When it comes to snacking, Americans do a lot of it, so it’s no surprise that there are lots of companies out there trying to come up with new and different (sometimes even healthier) ways of getting a quick energy fix. A new company in California is taking a stab at reinventing chips, by making them with wine.
Wait, hold on, wine? Well, not really. Wild California crisps are actually made from “wine flour,” made from the milled seeds and skins of Sonoma County wine grapes. Using material that’s leftover from the wine making process allows WholeVine to not only cut down on their overall waste, but also make a product that can be used as a flour in baked goods. And now chips.
Wild California Crisps are the brainchild of brothers Mike and Tom Keefer and their friend Dan Brinker.
“We wanted to come up with a healthier option in the snack aisle,” Mike Keefer told the Press Democrat. According to him, the chips, which are twice-baked, have two-thirds less fat than the typical tortilla or potato chip, he said.
The Keefer brothers are not the first to rethink what chips are made of. Recently a start-up out of Boston made headlines from making chips out of insects; they use crickets to make their high protein flour–but, in flavors like Fruit N’ Nut and Apricot Ginger, Wild California Chips might be a little more palatable to the average snacker.
Are These Chips Really Any Healthier?
While grape flour is high in proteins, minerals and antioxidants, you have to wonder how much of that translates to the chips. Grape flour only makes up about 7 percent of the ingredients. The rest of the ingredient list is relatively short compared to that of most processed foods, though, and may give consumers more confidence in what they’re eating.
The Apricot Ginger chips for example contain Buttermilk, Organic Wheat Flour, Dried Apricots, Ginger, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Brown Sugar, Honey, Sonoma Grape Flour (Grape Seed Flour, Grape Skin Flour), Sea Salt, and Baking Soda. That’s pretty straightforward and it’s nice to see a company not using a ton of ingredients whose names you can’t pronounce.
That said, while things like wine chips and even insect chips are helping us to rethink snack foods, they still don’t veer too far from the tree. Ultimately, we’re still talking about snack foods, and while it’s great to have an alternative to potato chips, you can’t forget that these are still processed foods. And at $4.59 for a 5-ounce bag, not everyone is going to start replacing their snack stash with wine chips.
Companies like this do however challenge our expectations and assumptions about processed food. After all, there’s coffee flour on the market now. And who doesn’t want a baked good made with that?
Photo Credit: Eric Hwang