Sensational Tuna Sensations

Bumble Bee Sensations Seasoned Tuna Medleys with Crackers

Bumble Bee Sensations Seasoned Tuna Medleys with Crackers

I Paid $1.54 per 3.6-ounce snack pack (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 4 stars

Marketing: 4 stars

Snack packs of relatively healthful foods are a smart idea for everyone involved: The maker gets to sell small amounts of food and mark it up for the cute packaging and convenience factor; the consumer gets to eat something healthier than Doritos or Oreos in a handy not-quite-a-meal serving size.

Thus: snack packs of shelf-stable tuna fish plus crackers, plus a small disposable tuna-fish-spackler-applier-tongue-depressor thing.

Bumble Bee's approach with its Sensations snack packs tarts up the tuna with a variety of flavors: Lemon & Pepper, Sundried Tomato & Basil, and Spicy Thai Chili. In short: They all work. The Spiced Thai Chili variety has real chile bits mixed in with the tuna, and offers sweetness, heat, and spice. It's a little intense, but the Ritz-like crackers that come as part of the snack pack help moderate that. Sundried Tomato & Basil has some real tomato sweetness and acid (although the basil gets lost), and there's real lemon-juice zing opening the Lemon & Pepper variety, which closes with a noticeable peppery kick.

Sensations work equally well with bread (a hot dog roll is a nice route to take) and herald two welcome trends in the world of packaged foods: snack packs that aren't just sugar and corn byproducts, and flavorful reimaginings of traditional household standards that make use of simple, quality ingredients to achieve their flavor boosts.

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

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