18th November 2010, on the menu today...
Another product remembered fondly from my childhood. Hula Hoops have a fun name and shape and, if nothing else, can be worn on the fingers to double-up very nicely as budget jewellery, a rather tasty knuckle duster - what a pleasant thought - or a range of finger-based characters as per the brand's wonderful advertising campaign...the possibilities are endless.
First off, I am going to have to say a few irritated words about these health-related messages manufacturers increasingly brandish their products with. As is the case here, a big banner at the top of the packaging tells the consumer all sorts of things that will supposedly make them feel better about their purchase. However, on a personal level, I find such things far too distracting and, indeed, extremely damaging to the overall aesthetic of the design. Moreover, when I buy such products I primarily want two things: fun and taste. I know these products aren't the healthiest of options and I am fine with that as they never have been and I don't expect them to be. For a manufacturer to think that I will buy a particular brand because I perceive it to be healthier than another is simply deluded. I strongly believe that such health-related matters should be confined to the back of the product where they are still perfectly legible to those interested.
Anyway, health messages aside, the packet has kept its cheery red colour scheme which is nice to see. The graphic of the Hula Hoop with the brand name inscribed in it is depicted in quite an energetic form giving the design a certain amount of dynamism. As for the reverse, this is fairly visually stimulating with warm yellows, oranges and reds set against a shiny foil background. Little things like the bit of Hula Hoop history helps liven up an area of the packaging usually reserved for just a quality guarantee, an ingredients lists and odd bits of nutritional information.
Texture-wise, these are much more solid constructions than a normal crisp so they are a bit more resistant to the bite and have a delightful crunch to them. As for the taste, the potato flavour really comes through and it is quite pleasant; however, I feel today's Hula Hoops are lacking in the salt department as a lot of the crisp were too plain for my liking.
Overall, the sense of nostalgia was good and I've always liked the crisp's shape; however, with the lack of salt to perk them up, I sadly found the crisps fairly dull and no match for the likes of a Walkers Ready Salted. Put simply, as with the packaging, there is great potential here but it's frustratingly let down by a few simple things.
The more recent ads featuring Hula Hoop characters are absolute genius in my opinion. A simple concept needing no fancy special effects but highly entertaining and original.
Have you considered...?
As the manufacturer makes - very - clear, Hula Hoops are made with 100% Sunflower oil and contain no artificial flavours, artificial colours or MSG. Moreover, sodium levels are pretty good too - unfortunate with regards to taste. So, for a packet of crisps, Hula Hoops are one of the 'healthier' options available to the consumer.
History (as per the Wikipedia entry):
Hula Hoops are a potato-based snack, in the shape of short, hollow cylinders. They were first introduced in 1973. Hula Hoops come in several different flavors. They are produced by KP Snacks. In 2008 KP launched a new variety made with corn, called 'Hula Hoops Tortilla', which come in Cool Original, Chilli Salsa and Nacho Cheese flavours.
United Biscuits (owner of Hula Hoop brand)
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