Metcalfe's Skinny was founded in 2009 by Julian Metcalfe at a time when the nation was beginning to wake up to the need for lighter, healthier snacks. They were the first company to sell sweet & salted popcorn together as a flavour combination, which is now one of the most popular on the market. They now offer a wide range of light snacks including rice cakes and popcorn thins and at the beginning of 2016 announced their business partnership with Kettle Foods. Ashley Hicks, Managing Director of Kettle Chips UK, described Metcalfe's Skinny as "an incredibly innovative, dynamic, fast-growing, premium brand appealing to ‘foodie’ consumers looking for lighter great tasting snacks.” They launched their newest flavour, salted caramel, a few weeks ago and I was lucky enough to get a chance to taste test.
Salted Caramel is still a very trendy flavour, with everything from brownies to protein bites being available in this flavour. I was pretty excited to try a popcorn variation, especially as the flavours of salt and caramel are pretty classic in the popcorn world so surely it was bound to work!
The flavour is a little artificial-tasting and I wouldn't particularly describe it as 'salted caramel'. There are certainly hints of caramel, but the spark of salt was lacking a little. However, all that being said, salted caramel is a very difficult flavour to get right if you are not literally pouring the real thing onto something fresh, like a brownie, so to that end I would commend Metcalfe's on a good effort. I have tried other 'salted caramel' flavour products in the past which, upon reading the ingredients, don't even contain salt or caramel or anything resembling the two!
Not taking into account what the flavour is or is not supposed to be, the actual popcorn tastes great and is incredibly moreish! I love that it's now possible to buy popcorn in flavours other than just sweet and salt and that it is becoming more of a popular snack, following in the footsteps of crisps. I wonder how long it'll be before we have cheese and onion popcorn!
The ingredients in this product are largely natural which is a big plus for me. There is added sugar and a fair few dairy derivatives, but the nutrition could be worse. With only 114 calories per 25g bag, it certainly is a light snack. Popcorn itself is fantastically healthy and boasts numerous health benefits, so by making it more accessible and widely available Metcalfe's are definitely promoting a more healthy lifestyle to the general public.
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I first tried this product, as I have a long and complicated love/hate relationship with products that claim to be salted caramel flavour. I do think that sometimes it's just a marketing ploy, but in this case, it pays off. There is indeed salt and caramel in the flavouring, but it's not an authentic taste. This popcorn is hugely moreish and I managed to polish it off with no complaints! Popcorn is a light, healthy snack no matter what, so by adding light flavourings it appeals to more people who may end up choosing this snack over a heavier, more oil- and fat-laden snack like crisps. I'm a big fan of the Metcalfe's skinny brand, especially as I compared their ingredients and nutrition information to other popcorn brands and they are miles ahead. It's a 7 from me for their salted caramel popcorn.