Trader Joe’s foods are famous for being unique and quirky.
According to the chain’s website, the store’s private label products also are free of artificial preservatives and flavors, genetically modified ingredients, and MSG.
A number of Trader Joe’s crew members have taken to the web to share their favorite picks from the store.
Trader Joe’s foods are often unique and one-of-a-kind. They’re at least pretty quirky compared to most standard grocery store offerings.
That’s not too surprising, given the fact the brand employs product innovators to “travel the world looking for the most creative food trends, in order to create the most exciting — WOW! — products for Trader Joe’s,” according to a 2016 job description.
Plus, crew members themselves get to sample the store’s products, to ensure they’ll be a hit with shoppers. That’s a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of Trader Joe’s.
“We don’t buy anything before we taste it…” former Trader Joe’s president Doug Rauch said in 1999. “Focus groups aren’t necessary, because our buyers and employees are a good representation of the customer base.”
A number of crew members have taken to the internet to share some of their favorite food items from the store. In a 2016 Reddit AMA, one Trader Joe’s manager even noted that boosting your favorite store purchase in a job interview can help you land a role at the chain, writing, “Tell them you love Trader Joe’s and talk about your favorite product and why you like shopping there.”
A few of the products the employees praised have since been discontinued — Trader Joe’s is notorious for axing beloved items if suppliers attempt to increase prices. But maybe a few will inspire you to switch things up and try something new the next time you find yourself in TJ’s.
Here’s a look at some of the food items that Trader Joe’s crew members love:
Chocolate babka, a ‘sweet, swirly’ chocolate cake
“This is a hard one,” a Trader Joe’s crew member of wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA, when asked what their favorite store food was. “I’d say the chocolate babka.”
Trader Joe’s website describes the item as “a sweet, swirly, brioche-meets-cake loaf rooted in Eastern European Jewish traditions.”
Mandarin Orange Chicken, a frozen item that sells for $4.99
A Trader Joe’s crew member of 10 years wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA that it was “tough” to select their favorite food from the store, but added, “If I had to choose it would be The Mandarin Orange Chicken in our frozen section.”
Vegan marshmallows, which are cheaper than comparable ones elsewhere
“The marshmallows are the best,” a Trader Joe’s employee wrote in a 2017 Reddit AMA. “Most marshmallows that are marketed as ‘vegan’ are very expensive — at least $5 a bag.”
According to a 2016 post from the store’s website, the vegan items are sold for $2.99.
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