Vegan treat, The Perfect Snaque, gets an Olympic nod

Members of the USRowing Olympic team sample The Perfect Snaque.
Members of the USRowing Olympic team sample The Perfect Snaque.
Posted: July 13, 2012

JULY IS A big month for U.S. rowing at the top level: Over in Camden on the Cooper River, the 2012 USRowing Club National Championships began Wednesday and continue through this weekend. Shortly thereafter, the USRowing Senior National team heads to London for the Olympics.

Other than Philly's longstanding love of rowing culture, what does all this have to with "V for Veg"? Well, it happens that the Olympic rowers will officially be powered by a vegan snack product, The Perfect Snaque, which you can also check out at the Camden event.

Available in three varieties (and due in local Whole Foods stores in time for the July 27 start of the Summer Games), Perfect Snaque is a blend of whole grains and seeds to be eaten on the go — a good match for athletic competitors. It was invented by a husband-and-wife team in Princeton, where USRowing is headquartered.

Cricket Allen, the "mom-preneur" behind the product, explained it was born of "my eating philosophy and eating pattern," which was to put a bunch of healthy raw, dry ingredients "in a little Tupperware thing and then, as need be, kind of dump it back into my mouth out of the Tupperware thing — and as you can imagine, half of it would go all over the place."

Turning that idea into a marketable product was half ingredient-mixing and half package-development. Having tried it myself, I can report that both elements are winners. The "crunch" Snaques come in a handy, refillable 1?1/2-ounce container with an easy-open flip-top, and there are larger bags to refill it. (If you wind up with extra containers, the Snaque folks list many secondary uses they can be put to rather than to be thrown out.)

But does it taste good? As Cricket said, "Our No. 1 mission was coming up with something that tasted great." Mission accomplished! Two of the varieties, Apple Quinoa and Chili Chia, are enjoyable enough, but the Coconut Almond Crunch is as tasty as a candy bar (with less than a quarter of the sugar and zero sodium), all the while delivering heapin' helpings of fiber, protein, calcium and iron.

This profile makes Snaques a healthful grab-and-go option for you and me and even more for rowers. In deciding on its Olympic partnership with Snaques, USRowing surveyed members and got glowing endorsements, according to Allen. "It was exactly how we envisioned it, from the convenience of the product to the taste — some said it gave them a ‘weightless energy.' "

This is largely because the "flip, tip and pour" format, unlike a solid bar, requires no additives like binders or oils. Instead, Allen said, they concentrated on making the product perform optimally for as many people as possible.

"We were 100 percent committed to it being vegan and soy-free. I love tofu, but I didn't want to put any of that highly processed soy protein isolate in it. And we didn't see any reason to put any casein or whey in it."

Also shunned were "whole-food" components like puffed rice or popcorn. "What we didn't want to do was stuff the thing full of a Rice Krispies-type component to fill someone's belly and fill up the size of the package. We wanted to be able to say everything in it is good for you."

And to that I say, good for you!

V for Vortex: A crossover group of environmentalists and animal-rights activists meet occasionally at Grindcore House (1515 S. 4th St.) to discuss their overlapping issues and initiatives. If you're interested, the next meeting is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday.

Vance Lehmkuhl is a cartoonist, writer, musician and 10-year vegan. "V for Veg" chronicles the growing trend of plant-based eating in and around Philadelphia. Send your veg tips to VforVeg@phillynews.com and follow @V4Veg on Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|