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Taste Testings: Consumer Product Reviews

Food in Canada's consumer review panel returns to weigh in on select products in the Canadian marketplace. This issue we're sampling Wheat-free Raincoast Oat Crisps


Wheat-free Raincoast Oat Crisps are the newest offerings from Richmond, B.C.-based Lesley Stowe Fine Foods Ltd.

The crunchy, artisan-style crackers are baked in small batches using all-natural ingredients, and are available in two varieties: Original Raincoast Oat Crisp and Rosemary Raisin Raincoast Oat Crisp.

Ideal for health-conscious consumers and those with gluten sensitivities, the crackers can be enjoyed either on their own or paired with dips, cheese, pâté or antipasto.

Here’s what our taste testers thought:

Female, 40-something, esthetician
Original Raincoast Oat Crisp – “These crackers are addictive! I love the nutty flavour, the crunch, the fact that you can actually see all the grains and seeds. They’re perfect on their own, so I can only imagine how good they’d taste paired with cheese. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the packaging – once it’s opened it’s very hard to reseal the plastic inside wrap to make sure the crackers don’t go stale. Although at the speed I ate them it wasn’t a problem!”

Male, 38, electrical technician
Oat and rosemary raisin crackers – “Package: Visually, it has a West Coast vibe, which to anyone not living on the left coast means ‘healthy.’ Taste impression – a wow. The natural taste of the rosemary and sweetness of the raisin make for a taste sensation in my mouth…I simply could not just eat one. Which leads to the bad impression. I glanced at the nutritional facts and saw 90 calories… oh good… a nice, healthy snack at 90 calories for the box. I’m a big man, I can eat a box of the approximately 32 miniature bread-shaped things. And then I looked again…90 calories for four tiny pieces of crisps, each about the size of a potato chip. No one can eat just four potato chips, and no one can eat just four of the Raincoast crisps! It might look healthy and taste healthy, but if I eat a snack – and make no mistake, this is a snack – I’m going to get huge… or at least bigger than I already am. Dammit! I just ate another! They are addictively tasty!”

Female, 30-something, writer
Oat and Rosemary Raisin crackers – “Not too sure about these. The seeds, aroma and crispy bite give them a unique flavour – I’m sure I smell cinnamon too – but the raisins make them perhaps chewier than they should be. I do appreciate the simple, environmentally friendly packaging, and equally simple, easy-to-read ingredient list.”

Male, 27, sales
Original Raincoast Oat Crisp – “These crackers look and taste like a healthy snack, which is what I’m always looking for, plus they taste pretty good. Just a few fill you up, so they’re good to leave at my desk.”

Female, 25, teaching assistant
Original Raincoast Oat Crisp – “They taste hard, dry and burnt to me. So no, I wouldn’t ever buy these!”

Female, teacher, 30-something
Original Raincoast Oat Crisp – “The packaging is bright and catchy, and fresh looking, too. There’s a lot of white space, which makes it very clean – but you still get all the information you need. I really like the minimalist look. I’ve had her crackers before and while these oat ones are delicious, I prefer her other crackers. As soon as you open the package, you can smell the dense oat-iness. And the taste is denser and heavier; it’s as if they’re loaded with grainy goodness. And their crispiness is different too. The others I think have a flakier crisp to them. I’ve had them with peanut butter and they were really good. I think cheese would work best. And the plastic packaging – ugh. Nomatter how careful I am it tears and rips so easily. But it’s just now that I noticed the blurb suggesting you put them in an airtight container once opened. That makes sense. And that you can reheat them is wonderful. They never have to go to waste.”

Male, cameraman, 30-something
Original Raincoast Oat Crisp – “I really liked these crackers. Her other crackers can be either too sweet or have too many flavours going on. These hit the spot. I had these with a good wine and aged cheeses and the combination was great.”

Male, six-years-old
Original Raincoast Oat Crisp – “I like these. They were dry and crunchy. What are all the things in them? I ate them with cheese and some with peanut butter. They were really good.”

Female, teacher, 30-something
Oat and Rosemary Raisin Crackers – “The aroma of these was delicious! Rosemary is so so good. And so many grains. But I found there was something missing in the taste and I couldn’t put my finger on it. Maybe it’s the addition of the oat flour? But then I had them with an Italian aged cheese – how perfect! The flavours were mouth watering, nutty and sweet with the tanginess of the aged cheese. I completely changed my mind about them.”

Male, cameraman, 30-something
Oat and Rosemary Raisin Crackers – “Normally I don’t like any of her crackers that have raisins. And I can’t say I’m really crazy about these. But for some reason I don’t find them as sweet. The raisins are more subtle in these crackers. They don’t overpower anything you put on them. They’re crispier and less chewy and with cheese and dips they work well.”

Female, flight attendant, 60-something
Oat and Rosemary Raisin Crackers – “These were very tasty, crispy and not too sweet. I worry about the calories in them – that’s one gram of fat per cracker! So I’ll tell myself it’s ‘good fat.’ But the flavour is warm and reminds me of fall. You have to be careful how many you eat, but you can easily have these for lunch or dinner or a late night snack.”