September 09, 2009

Pirate Booty: My Boys are Hooked

I planned to share a treasure chest full of Pirate Booty products that the company sent me with a group of tween boys. As I imagined it, we'd do a an organized, if not sophisticated, tasting, working our way through the product line.

What was I thinking? They snarfed up the snacks right away; they practically inhaled one bag as I turned my back to open the next. I was tempted to serve up a bowl of packing peanuts topped with garlic salt just to make sure they were paying attention.

I managed to take a few quick notes during this process, though.

Veggie Booty was an old hit in our house. It was a favorite snack when my boys were toddlers during the early days of this millennium. It turns out the product isn't quite as healthy as it claimed to be back in the day, but labeling adjustments have been made. Because I had a bit of proverbial egg on my face for having been a vocal word-of-mouth promoter of the unbelievably healthy snack I wasn't a paid advocate-after all this was in the days before momblogs- but all my friends served Booty to their kids; I had talked it up as an amazing way to get some veggies and fiber into their little bodies.

Sooo, I guess I'm more unresolved about that then I realized.

Anyway, after the salmonella scare had cleared (in early 2007) we returned to the brand because damn it, my kids love the stuff.

I thought we'd sampled all of their product line- puffy rice snacks and crunchy corn creations- until I received the pack.

Sea salt and vinegar? (
"Delicious, but a bit sour, but not as strong as most chips. Goes well with the puffiness," according to my boys.)

Barbeque? ("So good! Yum!")

Onion? ("So good! Tastes like onion rings, but smells like blah.")

Who knew about all these newfangled flavors?

The Tings are crispy, like a certain "rhymes with feetos" snack, but come without the seemingly toxic bright orange gunk. In fact they are just naked, crispy goodness. Tings are way better than "feetos" to serve to a basement full of videogaming boys. And by better, I mean
less damaging to the house and Wii remotes.

That said, I take issue with the "nutritious" on the front of the bag. To me nutritious suggests a food loaded with vitamins and fiber (think, a tangerine). I mean, you could do worse than Tings or Booty puffs for a snack and I like my boys to enjoy a "chippy" starch in their lunches or as part of an after school snack, so I do buy these for my family, but let's not pretend they're nutritious.

Overall, the new flavors were a hit with the kids. With a little more truth in labelling (especially considering their--our-- history), they'll be a hit with mom, too.

Oh, and based on experience, the Booty products go stale quickly; you'll want to finish the bag within a day or two---fortunately this is rarely a problem in our house. If you're serving them at a party it's best to wait until the last minute to empty them into a serving bowl.

Photo: the Pirate Booty folks send me samples in an adorable treasure chest. Pressed for a last-minute birthday gift for a boy, I hacked the chest into a birthday present by tossing in a bunch of coins and bandanna. Argh, matey; it was a hit.

Kim Moldofsky who muses on parenting gifted children and life at Hormone-colored Days and writes about marketing to mom bloggers at Positive Impact, Inc.

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