Of all the Archer Farms grocery products available at Target (and they number in the hundreds), the most popular are the straight-up snacks. In fact, the top six most popular items are basically some variation of trail mix. Is it simply the result of impulse buys as customers work up an appetite trying on clothes or shopping for dinnerware by Chip and Joanna Gaines? Or are these snacks really so good they leave all the other products in the dust?
Of course I had to find out.
I tried all of the most popular Archer Farms snacks, from the number-one bestselling Monster Trail Mix to the Pineapple Peach Salsa, and ranked them in order of "Must Buy" to "Skip."
Here are my picks for the most crave-worthy snacks.
Parmesan Garlic Potato Chips, $3 for eight ounces
These were love from the very first bite. My kids loved them, their friends loved them, my food-loving neighbors who aided me in my quest to determine the most essential Target groceries loved them. They have a robust "kettle-cooked" texture, and a deeply savory-salty-tangy flavor that's deliciously balanced and irresistible (think: salt and vinegar chips, with the vinegar ratcheted way down, and a big dose of umami-rich Parmesan). These chips will now have a permanent place on my Target shopping list. They're that good.
Also Worth Buying
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Trail Mix, $4 for eight ounces: The light and crisp, chocolate-covered Chex-like cereal pieces really make this mix. But with tiny peanut butter cups, chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips (and just a smattering of actual peanuts), I'd put this squarely in the occasional treat category, rather than daily snack.
- Monster Trail Mix, $8 for 36 ounces: The most popular Archer Farms product at Target is a classic mix of chocolate chips, peanuts, and raisins, plus M&Ms and peanut butter chips. Every handful is rewarded with plenty of the sweet stuff.
- Cashew, Cranberry & Almond Trail Mix, $11 for 30 ounces: Exactly what it sounds like, this is for those who want trail mix that's actually healthy. The cranberries are plump and moist, and the whole nuts are crunchy and high-quality.
- Lightly Salted Roasted Cashews, $6 for 9.5 ounces: Yes, you can technically get salted roasted cashews nearly anywhere, but if you're a cashew hound, you won't be disappointed by these big, prime-quality nuts.
- Crinkle-Cut Sweet Potato Chips, $3 for eight ounces: I love the earthy sweetness of sweet potato chips, and these are a good standard option. They're a little thicker than some other brands I've tried, but they're not heavy and hard.
- Cinnamon Glazed Pecans, $6 for 10 ounces: These candied nuts have a generous spike of cinnamon and a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Tex Mex Trail Mix, $8 for 26 ounces: This looks like an airline snack, but it tastes far better, thanks to the rich chili powder spiciness that infuses everything from the peanuts to the "salsa" corn sticks and chili rice crackers. There are even almonds and pepitas to up the protein factor.
- Spicy Maple Bourbon Pickle Spears, $3 for 25 ounces: We didn't detect any bourbon, but these sweet, bread-and-butter-style pickles had a great kick of warming spice. Almost everyone in the group admitted to disliking bread-and-butter pickles, but they liked these, so that's saying something.
- Dark Chocolate Himalayan Salted Almonds, $6 for 13 ounces: The heavy, waxy coating of bland bittersweet chocolate overwhelmed the nuts. The salt barely even came through.
- Milk Chocolate Cashews, $6 for 12 ounces: These are okay if you need a chocolate-covered nut fix, but, again, the chocolate is far from richly flavored and feels waxy.
- Caramel Cashew Trail Mix, $5.50 for 14 ounces: Take the Monster Trail mix, add cashews, and swap out the chips for chewy Milk-Dud-like candies. Sounds promising, but those super-chewy chocolate-covered caramels had us fearing for our fillings.
- Roasted Salsa Verde, $2.50 for 16 ounces: With little roasted flavor to speak of, this salsa verde was crying out for some savory spice. On chips it was as bland as can be, although several of us thought it could be tasty as a braising liquid for pork shoulder or chicken thighs.
- Spinach Artichoke Feta Dip: This looked and tasted like a standard supermarket spinach dip. The artichoke and feta were barely discernible. It wasn't bad, but it was definitely forgettable.
- Pineapple Peach Salsa, $2.50 for 16 ounces: The texture was so smooth and saucy it bordered on tomato soup, and the sweetness from the pineapple and peach "natural flavor" was begging for some savory balance.
What snacks do you love and not love from Target's Archer Farms brand?