At last: chicken soup crisps
A kosher snack revolution is rippling out from north Manchester
Jewish pencillin — in a bag. Ronan Derber’s Ten Acre kosher crisps will soon be on sale in London (Photo: Jonathan Calmus)
Like many of civilisation’s great advances, the process that resulted in the launch of the UK’s first meat-flavoured kosher crisp this week started with a happy accident.
Manchester father-of-two Ronen Derber was frying chips for his young sons one Sunday lunchtime when a piece of potato peel fell by chance into the pan.
Mr Derber picked it out and tasted it, and discovered he had inadvertently made a kettle crisp.
The discovery, coupled with his frustration with the limited variety of flavours available to him and his family after they started to keep kosher two years ago, led the 36-year-old to quit his career as a packaging salesman and create a crisp company instead.
“That Sunday, in three minutes, I’d made a bowl of kettle chips. So I thought, why can’t I source a kosher flavour that suited my tastes?” said Mr Derber.
That glimmer of an idea bore fruit. Stores in Manchester have began stocking his Ten Acre brand under the strictly-Orthodox Machzikei Hadass supervision. The crisps, which are meat-free, also carry halal, vegetarian and vegan stamps.
The flagship flavour is called “How Chicken Soup Saved the Day”, inspired by the Jewish adage about chicken soup as penicillin.
The crisps are also gluten free, which will appeal to kosher coeliacs who protested when crisp giant Walkers stopped its gluten-free version two years ago.
But does the new product stand up to the demanding standards of Jewish snack fans?
Coeliac Debra Davidson, a nutritionist from Prestwich, north Manchester, had never tried a meat-flavoured crisp before. She gave Mr Derber’s offering the thumbs up.
“The chicken flavour tastes quite realistic,” she said. “This will make a massive change to my diet. There is almost nothing out there for us with any real flavour that is gluten-free and has a kosher symbol on the packaging.”
Twenty-year-old student Eli Fletcher noted that gluten-free products often taste of rice more than crisps, but he too appreciated the product’s genuine taste of chicken soup.
Gideon Radivan, from Prestwich, was won over by the “meaty feel” of the chicken crisps, rather than the flavour itself. “We need more products like these — they’re a good idea,” he said.
Londoners will not have to wait long to find out if they agree. Ten Acre crisps are due to arrive in the capital’s kosher shops next week, and discussions with wider distributors have begun, Mr Derber says.