I don’t always try the national brand version of these items before trying Aldi’s version—in fact, there’s probably a good many products on here that I’ve never even tried the version Aldi is knocking off. This would definitely be true for these vegetable straws had my in-laws not packed them as a snack for a long trip a few years back…I instantly fell in love with the seasoned ranch straws—and then promptly forgot all about them.
Flash-forward a few years, and we saw them in private label form at our local Aldi. I believe they used to be a special buy, but have now become part of the store’s growing inventory—a good thing, considering these are one of the few things our son will voluntarily eat. So we make sure to keep these on hand as much as possible. Like father, like son, eh?
The shape is interesting, more or less earning its “straw” moniker; unlike other crunchy snacks, these are elongated tunnels of potato chip-like goodness. To keep up with the “veggie-based chip” cliche, these come in three different assorted colors: yellow, green, and orange. Does having multiple colors make people think they are healthier for them than they actually are? I mean, I certainly don’t equate orange with a carrot, if that’s what they’re going after—at any rate, I guess it provides some variance over having the same boring color throughout the bag.
Each straw does provide a satisfying level of crunch, yet they also feel “light” at the same time…it’s a rather weird texture that most people who have tried them will know what I’m talking about. It’s loud and very crunchy, not the type of snack you’d want to sneak in to a movie theater, but while they might have a loud bark, they actually break apart quite easily once you start chewing them. It’s a really confusing texture, but one that’s certainly different from a potato chip and that is somehow inviting.
The taste is pretty good, with a tangy ranch that’s offered in semi-abundance; in fact, I would almost peg this as a buttermilk ranch, as there’s really no counterbalance to the tang. This is probably its biggest downfall, as it would have been a lot more addicting had they balanced out the ranch flavor a little bit better; as it stands though, they are very delicious and somewhat hard to put down. It’s been years since I’ve had the national brand, but from what I remember, Aldi’s version has less seasoning and less overall flavor. Still, that can kind of be a good thing, as the lightness of the flavor pairs well with the lightness in texture, making you think you’re eating something that’s better for you than it actually is.
On to the proposition of value: each 7 oz. bag retails for $2.15, much higher than the average offering from Clancy’s, but decent savings over the name brand (which typically retail for around $2.89 per six oz. bag). It doesn’t offer as much savings as some other items in the chip department, but the flavor is “close enough” to justify switching to Clancy’s version if you’re looking to save some money.
And in this uncertain day and age, who isn’t?
Overall: 7.5/10. These are a tasty treat for those looking for a delicious salty snack to have on hand. I do think the ranch flavor could be improved, as it has a strong tang that isn’t really counterbalanced by anything else, making it more of a buttermilk ranch than “regular”, but outside of that they are good enough. A little more expensive than the typical item from Clancy’s, but still offers enough savings to justify a switch over the name brand, and an addicting texture that makes them hard to put down. It might not be an exact duplicate, but it offers up enough differences to stand out on its own.