Are you looking for the best Snack Sticks in Australia but don’t know which one to choose?
No problem! We’ve decided to do all the work for you, and put together the following guide on the best Snack Sticks in Australia.
In making this guide, we’ve eaten our way through countless Australian snack sticks that you can know which ones to eat, and which ones to avoid! Most of the snack sticks mentioned below were based on those that you can find at either Woolworths, Coles or Aldi.
So, first things first, what’s a Snack Stick?
If you’re new to Australia or didn’t grow up early 2000’s or earlier – there’s a good chance that may not even know what a snack Stick is!
Broadly speaking, a Snack Stick (or Snack Stick, or Salami Stick – take your pick of names) is a small-diametre, semi-dried snacking sausage that has been filled into a casing. They are most commonly made with a combination of meat (often a mixture of minced beef and pork), salt, spices, curing agents and preservatives.
As mentioned in this post, Snack Sticks were a staple of my childhood and I fondly remember going with my parents to the local Italian deli and grabbing a bag of Snack Sticks to munch on during the ride home.
However, after eating them for years without giving the ingredients list much thought, it was only after having kids of my own did I start paying attention!
Looking for a snack for my daughter one shopping trip, I grabbed a snack stick being sold at the deli. But this time, I turned over the pack to read out the ingredients. It was a laundry list of mystery meat and added nasties. No way!
That was the spark for me to see if we at KOOEE! could make something better – something you’d actually TRUST giving your kids (and feel good about eating yourself!)
How do you make a snack stick?
There are three main methods for making snack sticks:
- Fermented (via adding a curing agent) and hung to dry like a traditional Italian salami. The objective here is to “cure” the snack stick via dropping the pH of the product by introducing a curing agent – often a form of “culture” – just like when culture is added to make yoghurt. This “cooks” the product (think adding lemon juice to fish) – reducing the risk of pathogens surviving in the product. The snack stick is then is hung to dry to reduce the moisture content, which extends the shelf life of the product
- Heat-treated – some sort of cooking process. This can be either done in a traditional oven, a commercial dehydrator or a drying room, and the objective is to cook the snack sticks until the risk of any nasty pathogens existing on the sticks (like salmonella) is virtually eliminated. Once the sticks have been heat-treated for a pre-determined time, they are then dried at a low temperature to reduce the moisture content to make the sticks shelf-stable and have a long shelf life.
- Combination of the above – Some companies (like us!) both ferment and heat-treat the product so that they are safe to eat and don’t require refrigeration, while still tasting delicious. The advantage of doing both methods is that we eliminate the risk of pathogens while also retaining that traditional salami flavour without overdrying the snack stick!
Who eats snack sticks?
Snack Sticks are one of those snacks that suit a bunch of different occassions:
- Keto snacking: Because snack sticks are traditionally a good source of protein, are high in fat and have almost no carbs, they have been seen as a great snacking choice for the keto diet.
As you are most probably aware, the keto diet has exploded in popularity in recent years as an alternative diet for those looking to lose weight by generally cutting out carb-heavy processed foods (think grains, potatoes and high-sugar foods). For those interested in learning more, here’s an earlier post I wrote about keto snacks.
- Kids lunchbox snacks: If you’re a time-poor parent like me, one of the constant struggles is preparing a healthy lunchbox that your kids can take to school, that they actually enjoy. Because they are soft and easy to eat, many kids love a snack stick (as I did when I was young) and hence are a popular snack for parents to pack in a lunchbox as a recess snack.
- WFH snack: And it’s not just the kids that should be the only people that should enjoy the humble snack stick – they’re perfect as a snack to escape the monotony of constant Zoom meetings!
- Grazing platters: Who made the rule that cabanossi must be on every cheese board or grazing platter since the early 90’s? Snack sticks – especially the spicy options – are an easy and popular substitute.
- Roadtrip snack: Because it’s easy to open, shelf-stable and convenient to eat (one-handed!), snack sticks are a perfect road-trip snack. Eyes on the road, Rhonda!