Pepperidge Farm swims into gluten-free market with Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs

Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs
Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs

Product: Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs – $1.99+

It has been over 2 years since I last had Goldfish crackers.  Yes…those crunchy little baked cheese crackers.  The snack the smiles back…until you bite it’s head off.  Those Goldfish.  They are the epitome of snack crackers, hailed as a healthier snack cracker due to having to added preservatives and the fact that they are baked.  So, there is at least that much.  But regular Goldfish crackers are made with wheat flour…which meant when I had to go gluten-free…I had to say good-bye to these little bite-size crackers of goodness.

Okay…that might not have been a bad thing.  I mean…while one of the better choices for crackers for both kids and adults, a quick glance at what goes into Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish Crackers…is definitely not falling into the new Clean Eating habits I am working toward with my sports nutritionist.  I mean…aside from the gluten-containing ingredients, Goldfish crackers often contain food dyes and other such ingredients.  But, they are certainly the lesser of the evils when it comes to snack choices.

The same can be said for the new line of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Puffs, which come in three flavors: Buffalo Wing, Mega Cheese, and Cheddar Bacon.

I’m not a huge fan of Buffalo Wing things…and I’m a vegetarian so the Cheddar Bacon wasn’t happening.  Therefore…my only choice was Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs.  I was okay with that.  Besides, when I could eat Goldfish, the cheese were always my favorite anyway.

So, let’s talk about these, shall we?

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stopped into my local Target and spotted these on the shelf.  I knew they existed.  I had heard all about them from the various networks of the gluten-free community that I deal with via the internet.  However, I failed to do much reading up on them.  When I spotted them at Target in this big bag…I pulled it down and flipped it over.  Sure enough…clear as day on the back of the package it was labeled: GLUTEN FREE.  I love it when things are actually labeled.  I wasn’t going to purchase them.  I didn’t need them.  But my roomie said she’d get them for me.  And…what the heck?  Everyone in life needs to treat themselves to something every now and again.

So, after taking them home…they had to sit for a week, which is shorter than usual for snacks, but I’ve been clearing them out.  I’ve been good.  But yesterday marked the day I broke these bad-boy fishies out for my afternoon snack at work.  I always dole out a serving so I don’t sit there and mindlessly eat out of the bag.  I would do it too, which is why I am so adamant on portion sizes.  The first thing I noticed is why these are called Puffs.  They are puffed crackers.  Think…Cheetos…but in the shape of really big Goldfish crackers.  Yes…they even still have that signature smile.  They also have that infamous aftificial cheesy smell, you know…like that sweet smelling powdered cheese smell that accompanies those powdered cheese packets boxes of macaroni and cheese.  These crackers are called “Mega Cheese” because they include three different kinds of cheese flavors: cheddar, Asiago, and Romano.  Three cheeses that I actually like.  So, that was promising.

I had to let my roommate try one.  Cathy is basically my “Mikey”…in that she samples these foods first.  She’s better than she used to be, but she can still be rather picky about her food.  So, I figure if she likes it…we’re on to something.  She popped a big fishy into her mouth and chewed.  Then…her eyes got a little bigger and she said, “They’re good!  Like…like…Cheetos!”  A-HA!  I knew that’s what they were going for.  I was now eager to try them myself.  When I popped my first Goldfish Puff…immediately, the taste and texture was very much like Cheetos.  I loved Cheetos as a child.  So, this was like combining two of my favorite treats from my childhood into one.  They really were pretty good.

The first flavor that hits you is sweet…which means the asiago cheese is what you get.  It’s very sharp and definitely wakes up those tastebuds.  But it then mixes in those cheddar and romano flavors and suddenly…they taste like…nacho cheese.  And maybe that’s what they were going for.  Maybe they are supposed to taste like boxed macaroni and cheese products.  I mean…kids love Kraft mac and cheese, right?  Therefore, they would love these.

I loved how crunchy these were, despite being “puffs.”  That was a nice surprise.  The secret to that is that these are made from corn meal instead of a wheat flour.  It really gets that cheesy-poof texture just right.  And I loved how fun it was to munch away at my desk on puffed Goldfish.  I mean…I felt like a kid again.  And it only made me smile.

So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  Ingredient-wise…not the cleanest of snack foods, but not the worst I have encountered either.  I allow this one to fall in the 20% of non-clean eating that I am allotting myself.  I mean, you can’t go through life without treats.  You have to have something every now and again.  And this was a surprisingly delicious and fun treat for me.  There is no use of high fructose corn syrup or any food colors, so at least there is that.

As for nutrition, a serving size is 41 pieces, or about 30 grams.  I always weigh my servings.  In this serving, you will be served up 140 calories and 6 grams of fat.  Holding true with other Goldfish products, these do not contain any trans fats.  YAY!  The Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs are also cholesterol free in addition to being gluten-free.  They have only 280 mg of sodium, which isn’t bad for a snack cracker, right?  It’s better than Cheetos sodium count, so there is something to think about.  These puffy crackers also will provide 2 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fiber.

So, like everything…moderation is key.  Would I buy these again?  YES!  They are good and they make a fantastic, tasty, nice treat.  They aren’t horrible when it comes to nutrition.  And the Mega Cheese promise is truly delivered with each bite.  I love the whimsical and classic Goldfish shape is continued even in the puffed up corn snacks.  They taste amazing.  They are fun.  So, my roomie’s treat to me definitely worked out favorably.  I’m hooked.  Pun intended…

The thing about these New Pepperidge Farm Mega Cheese Goldfish Puffs, which have 140 CALORIES PER 41 PIECES (who the heck is counting to 41??), is that they are clearly meant to be a competitor to Cheetos.  And I think that’s tough, because I have a real soft spot for Cheetos.  Soft as in the pockets of my stomach where Cheetos have burned away my stomach lining.  But also because I think Cheetos are some of the greatest snacks ever.  Herr’s and other companies have tried and failed to tear me away from the original Chester Cheetah Cheetos and Cheese Puffs.  You have an uphill climb, here, Pepperidge Farm. – See more at:

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