Trader Joe’s Snacks: Delightful or Downright Disgusting?

When we go to sleep at night, our dreams aren’t filled with dancing sugar plum fairies or fence-jumping sheep. Rather, what waltzes through our minds is snacks. Specifically, the snacks that fill the gleaming snack aisle at Trader Joe’s. For, is there anything more dreamlike than a long, windy road filled with every possible combination of salt, sugar, and spice? Unable to try every snack in the store, we settled on five that caught our eyes that seemed to have evaded the notice of most shoppers, and gave them a fair, true shot at wowing us – and more importantly, our taste buds.

Organic Garlic Naan Crackers
In just one crunch, Trader Joe’s has effectively figured out how to simultaneously please the garlic lovers and the cracker devotees. As far as snacks go, these Organic Garlic Naan Crackers introduce a lovely new option to an otherwise typical charcuterie arrangement of water crackers and bland cheese. Besides the fact that the creators ingeniously shaped the crackers into mini naan forms, the nice garlicky taste that accompanies each bite is interesting while not incredibly overpowering – especially important when it comes to an ingredient like garlic that can quickly become overwhelming (though it, of course, depends on the consumer). We give Organic Garlic Naan Crackers a 7/10.

Spicy Porkless Plant-based Snack Rinds
Just like their name, these “rinds” are, put simply, a lot. Upon first bite, they’re bland and grainy, an unpleasant but not remarkably bad combination, perhaps comparable to what eating styrofoam packing peanuts would taste like. But, within seconds of sitting idly on your tongue – because you’ll learn that biting into the rinds only intensifies their styrofoam-adjacent texture – the lack of flavor shifts to an overwhelming, smokey spice that will leave you questioning what exactly compelled you to pick up the jarringly designed bag in the first place. As two vegetarians, we can’t offer a comparison between these atrocities and other widely popular pork rind snacks, but we can say that while we appreciate the new foods that Trader Joe’s was trying to make vegetarian-friendly, our taste buds certainly didn’t. We give Spicy Porkless Plant-based Snack Rinds a generous 1/10.

Crispy Peanut Butter Filled Milk Chocolate Peanuts
As younger siblings, we know what it’s like to feel overlooked – a shared experience that compelled us to give these adorable, peanut-shaped chocolates a chance. They had a lot to live up to, especially considering that their much more popular sibling, the famed Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, is a shared favorite of ours. And, live up they did – somewhat. These bites weren’t bad at all, and the crisped rice in the middle added an unexpectedly nice crunch. It’s hard to go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate, and the cute shape added at least one style point. But, they were a bit underwhelming, peanut shape and all. A tad too sweet, dark chocolate and a pinch more sea salt would’ve pushed these from ‘good’ to ‘great.’ We give Crispy Peanut Butter Filled Milk Chocolate Peanuts a 5/10.

Glazed Vanilla Bean Scones
The air has a crisp chill. A waft of sunlight is drifting through the swaying curtain beside you in the kind of way it only can on a Sunday morning. You manage to pull yourself out of bed, reluctantly making your way to the kitchen to brew yourself a warm cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer), when you remember that inside your cupboard lies the perfect accompaniment for a hot beverage on a weekend morning: a bag of Trader Joe’s Glazed Vanilla Bean Scones. After a few minutes in the toaster oven, these scones become a well-balanced treat with a sweet flavor and a pillowy texture, the ideal pastry to start your day. Though they probably won’t change your life, they definitely aren’t a disappointment. You get exactly what you’re asking for. And, if you do find that you enjoy the Vanilla Bean Scones but would like a step up in flavor profile and texture, you might also dare to try their Mini Orange Cranberry Tea Scones with Almonds (which are also glazed, though it doesn’t specify that on the package) – another fan favorite. We give Glazed Vanilla Bean Scones an 8/10.

Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks
It’s rare that words fail us. But, these Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks, advertised as a “soft natural orange flavor center dipped in dark chocolate,” have that effect on us. Something about the chewy, tart center contrasts perfectly with the crunch of tempered, sweet chocolate, creating a combo that even those who believe chocolate doesn’t belong with fruit will agree is fantastic. Similarly to the infamous KitKat bar, these chocolates introduce a fun debate to the table: how best to eat them. Some consumers prefer to nibble the chocolate around the edges and then eat the orange center, while others prefer to eat them as chips, one whole chocolate after the other. There’s no wrong answer here, as either way, you’ll find yourself unable to not eat the whole bag. Put simply, these Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks make our day and effectively end the competition. We give Dark Chocolate Orange Sticks a 10/10.