Finding healthy snacks for children can be a challenge even without additional concerns of an allergic reaction. As families become more active and time constraints make preparing homemade snacks less probable, grabbing a quick convenient snack made of processed food has become more likely. However, many processed snack foods contain some combination of nuts, dairy, soy and gluten—allergens that could be deadly to some kids if ingested. Most of these snacks are also high in sugar, high fructose corn syrup and other items that can aggravate certain biological issues in children.
As the incidence of allergies among children continues to increase, along with the concerns regarding the consumption of processed foods, more parents are seeking healthier, allergen-free snack alternatives for their active children. One such alternative is Crispy Fruit, made by the New Jersey-based company Crispy Green. Crispy Fruit was created as a “grab n go” healthy snack that is allergen-free, FDA approved and non-GMO Project Verified, and it does not contain any preservatives, added sugar or other additives. In fact, Crispy Fruit is made with only one ingredient!
The makers of Crispy Fruit spoke with My Kid’s Food Allergies (MFKA) and gave us some insight into their mission and products.
What Is Crispy Fruit?
Crispy Fruit is 100 percent real fruit. It is made by purchasing fresh fruit (apple, pineapple, banana, mango, Asian pear, cantaloupe and, now, tangerine), slicing the fruit, then freeze-drying and packaging it by using a “sophisticated freeze-drying process” that removes the water from the fruit in a “cold vacuum, leaving behind the true essence of the fruit in a light and crispy texture.”
But Crispy Fruit is not like other soggy, wiggly dried fruit products. Crispy Fruit is, according to several customers, “very light and airy, somewhat like a chip, and mildly sweet.” Crispy Green explained, “the sweetness comes from the fresh fruit itself; there are no sugars, sweeteners, or other additives used to enhance the taste or appearance.” The freeze-drying process locks in all the fruits’ flavor to give it a sweet, tangy taste. It also halts any enzyme activity and destroys any microorganisms existing inside the fruit that could promote bacterial growth.
Additionally, Crispy Fruit is packaged in “high quality triple-layer polybags with an aluminum lining,” which protect the dried fruit from moisture and light to promote a long shelf life. Both the freeze-drying process and manner of packaging help eliminate the need for preservatives.
Unlike Crispy Green Products, many conventionally processed pre-packaged foods often contain additives—including preservatives, sweeteners and substances added to maintain or improve appearance—which create the potential for an introduction of allergens, gluten and other problem ingredients.
Crispy Green is committed to health and quality, and as a result, fresh fruit is sourced from carefully selected certified farms prior to freeze-drying. Farmers who provide fruit to Crispy Green must pass a “stringent audit review process before their fruit is selected.” And, as an added benefit, Crispy Green’s manufacturing facilities do not process products containing peanuts or other tree nuts and are Kosher certified by the Orthodox Union.
Additionally, Crispy Green’s freeze-drying process is performed in accordance with “the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, an international standard that identifies critical control points, sets safety procedures and preventive measures, and maintains strict documentation for certification.”
For information about how Crispy Green performs its freeze-drying process, see http://www.crispygreen.com/the-freeze-dried-process or watch this video.
What People Are Saying About Crispy Fruit and How it Can Be Used.
Crispy Fruit comes in seven fruits/flavors: apple, pineapple, banana, mango, Asian pear, cantaloupe and tangerine. Each contains less than 55 calories per bag. Currently, apple, banana and mango are Crispy Green’s most popular flavors.
It can be very easy to pack the prepackaged single serving treat in your child’s lunch or in his backpack for a quick snack during after school recreational activities and sports programs.
Charles Passey of Market Watch also praised Crispy Fruit: “Another way to get your kids to eat their fruit? Serve it in crunchy form!” The New York Times called Crispy Fruit “Portable, Fresh Fruit Frozen in Time.”
Crispy Fruit is light, crispy, flavorful and nutritious without fat, cholesterol, gluten, allergens, GMOs or added calories.
Gluten Free Mike said, ”From the moment you first pop it into your mouth, you are hit [with] a zing that [is] truly amazing. I could actually taste the tartness of the tangerine followed by a subtle sweetness. While I am known more for my love of all things decadent than my healthy eating habits, these actually met both criteria. They were sweet enough to feel like a treat, but at just 55 calories (or less) there is no sweet remorse that sometimes follows.”
“I like to let them melt on my tongue to make them last longer and to get the most sweetness out of them. These are great for kids with food allergies, but they’re also perfect for adults and, calorie‐wise, totally GUILT‐free too,” said another satisfied customer.
Crispy Fruit can be used in a variety of ways. It can be added as a topper to salads, cereals or yogurt for extra crunch and sweetness; mixed in with nuts, seeds and other items for a custom trail mix; stirred into muffin, cake or cookie mixtures; added to smoothies or pulled right out of the bag as finger food.
Crispy Green advises that you store Crispy Fruit in its airtight container in the refrigerator to retain freshness and crispiness. “Freeze-dried fruits have a sponge-like character and absorb moisture quickly when exposed to air [and] can turn soggy in high temperature, [like the] inside a trunk of a car in a hot summer day, even [if] left unopened.” However, unintended sogginess can be easily corrected by placing the unopened bag in the refrigerator: “refrigerating the product will make [it] crispy once again.”
For ten years, Crispy Green has been providing customers with healthy alternatives to arguably unhealthy prepackaged children’s snacks, and there is more on the horizon. Customers have spoken and Cripsy Green has listened. Crispy Green explained that, “unfortunately, new plans are under lock and key. However, I can tell you that [we] truly listen to customers and are working on some new products” as a result of customer suggestions!
The Crispy Green Promise and Giving Back
Crispy Green takes pride in their products, and owner Angela Liu requires her Guarantee to appear on every package of Crispy Fruit:
In accordance with the Crispy Green commitment to community health, the company has sponsored several allergy‐safe events and donated our product to the event participants. Crispy Green has also worked with a blogger who writes about food allergies and was even listed in her book.
Where to Find Crispy Green Products
Crispy Green products are available at many retailers throughout the U.S., including Whole Foods, Safeway and The Fresh Market. You can also purchase Crispy Green on Amazon or from their online store at www.crispygreen.com.