We love Trader Joe's — but sometimes we wonder what they were thinking
11 Trader Joe's Products That Probably Should Never Have Existed
All things considered, Trader Joe’s has an impressive track record when it comes to the products it sells. But for every huge success like Speculoos Cookie Butter, there’s bound to be a clunker. Here are 11 Trader Joe’s products that most likely should have never made their way onto store shelves.
BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee and Garlic
Coffee and garlic is not a standard flavor combination, and there's a good reason for that: it doesn't work.
Chicken Breast in Poblano Sauce
This one sounds like it should be just fine, and poblano sauce tends to be flavorful because it’s based around a flavorful chile. But in this case, the chicken is fatty, the sauce is bland, and the overall texture is weird and mushy.
Zesty Nacho Kale Chips
These dried kale leaves would probably taste just fine with some salt on them, but for some reason TJ’s decided to give them a “nacho” flavor, divined from cashews, sunflower seeds, carrot powder, red bell pepper powder, onion, vinegar, lemon, garlic powder, and chipotle powder. It makes no sense, and the only discernible isn't nacho — it's “peculiar.”
Nonfat Pumpkin Greek Yogurt
Not every single food needs to be “pumpkin-fied” come autumn, and Greek yogurt is one that certainly doesn't. This just tastes sour, with maybe a hint of pumpkin spice thrown in.
Pad See Ew
This puts the “ew” in pad see ew. The noodles are mushy, the vegetables are stringy, the tofu is incongruous, and the sauce lacks flavor.
Soy Chorizo 2.0
Trader Joe’s original soy chorizo was an incredibly popular product, but it had to be discontinued last year because of issues with the supplier. So they reformulated it and re-introduced it to stores, but with one major difference: it was no longer vegan, containing “milk powder (for freshness).” After an uproar, the product was re-reformulated, and is now vegan again — but just not very good.
Trader Joe’s has never been a go-to sushi place, and it shouldn't try to be. The rice has a strange texture, and the California rolls are filled with some sort of mush that vaguely tastes like seafood, with no discernible difference between the regular and spicy rolls. Seriously, does that look like a California roll to you?
Trader Joe-San’s Green Beans
These may look just like green beans, but they certainly don’t taste like them. They’re fried and supposed to be crunchy, but the texture is wildly inconsistent, and they’re dusted with a flavor coating that doesn’t add anything to the equation.
Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
One of the all-time most despised Trader Joe’s products, the Turkey “Meatloaf Muffins” (quotes theirs) come in plastic muffin tins topped with mashed potato “icing.” The box tells you to microwave them, and the end result is off-putting to say the least: the mashed potatoes taste boxed, the spinach is limp and watery, and the meatloaf is flavorless and mushy.
This sounds good on paper, but the end result just doesn’t live up to expectations, mostly due to the “vegetable dumplings” that come in each package. Made with potato, carrot, cilantro, and a few other things, they have little to no flavor (besides “fried”) and bring nothing to the table.
Wild Salmon Jerky
Salmon jerky is not a good idea. If something looks like cat food, smells like cat food, and tastes like cat food, does that make it cat food?