taste. I’m not exaggerating, they are that good! My favourite is the pineapple, though the banana is pretty amazing too!
If you’ve not tried Emily Fruit Crisps, put these at the top of your “must try” list. You can pick up a pack at loads of places you’re likely to find on your local high street including Holland & Barrett, Whole Foods, Selfridges and Ocado. If you live or work in London, keep your eyes peeled for their team handing out sampler packs. Trust me, you’ll be back for more!