A Dippin’ Snack I Wanted to Love

giddy dip'ems

giddy dip'ems

I Paid: $3.99 for a box of four 2-ounce snack packs (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 2 stars

Marketing: 5 stars

Let's put my own bias on the table right from the outset. I really, really would like to like giddy dip'ems, a snack kit for kids consisting of a sweet dipping-stick biscuit plus fruit sauce. The biscuit (halfway between a dense graham cracker and a piece of whole-wheat bread) is baked with whole grains; there's no high-fructose corn syrup anywhere in the whole snack, and the dipping sauce is made with real fruit. Each 140-calorie snack pack comes with four dipping sticks and a pot of fruity dipping sauce, and the amiable complexity of the package would keep little hands occupied for a good stretch: First you open the wrapper, then you take the cover off the dipping sauce, then you dip each biscuit, in turn, into the fruit.

Plus, wholesomeness! The packaging beats it into you in a beautifully designed if ultimately aggressive fashion: "nothing artificial"; "balanced, healthy living"; "wholesome"; "engaging, interactive"; etc. etc., OK, enough, yes.

Here's the catch. My adult palate—a palate, mind you, that's increasingly fond of salt on caramels, stinky cheese, and peaty Islay Scotch—found these things to be austere verging on punishing. The fruit dip is almost puckery in its intensity while being relatively one-dimensional in flavor. The mango/pineapple Tropical variety was more tart than sweet, Sour Apple was truly sour, and even the Grape and Strawberry varieties offered little in the way of sweetness, which is too bad—the dipping sticks have a bit of that whole-wheat bread aftertaste to them, and a sweet finish would have been a nice antidote.

The idea of getting kids off of the sugary garbage they eat and crave is an entirely sound one. But the odds are against giddy dip'ems being the wholesome and effective dessert methadone our HFCS-addicted young people actually need.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.