Friday 24 February 2023


As I grabbed the packet of Hendo's off the shelf in B&M for my latest British Crisps review, I couldn't help but ask myself "What on Earth is Henderson's Relish? Is it some sort of Lea & Perrins rip-off?" But it turns out I had made the mistake of an absolute beginner. For, as the "Strong & Northern" tagline indicates, it's a delicacy from the North of England.

And, as Labour MP Jim Dowd found out, it is most definitely not a Lea & Perrins imitator. Most significantly, Henderson's Relish forgoes the perennially polarising anchovies from its recipe to create a sauce all of its own. And, in 2022, the Sheffield-based manufacturer decided to launch a 'soya & potato spicy snack' which has now made its way into the hands of British Crisps.

I wasn't sure what to expect from Hendo's, my previous experiences with Worcester sauce crisps had failed to ignite much enjoyment in my mouth. But Hendo's would differ due to the absence of anchovies - incidentally, I love anchovies.

Anyway, the packet, with its simple and bold design, popped off the shelves at me, so the marketing bods at Hendersons should be applauded for this. And, at 59p for a 23g bag, it represented decent value for money. Finally, with just 2.9g of fat and 0.18g of salt, Hendo's had marked itself out as a healthy - well, as healthy as crisps come - option.

But the taste, what would it be like? And how, with its light and airy appearance, would it fare when it came to the crunch test? There was only one way to find out and, for those of you at the back who haven't been keeping up, that would be achieved through ripping the packet open and diving in.

Opening the packet, I adopted the behaviour of a vigorous bloodhound and sniffed the aroma of the Hendo's intently. Hmmm, well, there was a mild tang but I still wasn't entirely sure on what would unfold on my tongue. The pack was decently filled, though, so I had that to hang on to at least (being a glutton of epic proportions). So, I started munching and I'm delighted to report these were, whilst not a religious experience, pleasingly addictive.

The absence of anchovies certainly marks Henderson's Relish out as less salty than Worcester sauce, and the resulting fruity tang which dominates the taste of Hendo's is pushed forwards by a combination of the tamarind flavourings and the vinegary sharpness afforded by the acetic acid.

It may not be for everyone due to the way it dominates your tongue - and the more seasoned Hendo's are so tart that the edges of your tongue will start performing aerobic flexes - but it makes for a pleasing shock to the taste buds. And, despite soya flour and tapioca starch outranking it in the snack's construction, the earthy flavour of potato provides the final savoury flourish which Hendo's has to offer.

Crunch wise, Hendo's won't make the earth shake, and their design is far from iconic, being little more than a savoury frisbee left out in the sun to warp. But these light and healthy snacks are much more about the flavour and, for the more adventurous crisp munchers, Hendo's will tick plenty of boxes.

Hendo's surprised me and, more importantly, they brought the curious tale of Henderson's Relish to my attention. Little known outside of the North of England, Henderson's Relish should clearly be in more cupboards up and down the land. And Hendo's serve as a perfect introduction to this world, it's only a shame they aren't available in bigger bags.

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