Growing up I ate a TON of pretzels. Being on the east coast in those days there was only one pretzel worthy of eating and that was Snyder’s of Hanover (No relation unfortunately!). They are from Pennsylvania not to very far from where I grew up in Maryland so we had a steady supply all the time. As a family of 5 we’d go through boxes of them every week. Probably a bit salty for little kids, but they made a great snack.
When I moved out west in 1995, they weren’t around and I was bummed because I loved to have a couple when I got home from work with a beer. I don’t remember but shortly after we got to Seattle, maybe a year or two Becky and I started to see them pop up on local grocery store shelves around town. I bought boxes of them in case they were tricking me, but it wasn’t a trick and you can find them all over the west coast now in a variety of forms and flavors, but I still love the traditional sourdough hard pretzel the best!
For a while there, Trader Joe’s was carrying Snyder’s in the snack section and I would pick up boxes of them for me and the kids to munch on after school. They love them just as much as me! Then a while back, maybe 2 years ago, the Snyder’s brand was gone and a few months later it was replaced with Trader Joe’s own version. Of course I had to try them out!
If you rate a fresh box of Snyder’s Hard Sourdough pretzels a perfect 10 (Because they really are a 10), I would have to rate the Trader Joe’s version an 8. At first I thought they might just be repackaged Snyder’s Pretzels, which you know Trader Joe’s does that some times with some national brand products, but I don’t think these are. Unless, they changed the recipe or manufacturing just a little so they wouldn’t be quite the same.
The biggest differences for me are texture, flavor and form. I find that the Trader Joe’s Hard Pretzels are just a little bit harder than Snyder’s. Also they don’t seem to have as much flavor. The Snyder’s pretzels are slightly dark on average, which probably contributes to the flavors. Also the pretzels themselves are better formed and look less sloppy like the manufacturing of them was more precise.
Overall, I really like the Trader Joe’s pretzels. My kids aren’t as picky as (well except when it comes to certain things that I’m less picky about like cheese and pasta) and they really enjoy them as a snack and in their school lunch boxes. I do pick up Snyder’s pretzels whenever I’m at a traditional grocery store, but these are a decent stand in for the original!
I’m going to rate these Trader Joe’s Sourdough Hard Pretzels 8 bells!