These reviews are both completely unsponsored. I paid for both items. The opinions that I offer are mine, and yours may differ.
Let's start on a positive note, both brands are manufactured on dedicated, nut-free equipment. That fact had a great deal to do with my making the purchase. Nut-allergic families don't have much choice in purchased snack foods, so what there is becomes more attractive.
the Brothers All Natural Apple Slices, were wonderful. They are a freeze-dried fruit without any additives or preservatives. They claim to have fair working conditions for their workers, and strict sanitation. If that's actually true (and obviously I haven't been to the plant to check out the claim as it is a product of China) then that makes the product even better as far as I'm concerned. They have a range of fruit available with the same freeze-dried method including pears, strawberries, and Danny's favourite, the banana chips. While not cheap at close to a dollar for a 7.5 g package, they make a nice take-along treat when we'll be out for an afternoon. The packaging protects the fragile fruit, while being simple enough for an uncoordinated 6 year old to open.
Would I buy these again? Absolutely-and I have, many times.
Now the bad news, not all nut-free, dried apple snacks are created equal, and some taste not unlike a decomposing compost pile-no wait, scratch that-my compost pile would taste much better.
Bare Fruit 100% organic bake-dried Granny Smith Apples are without challenge, the most vile tasting, horribly textured, aftertaste-inducing, poor excuse for a snack I've run across (and as an anthropologist, I've eaten some pretty disgusting things).
The texture is different from the apple snacks reviewed above, and as such I can't compare them as these are baked, not freeze dried. I can however compare them to other baked apple chips, which I've never experienced tasting as awful as these. There's a strong taste of rotten fruit-like the apples had started fermenting before being salvaged and turned into chips. The package I had was full of cores (the odd core happens in dried fruit, but three? That's far too many). They never really were crisp, but they weren't chewy like a dried apple either. They started hard-trip to the dentist hard, and after five minutes trying to soften the piece in my mouth, I finally spit it out as it was impossible to chew. It had the texture of gristle. As I bought these for a child, this is concerning as they would pose a rather serious choking hazard, no matter how well supervised, or strong one's teeth. One could chew rawhide easier-and it would probably taste better. I can't think of many foods that require tooth brushing and mouth wash to get the aftertaste out of one's mouth, but after all that, I could still taste the decaying apples-it was like being a witness to the last dying gasp of an apple-and then eating the corpse.
I noticed the bag didn't have the usual blurb about returning the unused portion if not completely satisfied-perhaps that's telling. I will however be returning the unopened second bag to the grocer. What's more, these were outrageously expensive, and purchased in the Health Market section of the store. I don't think I've ever said outright that something is inedible, but in this case, it very literally is-at least if you expect to chew it well enough to swallow. Bad apple. Bad, bad apple.