Okay, let me cut to the chase here:
These SUCK. Do NOT, under circumstance, get these. Whole grain pretzel sticks look like they might be a good premise, a good healthy snack. Well, they might be healthy, but they are horrible, horrendous, and just plain disgusting.
How bad are they? If pretzels were Willie Mays, these would be wearing a Mets uniform. If they were Sly Stallone, these guys would be "starring" alongside Dolly Parton in "Rhinestone." If they were the Beatles, ... well, let's just say Yoko Ono would be involved. These pretzels take something so good, so pure and enjoyable, and turn it into crap.
I mean, I love pretzels. Any kind of pretzel - sticks, rods, nuggets, those little grid-like guys, soft, extra dark, splits, sourdough, honey wheat, soft pretzels, flavored bits and pieces, pretzel buns, anything remotely pretzel-like. I went through high school eating two soft pretzels for lunch everyday (well, except taco day, okay). Sandy made awesome homemade soft pretzels a few days ago that once I polished them off I was begging for more. They are definitely one of my favorite snack food groups, partly because they're healthy compared to chips and cheesy doodles, and also because they're just good.
And these guys ... blah. I tried to like them. I really did. I wanted to like them. But there's nothing redeeming about them. They're bland, tasteless sticks of particle board. They're sparingly salted, which is okay, but there's no flavor to them otherwise, except burned. I took a look inside a stick I halfway crunched, and there's an orange-brownish ring surrounding a teeny white core. So they are just overbaked - I guess maybe that's to help them boast about their claim to be "hard", but they're really not - they're really not any more crunchy than any other pretzel stick. But they are much drier, which makes all the saw dust they leave in your mouth much trickier to swallow. After only two or three I needed a drink to literally wash them down.
I guess it's part of the whole grain curse. Whole grain foods, when made right, taste wonderful and nutty and delicious and help fill you up healthfully. But when made wrong ... man, I don't care how good they might be for you if they don't taste good. The marginal health benefits don't outweigh the taste experience for me. And these pretzels are about the best example I can think of for this.
I had Sandy try one. She munched down half a stick, made a face, went to the fridge and got out a jar of peanut butter to dip the other half in. That sounds like an epoxy recipe to me. "They're better with something," she said. I can buy that, but then that pretty much defeats the whole purpose of having a healthy snack. It's like making broccoli to eat healthy but dumping molten Velveeta on it - having to add something unhealthy to make an otherwise good-for-you food edible seems counterproductive and deceptive.
Anyways, I cannot find anything good about them. I considered returning them to the store, but maybe I'll save them for our dog when we run out of his treats. He wouldn't know the difference. Sandy is a little more forgiving than me, and she said she'd give them a two, "maybe a three," so that sounds like a two-and-a-half to me. Well, that's all they're gonna get. Absolute zero from me.
Bottom line: 2.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons