|Place of origin||Israel|
|Main ingredients||Peanut butter|
|Variations||Sweet Bamba, Nougat-filled Bamba, Halva-filled Bamba|
|544 per 100 grams kcal|
Bamba is one of the leading snack foods produced and sold in Israel. It has been marketed since 1964 with no decline in sales. Bamba makes up 25% of the Israeli snack market. Similar products from other domestic manufacturers include "Parpar" (Telma, since 2000 a subsidiary of Unilever) and "Shush" (Strauss-Elite).
Bamba is made from peanut butter-flavored puffed maize. Bamba contains no preservatives or food coloring, is enriched with several vitamins, and contains high amounts of fat and salt. The energy content is 160 calories per 28 grams. Bamba is certified Kosher by Badatz Jerusalem. Some describe it as "Cheez Doodles without the cheese."
Corn grits are "popped" under high pressure, turning them into long lines of white, puffed, unflavored Bamba. The lines are cut into nuggets and then moved to a drying chamber where they are air-baked for 20 seconds, which gives them a crispy texture. The peanut butter, imported from Argentina, is added at the end. A worker stands on a step above the rotating drums and pours a pitcher of liquid peanut butter into each of the containers. As the drums turn, the nuggets are coated. The hot Bamba is then moved along a conveyor belt to cool before packaging.
Osem also produces strawberry-flavored Bamba (officially called 'Sweet Bamba' Hebrew: במבה מתוקה, and unofficially 'Red Bamba' Hebrew: במבה אדומה) that is round in shape instead of oblong, and red instead of the usual color. It was originally colored with an artificial red dye, which has since been replaced with beetroot. In 2008 Osem introduced a new Bamba flavor, nougat-filled, produced at the Osem plant in Sderot. It is considered by the Nestlé group, owner of the controlling interest in Osem, to be one of the great successes of Nestlé in Israel. Osem introduced a halva-filled and a chocolate-filled Bamba in 2010, and a "Bamba-filled Bamba" (a peanut-butter paste filled Bamba) in 2013. Back in 1963 the Bahlsen company launched a very similar product called 'Erdnussflips' (peanut flips) in Germany where it remains a staple snack.
As Bamba is made with peanuts, people allergic to peanuts may be severely affected by it. However, a 2008 study concluded that, due to the extensive consumption of Bamba by infants in Israel, peanut allergy is rare. A control group of Jewish children in the UK had ten times higher rates of allergy; the difference is not accounted for by differences in atopy, social class, genetic background, or peanut allergenicity.
Some health experts say that Bamba should not be promoted as a "healthy" children's snack. They say this claim is deceptive, and the added vitamins in Bamba could result in over-consumption of nutrients.
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Despite the apparent popularity of Bisli, the bite-sized nosh comes in decidedly second to Israel's other national pastime, Bamba, in the hierarchy of snack foods – capturing just 15% of the snack market in comparison to Bamba's 25%.
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