Make us your home page
Instagram

Taste test: cheddar cheese popcorn

One of the many ad campaigns aimed at New Year's dieters suggests January might be the time to put down the candied popcorn and start counting calories. But, instead of going cold turkey, how about trying flavored popcorn without the sugary toppings? We found five brands of savory white cheddar popcorn and enlisted the help of some student journalists for a tasting. Steve Sims and his reporting class at Tampa Catholic High School sampled the snacks this week.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Wise 88Smartfood 68Popcorn Indiana 58
Judges'

comments
Puffy pieces, powdery cheese and pleasant flavors made this popcorn the favorite among our student panelists. "This has the popcorn flavor but with a light cheddar topping," one judge said. "The cheddar didn't overwhelm the popcorn." A few students noticed the powdery cheddar was a bit messy. "This might not be good on a date," one said. Another said, "I don't mind the mess — I appreciate the mess," adding that it made the popcorn that much better.Smartfood produced bright, white popcorn in large shapes and sizes. "They are big, puffy and flavorful," one judge said. "These are both cheesy and salty," another said. Some students said the cheese tasted a little fake, but not unpleasantly so. "These kernels hold the cheese a little better than some of the other brands," said a student who noticed the popcorn wasn't as messy as the competition. "I would definitely buy this," she said.Popcorn lovers who want more crunch and less topping will prefer this brand, judges said. "It's got a good bite, but the taste is a bit bland," one student said. "My hands are dirty after eating it," another said. "But it didn't stop me from snacking." Students said the cheese coating on this popcorn left a bit of an aftertaste. "I need a drink of water," one said. Another said, "I'm not a big cheese lover, so I like this better than the others."
Would

they buy?
All of the judges said yes.Half of the judges said yes.Half of the judges said yes.
Shopping information$3 for a 6.5-ounce bag from Publix.$3.99 for a 9-ounce bag from Publix.$3.99 for a 6.5-ounce bag from Winn-Dixie.


Also Sampled: Fresh Market ($3.49 for a 4.5-ounce bag from Fresh Market, 48 points); and Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popcorn

($2.99 for a 5-ounce bag from Publix, 44 points).

Panelists: Teacher Steve Sims and students Pablo Sanchez, Ray Carapella, Matt Davita, Bryce Nichols, Victoria Arbelaez, Houston Griffin, Bryn Bostad, Nikki Guida, Anne Marie Ferron, Shannon McCarthy, Willie Conley, Edward Alpizar, Tre Watson, Isaiah Osby, Ben Iacuone, Anthony Vertino, Derek Ortiz and Tristan Herrin.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.



Serving size1 ounce1 ounce1 ounce
Calories150160150
Fat/Fiber10g / 2g10g / 2g9g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 310mg2g / 290mg2g / 290mg
Carbs/Protein13g / 3g14g / 3g14g / 3g

Taste test: cheddar cheese popcorn 01/13/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 5:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of Sept. 25-Oct. 1

    Events

    MegaCon Tampa: The multi-genre convention brings a lineup of celebrity guests and comic book creators to the Tampa Convention Center Friday-Sunday, including icon Stan Lee, William Shatner, above, Kevin Smith and Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things. Shop hundreds of vendors selling …

    Courtesy Adultswim
  2. This Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake is ready for breakfast, dessert or your next party

    Cooking

    This week, food critic Laura Reiley offers thoughts on the Bundt cake, and why it and other retro desserts are making a comeback. Read that story here.

    Lemon Blueberry Coconut Bundt Cake. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times food editor.
  3. Is the Bundt cake back? How retro baked goods are becoming trendy again

    Cooking

    Once there were grunts and slumps, buckles and brown betties. Oh, and pandowdies and sonkers. In the olden days, people routinely made angel food cakes, tomato soup cakes and hummingbird cakes. These were not Duncan Hines mixes, but rather confections made from scratch following yellowed and stained recipes in your …

    Nothing Bundt Cakes in Tampa offers a variety of options, from tiny “bundtinis” and 10-inch cakes that serve 18 to 20 people. Core flavors include lemon, marble, red velvet and chocolate-chocolate chip, with featured flavors like confetti.
  4. Taste test: new snack foods from Lay's, Duncan Hines and more

    Taste Test

    After foraging through our hurricane kits and noshing on all the fun snacks — even before Irma hit, for some of us — our judges were ready to find some new nibbles. This week, panelists enjoyed new chips, a new dessert and what they described as the perfect children's party food.

  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Sept. 24

    Events

    Zac Brown Band: The country, folk and Southern rockers embark on the "Welcome Home" tour in support of the album. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $27.50-$77.50. (813) 740-2446.

    Handout photo of the Zac Brown Band, performing at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa on 9/24/17. Credit: Shore Fire Media