Forget Popcorn — We're Munching On These Crunchy Sunflower Kernels

Illustrated by Louisa Cannell.
What's on my desk this week? Several spout-pouches of funky-flavored, roasted sunflower kernels from a California-based company by the name of Iota. The snazzy seed-spouting business was created by Olympic freestyle skier and gold medalist Jonny Moseley and his wife, Malia — so we knew from the start that these pouches were in it to win it. And although the idea of sunflower seeds as a snack isn't necessarily a new trend, the brand's tagline, "No Basic Batch," caused us to immediately reconsider what we were dealing with. That, in addition to fact that Iota calls its sunflower seeds "kernels." Our curiosity was officially piqued and so we dug into (or rather, popped open) a pouch in order to find out more.
The packaging is unusually enjoyable to hold; it features a smooth and palm-sized matte bag with a small white screw-top spout at the bottom. No tearing or ripping apart of the pouches required: to open, all we had to do was simply unscrew the small plastic spout and then pour out the kernels. The kernels turned out to be visually identical to your typical sunflower seeds, but the texture was another story completely; clustery, crunchy, and roasted to perfection. We tried all three varieties: Classic (subtly salty from an addition of pink Himalayan sea salt), Kettle (packed a salty-sweet punch just like its popcorn predecessor), and Umami (tangy with hints of a savory, almost soy sauce-like flavor).
Our minds were blown by this reinvention of sunflower seeds as an innovative snack. From unique pouch design to flavor profiles, Iota's kernels are certainly not a basic batch. You can grab your own box of six spout-pouches online for $23.34 and munch to believe it for yourself.
*Hot Tip: Create your own unexpected flavor mashup trail mix by pouring the pouches in with an assortment of your favorite nuts and dried fruits.
Welcome to Snack On This! A weekly series on all-things crunchy, crispy, smooth, savory, and sweet. Join us as we munch our way through the latest snacks that get a big thumbs up from our food team. (That usually means they've made it all the way from our mail pile to a more permanent spot in our not-so-official snack drawer.) Got suggestions for next week? Throw 'em our way in the comments below.

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