The Best Nine Grabs from Trader Joe’s


Ollie Hart

A collage of Trader Joe’s snacks that include the famous Trader Joe’s talkies, Scandinavian Swimmers, and power-berries (Photography by: Ollie Hart)

Trader Joe’s, best known as “ TJ’s” amongst regular customers, is a popular grocery store for teenagers and adults. A survey was sent out to middle school and high students in the Huntington Beach High School (HBHS) area, asking people to give a list of their favorite TJ products. The Slick Magazine staff then did a tasting based on the most requested snacks and ranked them from least to most favorite. Starting at the least favorite snack and going to the top-ranked snack.

Nine: “Movie Theater Popcorn” ($1.99)

Ranked ninth on this list, most people talked about how they wished the popcorn was a little more salty or buttery. The TJ’s website asks, “What if you’re craving a cinematic snacking experience without the cinema?  What if a trip to the theater isn’t in the cards or the budget? Well, if that’s the case, dim the lights and cue the music—because Trader Joe’s Movie Theater Popcorn is ready for its close-up.” 

The store’s main goal was to get the product to be as similar to movie theater popcorn as possible, but then again, maybe we are all used to the buttery stuff we get at the movies. One Slick staff member, senior Hayley Durrant, said, “The popcorn reminds me of movie popcorn, but more crunchy.

However, in most of the reviews, the verdict was that the Movie Theater Popcorn tastes dry and needs more flavor to improve the quality of this beloved snack.

Eight: “Gluten Free Joe-Joe’s Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies” ($4.49)

In eighth place are the gluten-free Joe-Joe’s Chocolate Vanilla Creme Cookies, which some commented were dry and resulted in a weird aftertaste. Conversely, other staff members said that they were flavorful and had a pleasurable, chocolate flavor.

The cookies are made of cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate. The cream filling though is what the reviews said was the best part of Joe-Joe’s. Slick staff member Izzy Vosper said, “[it] tastes funky because they’re gluten-free. Filling is nice though.”

The cookie being gluten-free did throw some off making them think that the cookie was not good, but they weren’t the worst thing on the list as they made it to eighth place.  

Seven: “Organic Animal Crackers” ($5.99)

TJ’s animal crackers were given seventh place. Reported to have an almost-lemony taste to them, a majority found the animal crackers to be satisfying, upon the first impression that is. As the reviewers continued eating the crackers, many claimed that they became flavorless and boring. Many staff members described the crackers as dry, making a some tasters thirsty afterward. Nevertheless, positive things were said about the product.

In one review, Vosper said, “A classic flavor, but a little plain. Overall, kind of dry, and the first taste was kind of strange.

Even though they received some negative feedback, many people still liked them. 

 Six: “Yogurt Covered Pretzels” ($4.99)

Shifting gears, Trader Joe’s Yogurt Covered Pretzels seemed to be a treat for many people to enjoy. Much of the staff thought the sweetness that the yogurt provided and the salty pretzel went exceptionally well together.

A review from an HBHS Slick staff member Lila Concepcion said“[the] quality [yogurt], not too sweet, and I can still taste the salty pretzel underneath. 10/10 for one of my favorite snacks.”

The yogurt-covered pretzels were a hit in most people’s books and were a snack that most found very enticing.

Five: “World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs” ($2.49)

Many find Trader Joe’s Corn Puffs to be a delicious knockoff of Hershey’s Pirate’s Booty, which might explain this snack’s high ranking at fifth place. This snack is made of just cornmeal and water, and after baking the puffs are coated in white cheddar and have a very recognizable taste to them. The snack was so similar to Pirate’s Booty, some of the poll takers said that if they had been given both the corn puffs and Pirate’s Booty, they most likely would not be able to tell the difference. As a matter of fact, some thought that the Corn Puffs were better than the Pirate’s booty.

 Four: “Pinks & Whites Shortbread Cookies”  ($2.99)

The Pinks & Whites cookies turned out to be exceedingly appetizing to most, and hence, they took fourth place. Similar to the Corn Puffs, these delectable shortbreads reminded many of yet another recognizable snack: The Original Circus Animal Cookies. Reviewers found them very ascetically pleasing. as they were in a shape of a flower, and their bite-sized quality was delectable. Despite this, some poll takers did describe Pinks & Whites as dry and flavorless. But in the end, the Pink & White cookies were a hit and many liked them.

 Three: “Scandinavian Swimmers” ($3.49)

These gummies reminded some of another brand, Swedish Fish. These Swedish Fish-tasting gummies had four flavors to choose from. Most people appreciated the lobster-shaped red gummy. This flavor was the favorite for most, and the one that reminded them the most of Swedish Fish. Another one of these fun flavors was berry, which also received a wide amount of positive feedback. The last two flavors—the orange rockfish and mango-peach seahorses were not as popular as the other but were still a hit. Another version of these gummies comes with a sour coating also much like how the Haribo gummies do. 

Two: “Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries” ($3.99)

A staff favorite, Powerberries came in second place on this list. Made from acai, pomegranates, cranberries, and blueberries, this chocolate-covered snack was a delightful mix of sweet and sour berry mixture and bitter dark chocolate. Vosper said, “Super rich but the dark chocolate and the tangy berry are an amazing combo.” 

Many staff members did not know of this yummy treat and thought they would add it to their TJ shopping list from now on. 

One: “Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips” ($2.99) 

Better known as Trader Joe’s Takis among some teens, the Chili & Lime Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips placed first as the best Trader Joe’s snack amongst the review and it was the most requested on the poll. Over the years, the popularity of this snack has shot through the roof, especially among teens. Many of the reviews said the main attribute of the chip’s popularity was its flavor and thinness.

Most of the snacks in this review were Trader Joe’s versions of popular snacks that could be found at other popular grocery stores. This poll is just a small reflection on a few of Trader Joe’s most recognizable snacks, but many people would say that these snacks are their go-to food when it comes to shopping at this store.