The Snack Off: Chomp vs Fabbox vs Snackible

We’re among those who believe you should eat six small meals a day: breakfast, snack 1, lunch, snack 2, dinner, snack 3. Depending on a few factors (whether we’re at home or outside and our stress levels), these snacks could be either an apple or chips. When we heard of three (relatively) new online snack subscription services that offered a mid-way alternative (among the offerings, apple chips), we decided to try them out to see whether they could helps us change this somewhat extreme eating habit. Our reviews:

Chomp

Chomp soya bean masala.

Chomp.co.in
Neha Patodia originally planned to launch in 2014 but eventually started Chomp earlier this year. She offers a menu of 16 snacks that cover fruit and nuts, snaps and dips, dried fruit chews, sweet and salty. Their sweet selection includes a grain-free walnut brownie and flaxseed tea cake.
How much it costs
Chomp offers three subscriptions: quarterly or three-month, 12 boxes for Rs3,000; one-month, four boxes for Rs1,100; and a trial/half-month, two sample boxes for Rs450 sent in two consecutive weeks. Prices include taxes.
How it works
The order form includes a check and description box for allergies. There is no payment gateway on the site. Instead you get a phone call from Patodia confirming your order. She will then send someone over to deliver the box and collect the money.
How they taste
Our first sample box covered almost all the taste bases: spicy trail mix, salty soya bean masala, sour dried cranberries, sweet Bengal gram and umami enriched peanut red dip that was accompanied by bland oat bites. We aren’t fans of bitter food so were not affected by their omission. The twisted trail mix, a toss up of salt and pepper roasted almonds, salt roasted peanuts and dried watermelon seeds, definitely makes you feel like you’re eating healthy but the spicy burn from the almonds had us reaching for water. Chomp’s boxes include a chart with nutritional information for all the snacks within and a recommendation that you eat one a day. We’re among those who like sour foods but the dried cranberries and seedless black raisins were so tart that we couldn’t possibly eat them all in a day without misshaping our lips from all the puckering. Our favourite snack was the jaggery roast gram, because biting into chana and getting a sweet as opposed to a savoury taste is a pleasant surprise. The dry-roasted soya bean masala, sort of like a healthier version of chana chor garam, would go well with beer. The peanut red dip, made with peanuts, red chilli, tamarind, oil, garlic, sugar, salt and vinegar, looked more fiery than it was and prevented us from completely wasting the triangles of whole wheat flour oat bites in which both the pepper and herbs were undetectable. Each of the snacks is sent in closable square plastic boxes that contain 100 grams of product. They lasted us through the week, mainly because we didn’t find any of the items addictive enough to finish in one go.

Fabbox

Fabbox mixed nut chaat.

Fabbox.in
Devang Shah
, who runs Andheri East-based company Healthy Karma Foods, launched Fabbox in April 2015. Their list of over 50 snacks covers five categories: nuts, health (granola) bars, mixtures, dried fruit chews and cookies. Among the best-selling items are the chocolate-covered almonds, mixed nut chaat and cranberry granola bar. They claim none of the snacks are fried or contain artificial colours or sweeteners. Quantities range from 125 grams to 200 grams per snack.
How much it costs
Each box containing five snacks is meant to last a month. A single box is priced at Rs999, a three-month, three-box subscription at Rs2,849 and a six-month, six-box subscription at Rs5,399. Prices exclude taxes.
How it works
You pick five snacks to fill your box (or opt for a surprise snack box). When you click on an item, a description pops up. A note says their chefs will call you to ask for your taste preferences after you have placed an order. About half an hour after we placed ours, we got a call from Fabbox asking us our preferences – whether we like sweet and spicy foods, the kind of chocolate we like and importantly whether we were allergic to any nuts. Roughly 48 hours later, we got our box.
How they taste
Inside the plastic-wrapped cardboard container were the chocolate almonds, jalapeno peanuts, puffed nuts, mixed nut chaat and cranberry bar. Each of the snacks comes in a resealable paper and foil bag with, in rather small print, a nutritional information table, list of ingredients and a stamp of a best-before date, which seemed to roughly be around 50 days. The mixed nut chaat, with mostly cashews but also almonds and pistas and a few raisins dusted in salt, sugar and chaat masala, was addictive. The fox nuts (puffed) makhana were similarly coated in salt, sugar, amchur, onion, ginger and garlic powder and chilli powder though they weren’t at all spicy. They tasted fresher than the store-bought packaged stuff and had a slight tang. The jalapeno peanuts tasted fairly similar to the wasabi peanuts sent by Snackible (see below) and made us lick the coating off our fingers. The milk chocolate almonds are a nuttier version of Nutties. The dried cranberry bar (they send five of 30grams each) tasted like a standard granola bar but was not overly sweet despite the raisins embedded in it along with almonds and rice crispies.

Snackible

Snackible pizza sticks and herb dip.

Snackible.com
Snackible, which was launched in April 2015 by LightSaber Food Ventures run by entrepreneur Aditya Sanghavi, offers a brief menu of 15 snacks that, aside from those we tried and have described below, include roasted Mexican chickpeas; oat and honey raisin cookies; cream and onion whole wheat thins; maple honey granola, and seedy crunches; dark chocolate power bar; cinnamon, and whole wheat Belgian chocochip waffle; fruit medley; kale chips with bajra puffs; baked bhakarwadi; and jalapeño peanuts.
How it works
You chose a subscription, create a username and password, fill in your billing information and phone number and select the specific snacks you want by going to the ‘Preferences’ section. We opted for the ‘Surprise You’ box, which we received less than 48 hours after placing our order.
How much it costs
A trial box of five snacks is priced at Rs300. A one-month subscription of a box every week is Rs1,140 and a three-month subscription is Rs3,300. The snacks, which are priced between Rs50 and Rs80 each, can also be purchased separately at the Noble Plus chain of health stores as well as a few select shops in south Mumbai. Prices include taxes.
How they taste
The wasabi peanuts were not spicy but addictive. The cinnamon apple chips were a mixed bag, the crispy bits great but larger pieces were too chewy. The parts of the chocolate ragi cookies without the dark chocolate layer were dry and bland like a Marie biscuit. The spicy refined wheat flour pizza sticks topped with a dusting of red chili powder and pizza masala were so tasty that they didn’t need the accompanying herb dip.

Snacking notes
1. The snacks can be classified into these major categories: nuts and nut mixes, cookies, cereals, dehydrated fruit or fruit chews.
2. The quantities are deceptive. The snacks of 150 grams are meant to last for a month, but a person with an average appetite will finish them in a week. The portions are meant for individuals so you can’t really share them.
3. Even though the snacks are marketed as such, the stuff isn’t particularly healthy. But it’s healthier than chips and other packaged fried snacks. Of course there are packaged healthy snack makers too but these are fresher probably because they’re made in smaller batches and there’s greater quality control. Because of this, the snacks are more expensive than mass-market brands.
4. The purported health benefits come at a cost to the environment. Any such service uses loads of plastic to seal the snacks to keep them fresh.
5. The five snacks are for the five weekdays so perhaps they’re presuming that Saturdays and Sundays are cheat days when people won’t be bothered eat healthy.

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