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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Trader Joe's Step Up to the Snack Bar Mix

Disclaimer: Due to health concerns, Sonia and I have been eating markedly less salt lately, and it's possible—just possible—that our unusually high level of appreciation for this product may be, in part, due to the fact that it's one of the first super salty snacks we've really indulged in since Thanksgiving. In our opinions, if you're gonna reach for a salty snack at TJ's this holiday season, this isn't a bad mix to consider.

First up: honey mustard pretzels. Sonia and I have always been fans of honey mustard pretzels. These didn't disappoint. Unlike some of the other popular brands like Snyder's, which are very heavy in the mustard department, I felt like these pretzels were a little heavier on the "honey" part of the equation. It made them sweet and tasty in and of themselves, and they also blended seamlessly with...

The honey roasted peanuts. Over the course of a five hour flight as a kid, I'd eat like 12 bags of those things on an airplane. They weren't as pricey back then, and the airlines seemed to be much more generous with them. They've grown stingy over the years. I'm always like, "I just paid $500 for this flight. The least you can do is give up an extra bag of honey roasted peanuts, right? Sheesh." But anyway, back then, I was a cute kid with a full head of light blond hair. I'd flirt with the stewardesses and ask sweetly for more bags. How could they say no? I'm apparently not as cute as an old, bald man with a devil goatee...but I digress. The point is I loved honey roasted peanuts so much back then, but my love for them has dwindled somewhat in recent decades. Not sure why, but this mix rekindled my love of honey roasted peanuts. Maybe they were just that good. Maybe it was the combo of the nuts with the other elements of the mix. Or maybe it was just me taking a break from my lower sodium diet. But these were some tasty peanuts, and Sonia totally agrees.

Corn chips with flax seeds. Not my favorite, but certainly not bad. I've had snack mixes that were loaded with weird crunchy sticks with sesame seeds. I have no problem with sesame seeds, but sometimes they're just out of place and they ruin the flavor of the foods they're mixed in with. For that reason, I'm glad TJ's went with flax seeds here. Their taste is less intrusive, if that makes sense. They're hearty and earthy and they blend in just fine without overshadowing the other flavors.

Cheddar rockets. Apparently, Trader Joe's sells these as a stand-alone product. We've never reviewed them on this blog, but we have taken a look at their cheddary Christmas cousins. Sonia thinks there are too many rockets in the mix. I didn't mind them. They have a nice genuine cheddar flavor. I didn't enjoy them quite as much as the pretzels or peanuts, but I definitely appreciated them more than the corn and flax dealies.

Chili lemon corn sticks. There's just enough chili to give them a subtle kick, but not quite enough to scare off spice-o-phobes. There's a vague citrus vibe here, no doubt from the lemon, but it's also very similar to anything chili-lime flavored or coated in chili lime seasoning. The citrus-chili-corn combo is a winner almost every time. Again, they mix well with the sweeter elements and provide a bit of a spicy zing.

The whole thing is modeled after a bar or pub mix, and indeed, it does pair well with lager or ale. Whether you indiscriminately shovel handfuls into your mouth or you pick out your favorite elements and create particular flavor combos, it's all good here. $5 for a 12oz can. Might be a repeat purchase for us. Is this even a holiday product? I don't think we've seen it at TJ's before this month. Hopefully it'll be available year round.

Four stars from Sonia. Four and a half from me.

Bottom line: 8.5 out of 10.


  1. Those rockets are every parents pantry staple; the TJs version of goldfish (but larger). Their scale seems a bit off in this mix.

    1. maybe they should have called them "mini" cheddar rockets...?

  2. The biggest culprit of sodium in the diet is processed food- anything in a package- stuff like salad dressing, ice cream, yogurt, cereal, and such much more than table salt. It’s much more effective to cut processed foods with high sodium than throw out the salt shaker at the table, from a salt shaker no one uses much.
    I LOVE honey roasted peanuts! This is such a great reminder i need to pick some up again :)) i suspect this snack mix is seasonal, but easy enough to assemble from stuff TJs already sells

    1. Good advice about the processed food...but easier said than done!

  3. What about the honey-roasted sesame sticks?

  4. I'm so sad this is gone at my store!


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