Brand collabs were everywhere you looked in 2023. Eggo waffle-flavored Coffee-mate? Sure. Utz potato chips flavored to taste like Mike’s Hot Honey? They did that shit. Hidden Valley Ranch flavored Van Leeuwen ice cream? Yup, that was a thing for some reason. But a couple of collaborations really stood out as matches made in heaven. Here are the best brand collabs we tried in our taste tests in 2023.
- Hot Ones Spicy Garlic Chicken & Bacon Hot Pockets
Earlier this year, Hot Pocket released a line of four new flavors made with Hot Ones hot sauces: Fiery Hot Pepperoni, Hot Habanero Sausage & Pepperoni, Smoky Green Chile Cheesesteak, and Spicy Garlic Chicken & Bacon. Why did they make two pepperoni Hot Pockets? Couldn’t tell ya. What we can tell you is that the Spicy Garlic Chicken & Bacon Hot Pocket (made with Hot Ones Classic hot sauce) is a dream of a brand collab. As my colleague Jordan Myrick put it, “It’s like if a spicy chicken enchilada and a Costco chicken bake had a baby.” It’s gooey, savory, and spicy but not scorching so you can actually enjoy the tender crust and big pieces of chicken. If you’re a Hot Pocket fan, this is the brand collab for you.
Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart
- Old Bay Goldfish
Warning: If you don’t want to become addicted to a snack cracker, don’t eat Old Bay Goldfish. These things are outrageously good—savory, zesty, and small enough to eat by the handful. They don’t have as much heat as you might be used to in Old Bay, but that only means you can eat more of them. I wasn’t even a big Old Bay fan, but these crackers made a convert of me. Toss some of these in a bowl of tomato soup or clam chowder? Life changing stuff. Ideally, the best brand collabs create something even better than their source material, and that’s the case here.
Credit: Liv Averett / Target