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Spoiler Alert: The sugary and salty holiday grocery store snack mix has nothing to do with an imaginary drug on The CW show.

Abbey White
November 30, 2017

Thanks to one Vulture writer, lovers of sweet and salty snacks and The CW’s Archie comics adaptation Riverdale now know the not-so-insidious origins of Trader Joe’s Jingle Jangle.

While TV food tie-ins have existed for decades, they’ve largely been geared towards younger demographics watching networks like Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network. In recent years, however, elements of pop culture have increasingly (and more purposely) become visible parts of food culture and marketing for people of every age. Whether it’s wooing hyper-fans of Will & Grace and Outlander with boozy drinks or tickling their sense of pride with an unlockable pop-culture menu item, this inundation of exclusive food and entertainment pairings may be turning us into (hilariously) paranoid fans.

New York Magazine associate editor Madison Malone Kircher proved this the other day when she excitedly assumed Jingle Jangle, a snack mix full of chocolate-covered mix of pretzels, caramel corn, cookies, and peanut-butter cups sold at Trader Joe’s, was a reference to the latest drug circulating through the small, imaginary town of Riverdale.

Consumed by a need for answers (much like every overly eager teen in Archie’s gang), Kircher contacted the grocery chain to find out if they were pushing some cleverly cloaked marketing tie-in. The name is catchy, but the reference—to a made-up drug consumed out of a Pixie Stick-like paper straw that will “keep you up for days, in more ways than one” according to an on-screen pusher—is so tonally inappropriate for a food-based promotion. And yet, any good fan of Riverdale knows that in the dark and addictively twisted teen soap, drugs masked under the guise of sweet candy is the least weird thing that could happen. And so we follow Kircher down this weird Jingle Jangle hole.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on who you ask), Kircher uncovered that the snack mix was not in fact a tie-in, and that according to a representative from Trader Joe’s “was introduced years ago.”

“It’s just a fun name that plays off of sleigh bells referenced in Christmas carols, since it is a holiday item,” the representative told Vulture. “It’s also a fun way to describe the sound customers might hear when they give the tin can a shake.

While Trader Joe’s “seasonal treat that will sweep you off your feet” may not in fact be a TV-show backed drug reference slapped on to some snack tin, it’s hard not to appreciate Kircher’s Betty Cooper style sleuthing when it comes to this candy-coated conundrum.