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Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites > Test Report by Gail Staisil

Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, MichiganAuthor

Page Contents:

Initial Report:
November 17, 2015

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 63
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

 Setton International Foods, Inc
Product - Chewy Bites
- Dark Chocolate Pistachios
Manufacturer  Weight (net)  1.42 oz (40 g)
5 oz (142 g)
Tested Weight (gross)  1.6 oz (45 g)
5.2 oz (147 g)
MSRP $1.99 US - Chewy Bites (2-pack)
$5.99 US - Dark Chocolate Pistachios

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

I received two-5 oz (142 g) resealable bags of Dark Chocolate Pistachios and seven packages of Pistachio Chewy Bites. The latter are two-serving chews or bites that are individually wrapped inside the outer wrapper. Setton Farms International, Inc is the company behind the product. According to their website California pistachios are a heart healthy power food. They are low in calories and contain no cholesterol.

Pistachio Chewy Bites

The Chewy Bites are basically a pistachio (over 50 percent) and cranberry product that also contains agave nectar, brown rice syrup, sunflower oil, natural cranberry flavor and sea salt. The cranberries are sweetened with cane sugar and sunflower oil. The product is gluten free and dairy free. The serving size is two bites at 210 calories for both.

I like the packaging of the bites. Oftentimes I do not like opening a typical snack "bar" as I end up eating the whole thing even though my stomach says to stop earlier. The times I haven't consumed the bar in its entirety, it becomes a mess of a problem to store in the field. The individual bites could be liberated from the outside packaging before a trip and it would likely make it easier to eat a more reasonable serving.

The Chewy Bites are really only a bit chewy and easy to eat. When I took them out of the package they felt moist but not really sticky. I will be interested in how easy they are to eat in the cold winter weather during the testing period. I may have to store them in my jacket pocket in order to eat them. Typically I don't take any bars that are chewy due to the hardness when they freeze or if I do, I cut them in smaller pieces beforehand. Maybe the small bites will negate having to do the latter.

My first taste test reveals that they are not overly sweet which I prefer in trails foods.

Dark Chocolate Pistachios

Anytime chocolate is combined with nuts, what's not to like? This is a delicious combination of whole pistachios and dark chocolate. The serving size is 1.5 oz  (42 g) so there are 3 servings in each bag. Each serving is 230 calories and contains 25 percent of daily fat requirements (16 g). The chocolate that covers the pistachios is made with sugar, unsweetened chocolate, cocoa butter, soy lecithin and natural flavors. Chocolate is known for its antioxidant status so combined with the heart healthy pistachios, it looks to be a good snack choice.

Oh my gosh, upon tasting the product I know it is going to be hard to resist eating more than a serving. I may have to repackage into smaller serving sizes to make me stop!

I am looking forward to testing these in the field. I will be outside most days for all kinds of activities including trail running, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and winter camping.

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Long Term Report:
March 12, 2016 

USA Locations and Conditions

During the testing period I have spent thirteen days in backcountry rustic cabins and six days on an annual cross country skiing trip. I have also winter camped for two days.  I have enjoyed the outdoors most other days during the test period on snowshoes, skis or ice cleats. Locations of all trips were in the State of Michigan and ranged from lakeshore to boreal forest.  Elevation ranged from above 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2,000 ft (610 m).

Location of Trip: Hiawatha National Forest
Length of Trip: 5 days, 4 nights (December 30 - January 3) 
Sled Weight: Estimated 45 lb (20.4 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, snow, some sun
Precipitation: About 7 - 8 in (18 - 20 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 17 F to 34 F (- 8 C to 1 C) 
Location of Trip: Keweenaw Peninsula - State of MichiganLake Superior -State of Michigan
Length of Trip: 6 days, 5 nights  (January 24 - January 29) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Snow, snow and snow  
Precipitation: At least 14-15 in (36-38 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 11 F to 29 F (-12 C to -2 C)
Location of Trip: Hiawatha National Forest 
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights (January 30 - Feb 3) 
Sled Weight: Approx 40 lb (18 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, windy and warm (for winter)   
Precipitation: Light dusting of new snow
Temperature Range: 19 F to 42 F (- 7 C to 6 C)  

Location of Trip: Hiawatha National Forest 
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights (February 21 - 25) 
Sled Weight: Approx 40 lb (18 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, a wee bit of snow
Precipitation: Trace
Temperature Range: 2 F to 37 F/-17 C to 3 C (mostly about 25 F/-4 C)

Location of Trip: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Length of Trip: 2 days, 1 night (March 4 - March 5) 
Sled Weight: Approx 35 lb (16 kg)
Distance: 11 mi (17.7 mi)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy, sunny, light wind and snow   
Precipitation: About 1.5 in (3.81 cm) of new snow
Temperature Range: 12 F to 35 F (-11 C to 2 C)

Day Trips: Noquemanon Trail Network, Blueberry Ridge Trail, Valley Spur Trail, Eben Caves, McKeever Trails, Swedetown Trails, Michigan Tech Trails ( Michigan Counties of Marquette, Alger, Houghton and Keweenaw)
Distances: 4 to 12 mi (6 to 19 km)
Temperature Range: -8 F to 40 F (-22 C to 4 C) 

Trip Talk

During the test period I have been active in the outdoors most days. Most activities are aerobic in nature and last multi-hours. A source of snack food is normally needed (at least carried). I have found the pistachio chews to be handy for a small snack. They provide enough energy to keep me going. I like the individual wrapping on the chews as it is just enough to eat without having to go to a second piece. Although the chews often appear sticky they really aren't, in that my hands don't feel messy when I eat them. There is a healthy dose of pistachios in each chew and I love the tartness of the cranberries. I haven't found the chews hard to eat in the winter months. The temps of course are very cold here (normally below freezing) and the chews are harder than they would be at indoor temps or in a moderate climate. I have still been able to eat them without difficulty. They soften up a bit when I put them in my mouth. I usually carry them in a fanny pack pouch or other waistbelt type pocket so they are almost the temperature of the outside air.

The Dark Chocolate Pistachios were truly a delight for this chocolate lover. As a child raised a very long time ago, it is easy for me to have a preference for milk chocolate over dark chocolate. It simply wasn't an option back then at least in my world. I have tried to like dark chocolate only because it is supposed to be more healthy. That said the dark chocolate on the pistachios I quickly grew fond of. It wasn't bitter like some dark chocolate. It was however hard to control portion size with the packaging of the chocolate covered pistachios so I had to restrict myself to make sure the two packages (with three-servings each) lasted over several trips.

It is important to note that it was hard to make all the pistachio treats last throughout the four month period. I literally had to hide them in between trips so that it wouldn't be convenient to pull them out and eat. I must say I was surprised at myself for having the discipline. I know if I wasn't doing a test that probably would not have been the case!

I certainly have enjoyed this test and will seek out sources to obtain the products in the future. Right now there are no stores that carry these products in my vicinity so they probably would have to be ordered.

  • Convenient packaging for the chews
  • Tasty
  • Low salt
  • Gluten and dairy free


  • None except for my own desire to eat more!  

Tester Remarks 

 Thanks to Setton International Foods, Inc and BackpackGearTest for this opportunity to test the pistachio products. This concludes my Long Term Report.

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Read more gear reviews by Gail Staisil

Reviews > Food > Energy Bars and Drinks > Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites > Test Report by Gail Staisil

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