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The snack that smiles back

(Photo courtesy of Washington Square Local). “Goldfish crackers.”

Steven O’Hara
Connector Staff

People are up in fins about the best flavor of Goldfish. When it comes to this snack, there has been much dissension over the best flavor, and this debate has even reached UMass Lowell. 

Goldfish is an afterschool snack that can be found in grocery stores across the globe. Manufactured by Pepperidge Farm, these baked crackers come in varying flavors, with from the traditional flavor being the original, or saltine, ranging to more creative ones like cupcake or pretzel. 

For many, Goldfish reminds people of their childhood. Angie DosSantos, a UMass Lowell junior sociology major, draws a distinct memory when thinking about this snack. “[It reminds me of] middle school, you know, Boys and Girls Club and after-school activities,” DosSantos said.  

DosSantos is not the only student that has a similar connection to this snack. Ty Dinh, a UMass Lowell sophomore business major, also connects Goldfish to his childhood, when he was a “wee little lad … probably around five years old.”  

According to Pepperidge Farm, Goldfish are baked with real cheese and no artificial flavors or preservatives. To get their vibrant shades, plant extracts are used in many Goldfish flavors, including Cheddar Colors. Goldfish are sold across 50,000 stores in the United States and can be found at most local grocery stores. 

With their allergy-friendly ingredients and widespread popularity, Goldfish has been a consistent snack in many people’s lives since they were children. Priyanka Kumar, a sophomore chemistry major at UMass Lowell, associates these crackers with a time during her childhood. It is reminiscent of, Kumar said, “sports games … or a nice little snack that my parents would pack. Or friends would pack and I would leech off of them.” 

While people agree that Goldfish are great, there are arguments about what is the best flavor. This discourse has divided the Goldfish community and the idea of the best flavor of this snack is entirely dependent on the person. Dinh, for example, doesn’t consider flavor to be a limiting factor, but rather the shape of the snack. His favorite happens to be the limited edition Mandalorian Star Wars Goldfish because it has a cracker shaped like the character Grogu.  

In other cases, flavor does come as a major deciding factor. “I’m a safe and simple person,” DosSantos said, “so I stick with the original.”  

With so many different flavors to choose from, it can be hard to choose a favorite. “I like [cheddar], I never liked the different flavors. Or if it’s there, sometimes I eat the pretzel,” Kumar said. 

In an effort to measure the popularity of various flavors, this reporter devised a poll asking participants to rank 10 flavors of Goldfish: original, cheddar, pizza, flavor blast, vanilla cupcake, pretzel, cheddar colors, parmesan, whole grain and Old Bay.  

In this poll, 24 anonymous people ranked these flavors from one, being the least favorite, to 10, being the most favorite. The results distinguished that whole grain was the worst flavor, while original and flavor blast were tied for the best flavors.  

No matter the stance that any person has on their favorite flavor, there is one thing that everyone understands about this snack. Dinh says it best: “[It’s] the snack that smiles back.” 

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