Trader Joe’s has long set the pace for offbeat, innovative snack flavor combinations and product concepts. The store has legendary loyalty ratings, and the hunt for something new is all part of the fun. And while I’m by trade a retail grocery omnivore—the only real way to get a true feel for in-store bakery activity, private label and foodservice offerings—I’m a regular at Joe’s.
Three products that caught my eye at Trader Joe’s of late:
The holiday season brims with entertaining occasions, and anything that can make short work of hosting holds appeal. In the Frozen Snacks/Appetizers category, Trader Joe’s Camembert Cheese and Cranberry Sauce Fillo Bites fill the bill for easy entertaining snacks—and seasonality, to boot. This is a bite-sized take on Brie en croûte with added interest (and less blowout during end-user baking) from use of Camembert (which is actually a regular choice for the en croûte route in France and doesn’t have cream added during the cheesemaking process, unlike Brie).
Crisps bring diversification to the Crackers category with clearly noticeable fruits, vegetables, seeds and other ingredients in the mix. These ingredient additions also bring better-for-you clout to a segment that continues to see diversification in that area. Trader Joe’s has done much to grow the crisps segment in the U.S., with flavors like Rosemary Raisin and Fig & Olive. New this year is Pistachio & Pomegranate Crisps, an interesting combination of nutty, sweet and tart.
Saving perhaps the best for last in dessert-esque fashion, I was quite intrigued by Trader Joe’s Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers, a salty-sweet addition to the Cookies category. The name itself is quite a mouthful, and these treats are a novel delight of dynamic contrast. I have a friend who loves to use saltines instead of graham crackers for s’mores—and perhaps you’ve heard of Christmas crack, a combination of saltines, toffee and various toppings like chocolate chips and nuts. The Salty Honey Toffee Milk Chocolate Covered Crackers from Trader Joe’s are moving right along those lines, and they’re magnificent—a saltine enrobed in milk chocolate and then coated with toffee bits and almond pieces and then a final dusting of coffee powder.
Merry Christmas, indeed.