Twiglets: Are they healthy, good for you or fattening?

Twiglets are a beloved British institution. It may surprise you to learn that they’ve been around since the 1930s, and haven’t changed much in the interim. I love them, so I wondered if they were fattening or healthy, and did a bit of research.

I found that Twiglets are considered to be one of the ‘healthiest snacks in a bag’ and are much better for you than most crisps. They’re quite high in fibre and have only a third of the fat found in normal crisps. Their yeast extract coating also supplies many B vitamins, too.

What’s in twiglets? (Twiglet ingredients and calories)

The packet lists the ingredients as:

Wholewheat Flour (80%), Flavouring [Yeast Extract (Barley), Salt, Vegetable Extract (Carrot)], Vegetable Oils (Sunflower, Palm), Salt, White Pepper.

In my world, short ingredient lists are good. No weird chemicals, colourings or flavourings. The bag also says they are “baked, not fried” but then so are a lot of the ‘healthier’ crisps these days. A 25g bag serving of original Twiglets has 103 calories. That’s around half the calories of a normal bag of crisps. They have 3.1g of fat per serving whereas a ‘normal’ packet of crisps has three times that or more.

Twiglet-nutritional-information

Do Twiglets have Marmite in them?

No. However, Twiglets are coated in a yeast extract, which is what Marmite is, so it’s very similar. This is why Twiglets taste of Marmite, or have that ‘burned’ umami taste. Like Marmite, you’ll either love or hate them depending on your feelings towards yeast extract.

The confusion on whether Twiglets contain Marmite, besides the fact they taste similar, is probably from an episode of Mr Bean. He runs out of Twiglets on New Years’ Eve and decides that real twigs dipped in Marmite make a good substitute (they don’t).

Are Twiglets good for you?

Based on the above calorie and fat information, if you have to choose a crunchy, crisp-like snack then Twiglets are a ‘good for you’ choice. They’re predominantly made from whole wheat flour, which is high in fibre. A 25g serving has 2.8g of fibre, which is between 10-15% of most people’s daily needs.

Their flavouring is yeast extract, which is a natural flavouring high in salt but this also means they contain B vitamins too. The saturated fat content is quite low (0.4g) and unsurprisingly they’re very savoury and low in sugar (0.1g). Niacin and Folate are also found in Twiglets, which makes them a better choice for those who are pregnant – but keep an eye on salt consumption.

Overall, if you had to choose between standard crisps, nuts, chocolate or Twiglets as a snack – Twiglets come out as pretty healthy in comparison.

Are Twiglets suitable for vegetarians? Are Twiglets vegan?

Yes, Twiglets are vegan. They’re made with flour, yeast and vegetable extracts, vegetable oils to help the baking process, and seasoning – none of which is derived from animal products. Their ingredients have changed a couple of times over the years but currently, Twiglets are definitely vegan.

Are Twiglets crisps?

Twiglets are not crisps, because according to the Oxford dictionary, a crisp is a “wafer-thin slice of potato fried or baked until crisp” – what the Americans call a potato chip. Crisps usually only refer to potatoes, so no, Twiglets are not crisps, but they are a crispy snack often found in the crisp aisle.

Where can I buy Twiglets online, or in bulk?

Twiglets seem to be one of those snacks that hasn’t been exported in large numbers yet. This is probably due to their love-or-hate taste (like Marmite). If you’re an expat living outside the UK and want to order Twiglets online, you can get them from the expat-specialist shop British Corner Shop. They also have them in bulk if you want to buy Twiglets in bulk (even if you’re in the UK).

Twiglets are sold in bags and multipacks all year round, but nearer Christmas you’ll often find seasonal big tubs of them.

CuisineSeeker Tip: if you’re not going to eat a lot of them in one go (e.g. for a party) then buy the single-serve bags, not the tubs. Due to their high salt content you’ll find they absorb moisture from the air after being open a couple of days and will start to soften if left in the big bag or tub, even if it’s sealed well. It’s slightly less economical to buy a bigger volume of smaller bags, but it’ll guarantee crunchy fresh Twiglets!

Where can I buy Worcester sauce “Tangy” Twiglets?

Tangy Twiglets were a limited-edition flavour that originally appeared in the 1990s.  They made a return in 2010 – 2012 due to popular demand, but they haven’t been made since. Currently, there are no plans to bring them back.  

Curry Twiglets also made an appearance in 1999-2001 as another limited-edition flavour that has also been discontinued.

If you are upset about the lack of Worcester sauce Tangy Twiglets and want to join like-minded people campaigning to bring them back, there’s a Facebook Group called “Bring Back Tangy Twiglets” (click here to view it). Perhaps a bit of peer pressure or petition signing might work?

What happened to long Twiglets?

Twiglets first appeared in the 1930s, when they were an upmarket cocktail snack often served with drinks as a ‘nibble’. They were much longer then, as you can see from this wonderful 1930s Twiglets advert:

1930s Twiglets Advert

Image Credit: 53zodiac – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Twiglets stopped being long in the 1970s and were replaced with the shorter versions you see today, possibly to make them easier to sell as a snack in a bag alongside crisps.

However, occasionally people have found ‘extra long’ freak examples of Twiglets in today’s packets and this being Britain, it makes the news, of course. See “Bloke Finds world’s biggest Twiglet” from The Sun, and “Snacker finds six inch twiglet” from the Daily Mail. Sometimes you’ll find people selling strangely shaped or long Twiglets on eBay, too. Bizarre.

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