Quirky’s Picks: NZ’s Best Roadie Snacks

By Emily Talbot

Why did I sign myself up for this?! Well, a while back, we ran a cookbook giveaway and asked you to tell us your go-to roadie snack. And that got me thinking… what are the best snacks on our shelves here in Aotearoa? I realised that I’d never seen such a list. And that had to change.

So I recorded the most common answers – chips and dip, scroggin, chocolate, crackers, popcorn, nut bars, etc, tootled over to the supermarket, and began my process…

Look, you can’t please everyone. That’s what I had to remind myself when narrowing down the plethora of choice on our supermarket shelves. In the end, and with the help of Leanne & Dan, I narrowed it down to the best of the best – high-quality, locally-made products, with some options for the Dairy Free, Gluten Free, and vegan eaters!

Without further ado, let’s get into it.

Potato Chips

1. Snacka Changi Chips, Sour Cream Chive & Onion

The packaging is hectic. The brand name feels somewhat offensive to say out loud. But these chippies are quite simply divine. The chip-to-seasoning ratio is chef’s kiss. The thickness is just enough to make a satisfying crunch, but not too much that you can feel the crunch in your head. The first chip to hit the tongue feels like fireworks for the tastebuds.

2. Proper Crisps, Marlborough Sea Salt

Potato chips are by no means a graceful snack, but somehow I do feel rather “Proper” when delving into a packet of these. For me, the mark of an elite salty chip is its ability to serve equally as a standalone snack and a sturdy base for dipping. It can’t detract from the dip but has to have enough flavour to impress the tastebuds by itself. These beauties strike that balance just right. The chips’ elegant thinness makes devouring a whole pack an easy, not-too-greasy affair, yet they have enough integrity to hold a hefty wad of your onion dip.

3. Heartlands, Wasabi Mayonnaise

In 2020, Heartlands Wasabi Mayonnaise fans rallied to keep this limited edition flavour on the shelf. Heartlands listened, posted about it, and got a flurry of relieved commenters. I get it. Let me reassure my fellow white folks – the wasabi flavour will not make you cough, sweat, or watery-eyed. Heartlands didn’t set out to make us suffer; hence, the mayonnaise. While the “Tokyo Tang” is indeed true to its name – “strong in taste, flavour and smell” – it won’t have you hurriedly searching for a glass of milk. Promise. #ProudlyMadeInMyHometownOfTimaru

Non-potato chips

1. Proper Cheeza-Peno Tortilla Chips (V, GF)

¡Simplemente delicioso! I recently read an article on how to shop for tortilla chips like a Mexican chef. The verdict was that a good tortilla chip should be fresh, crisp, light, and not too salty. They should be hand cooked (tick), triangular (tick), and without flavouring (no tick, but trust me when I say this flavouring is fire). Oh, and the packaging is super vibrant too.

3. Proper Hand Cooked Garden Medley Crisps (V, GF)

If you enjoy indulging in a little self-delusion like me, listen up! Eat a pack of these chips and get 3 of your 5+ a day: carrots, parsnips, and beetroot! (And Kumara, High Oleic Sunflower Oil, and Sea Salt). Somehow they feel even healthier because you can see the veggies’ original pigments and textures on the chips – the parsnips’ darker middle, the beetroots’ lines, and the carrots’ bumpy edges. Tasty AND quirky!

2. Calbee Cheddar & Herb Flavour Baked Pea Crisps (GF)

Another “guilt-free” snack that requires excruciating self-control to not eat in excess. Harvest Snaps have me wrapped around their delicious little finger. When these “healthier” little morsels arrived on NZ shelves a few years back, they had potato chip consumers questioning their loyalties with their promise of having less sodium and fat than alternatives.


1. Lisa’s Creamy Hummus with Dukkah & Pistachio (GF)

Dukkah is one of my favourite things of all time. Lisa and her crew have essentially taken an otherwise pretty standard hummus and made it godly by adding a mixture of herbs, nuts, and spices. I think it’s the creaminess of the hummus and the nutty smokiness of the toppings that do it for me. This delicious combination can make even your three-day-old, sad-looking supermarket French stick edible again.

2. Pams Spicy Habanero Guacamole (GF)

Okay, THIS one isn’t for the faint-hearted. It’s a real zinger, and it might make you cry. Happy tears that is. But yeah, I wouldn’t dig into this while driving. Save it for the campsite where you can be safe.

