Food & Drink We put the middle classes' favourite snack foods to...

We put the middle classes' favourite snack foods to the test – but do you agree with our verdict?

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The rustle of crisps and the crunch of nuts signals just one thing – it’s snack time, again. Fifty per cent of us snack between two and three times a day according to a recent Waitrose survey, while 30 per cent substitute packets of sweet and salty treats for a proper meal. So you’re not alone if you’re already craving confectionery.

Crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolate take the top spots in the nation’s snacking preferences (a principled 17 per cent opt for fruit, nuts or vegetables), with cheesy puffs, flavoured nuts and even humble custard creams emerging as bestsellers according to Waitrose, M&S and Sainsbury’s. And when the middle classes fancy some care-free grazing, pork scratchings, pretzels and choc-chip cookies join the menu.

Cue our (non-exhaustive) guide to some of the best and most popular pick-me-ups on the high street…

The taste test

Flavoured nuts are all the rage at Waitrose, according to its buyers, and the most popular iteration is the sweet-chilli-coated peanut. Powerfully smoky thanks to a good dose of paprika and ginger powder, these crisp and buttery bites are generously delivered – no half-filled packets here. The lengthy list of added colourings, flavourings and modified starches is guaranteed to keep us wanting more.

The two-entry ingredient list – pork rinds (fried in pork oil), seasoned with salt – manages to produce surprisingly delicious morsels. Each strip reveals distinct layers of fat and rind; these are chunkier, chewier, less tooth-shattering than their pork scratching cousins. A salty packet we’d prefer to share than scoff solo.

Rustic, almost homemade-looking rounds, studded with milk and dark chocolate chunks that melt in the mouth. They don’t have a sickly sweet flavour despite the high sugar content – rather they’re malty and baked to a crisp rather than fudgy finish.

Humble these may be but they’re the supermarket’s best-selling biscuit. Delivering everything you’d expect from a custard cream, subtly malty and incredibly sweet. Their soft, dusty crunch makes them an excellent option if you want to hear the television over your munching.

Extremely creamy, milky milk chocolate cut with just a suggestion of salty caramel (for some it could be too sweet). Tony’s has become a hit grab-and-go chocolate bar and maybe it’s simply the flavour that has us going back for seconds, or perhaps the cunning asymmetrical bar design that delivers a different-sized chocolate hit each time.

The potent powdery coating delivers the sour cream and chive flavour (dried onion and garlic) we’ve all become accustomed to but it diminishes quickly to leave a bland-tasting pretzel. They do have a satisfying crunch, though.

The brand’s top snack in terms of sales and popularity; tasting notes are barely required for these iconic porcine (now totally vegan) sweets. With no artificial colours or flavours there’s an impressive amount of juicy fruitiness in each mouthful, thanks to extracts from apple, mandarin and elderberry.

Luminous orange in colour, just like their Wotsit inspiration, but without the overpowering smell (you might get away with eating these in public without anyone noticing). Unlike their branded counterparts they’re less gluey, delivering a decent crunch as well as little debris from the powdery coating, but a glass of water or two is needed to wash them down.

The ‘combo mix’ – a crisps mishmash of wagonwheel, tube and shell shapes – can be found on almost all supermarket shelves but those at M&S have achieved cult status. Each shape has a different texture (the wheel is puffy while the shell is the most brittle) but they all deliver a salty, totally moreish bite. There’s nothing sophisticated about this lucky-dip bag but we could easily graze through it without blinking.

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