3. The Good Taste Garlic & Onion Kiwi Dip

Garlic makes everything greater. Your trusty onion dip is no exception. Need I say more?


1. Mother Earth Salted Pretzels

You had me at Pretzels. Pretzels in a resealable bag? That isn’t too deep or narrow, so you can grab them easily even when you’re driving or engrossed in a Netflix episode? Triple sold! I’ve been on many-a-roadies with these slotted in the middle seat and both driver and passengers’ hands competing for possession. Don’t let these pretzels leave your sight or move to the backseat. I guarantee there won’t be many left by the time it gets back your way. They are moreish.

2. Macy & Tailor Pressed Pretzels (8 Mini Packs)

If portion control isn’t your strong suit or you’re travelling with a larger clan, these 8-pack Macy & Tailor Pressed Pretzels are for you. First comes a crunch. Then, the small cubes of salt melt on your tongue. Yum. On another note, do we really need a health star rating for PRETZELS? They’re literally just flour, oil, sugar, emulsifier, raising agent and sea salt. Go figure.

3. Graze Skinny Dipped Pretzels

If Macy & Tailor’s Pressed Pretzels have a 1.5 star rating, these must have 0. Needless to say, this is one of those snacks that you’re better not to know the serving suggestion. If you have a sweet tooth, it is quite frankly impossible to stick to the recommended portion without feeling horribly dissatisfied. And that’s the only problem with carbs smothered in dark chocolate as opposed to milk. You don’t feel sick as quick, so you can just keep on going.

Mixed nuts / Scroggin

1. Graze Classic Scroggin

This filling mix is a delightful blend of nuts, dried fruits and chocolate buttons. So ideal for your bigger adventures. You might find yourself doing more than “graze”ing on it, though.

2. Mother Earth Deluxe Mix

Honestly, I rate these nuts more for what they aren’t than what they are. I’ve been scarred before by “mixed nuts” bag that turn out to be just brazil nuts and peanuts, with a light sprinkling of cashews and walnuts if you’re lucky. No thanks! This Mix is 100% brazil nut and peanut free, with plenty of the nuts you really want – macadamias, walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts.

I also do not understand how it is humanely possible to enjoy handfuls of raw, unsalted nuts. It’s like, call the fun police!

3. Nutters Chocoholic Chomp

Turns out I don’t mind peanuts when they’re chocolate coated. This sweet treat is a mix of salted cashews, choc-coated peanuts, and sultanas. I’d keep this one in the fridge on warmer days, unless you’d like to reach into a half-melted mess of brown shapes.


See ya self-control. Of all the supermarket aisles, this is the one in which I lose all semblance of restraint. I blame the ridiculous range of options. How is one supposed to choose just one or two?! Impossible, frankly.

In my experience, there are two kinds of crackers. The ones that you will happily devour a whole pack of of while you’re on the road. And then there are the ones that demand a more delicate consumption. They need to be savoured, with some cheese, chutney, and a glass of vino. So I’ve split this crackers section into two: your standard, snacky crackers and luxury crackers.

Your standard, snacky crackers:

1. Arnotts Cheds

Growing up with two brothers, these golden little rippers never lasted long. My eldest brother had an infuriating habit of policing the rate at which they disappeared. He’d open up the Tuppaware container to count the remaining and start pointing fingers. Bless him, he was just as much of an addict as we were!

Side note: I don’t know what that white spread is on the packaging, but frankly I don’t want it. Give me a Ched without topping or a Ched with cheese, and I’ll be content.

2. Peckish Rice Crackers, Tangy BBQ

Peckish Thin lovers, please don’t come at me! I love ALL Peckish thins – Original, Sweet Chilli, Cheddar Cheese, you name. I just think this flavour is the best. Their smokiness is sublime.

3. Griffins Meal Mates

It is pretty easy to make a meal out of this classic cracker. Have them with cheese, chutney, whatever you want!

And your luxury crackers…

1. 180 Degrees Crackers, Walnut Oat

After my first time devouring a packet of 180 Degrees’ heavenly Walnut Oat crackers, I realised I finally had an answer to the question: “If you were stranded on an island and could only have one food… what would it be?” These are, in my humble opinion, hands down the tastiest premium cracker on Kiwi supermarket shelves. The nutty flavour is so rich and mouth-watering and I want to say almost a bit cheesy? Honestly it’s probably a good thing they cost a whopping $5.50 per 150g pack or they’d be all I eat.

2. OB Finest Specialty Crackers, Fig & Almond (GF)

Personally, I love a bit of textural contrast in a cracker. Which is why I rank these bad boys so highly. The chewy little bits of fig and the crunchy, nutty, seedy base work so well together. Despite having a distinct flavour, you can smother these crackers with any kind of chutney, cheese and dip, and they always taste amazing. I guess you could call them cracker chameleons.

3. Little Bird Organics Flax & Almond Crackers (GF)


There’s no denying we’re diehard Whittaker’s fans. But I will give credit where credit is due. Lindt’s Dark Sea Salt Caramel is flipping delicious. As for Whittaker’s, I fear that picking our Top 2 might make us some enemies… so we’ve pulled them from Stuff’s fabulous 2022 Whittakers Chocolate ranking.

1. Whittaker’s Creamy Milk

You really can’t go wrong with Miraka Kirīmi/Creamy Milk. Have a couple squares with your evening wine, as an afternoon pick-me-up, or for a satisfying sugar rush to get you through those slower mornings at the campground. Just try not to flip out when you go back to the block and see that someone else got a bit carried away.

2. Whittaker’s Hazella

No advertising works on Kiwis quite like Whittakers’. We practically worship their chocolate and their brand as a whole. I’ve even heard their ad’s angelic “aaah” chorus in my dreams. But Hazella is on a whole other planet. A week after I accidentally devoured an entire block in one sitting (because I simply couldn’t help myself), I made an executive decision to give my block of Hazella to my flatmate, forcing her to give me a daily ration of two pieces. The greatest test of willpower I’ll ever endure… I lasted just a week. 🙃

3. Lindt Sea Salt Caramel

This is so exciting to eat. The little nuggets of sea salt and caramel pop like candy in your mouth, while the rest of the milky block melts away. Great with coffee. No wonder my Dad gatekeeped this growing up.

4. Whittaker’s Dark Almond (DF)

A classic. Rich, dark, and creamy.


1. Serious Popcorn, Salted Caramel

Mr Serious Bear isn’t messing around. He knows how to make some seriously good popcorn. Unlike homemade caramel popcorns, this one isn’t too sticky, so you won’t find it’s messy to eat on the go. Plus it’s certified organic, made with coconut oil, and there are no hidden nasties. You can also get it in 5x snack packs if you feel like sharing (unlikely).

2. New Zealand Kettle Korn

Let’s pretend that Corn written with a K doesn’t look icky.

Sweet, salty, and deliciously crunchy, these family-friendly snack packs are perfect movie fodder or daytrip packs for the family.

Nut bars

1. Pure Delish Primal Bars (GF, DF, EF)

How they managed to make a bar so healthy and so delicious at the same time is beyond me. It’s 79% nuts, seeds & dried fruit, but you really wouldn’t know it. 10/10 as a midday snack when you’re on the go.

2. Nice & Natural Protein Nut Bars, Reral Dark Chocolate & Cacao

Among the healthier Nice & Natural Bars (with only 4g of sugar per bar), just one of these bars will stave off your afternoon munchies quick smart.


1. Duck Island, Salted Caramel Cacao Crumb

Back in 2017, The Spinoff wrote an article asking whether Duck Island is indeed the best thing to come out of Hamilton. In my humble opinion, yes. It is. I couldn’t put it better than The Spinoff Board of Review did, so I’m going to quote them. “The layers of cacao crumb continued to surprise me each time I was sure there couldn’t be another floor of chocolate to spoon through.” The icecream’s “sweet and savoury flavour profile, and the smooth texture with the slightly bitter cacao crunch, demands cult adoration from the first mouthful.”

If this is the deliciousness you’re expecting, don’t make the grave mistake I almost did – buying the vegan version. It’s okay, but trust me, it doesn’t beat the OG.

2. Kapiti, Passionfruit & Kamahi Honey Yoghurt Ice Cream

The sweet, slightly bitter passionfruit swirls twirling through the creamy yoghurt icecream make for a moreish treat that will have you wishing they made these in the standard size.

3. Tip Top Trumpet, Boysenberry

Another fruity favourite among Kiwis. Boysenberry ripples through the creamy vanilla icecream, held in place by a waffley cone and chocolate corners. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I’m surprised once again by the delicious closer of the chocolate bottom. So darn delicious!

So there you have it. Quirky’s Top NZ Snack Picks! If you read this far, congrats! Why not grab yourself a snack? If reading this has made you hungry for a Kiwi adventure, check out our campervans for hire.

Happy snacking!

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