6 Not-to-Be-Missed Trader Joe’s Groceries That Just Hit Stores, According to a Former Employee

published Mar 6, 2024
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A Spring display in Trader Joe's. The sign says "Feeling adventurous? Check out our new items. We search high and low to bring you exciting new products."
Credit: Jaclyn Vernace / Shutterstock

I know this is probably (definitely!) an unpopular opinion, but I’m often pretty relieved when the holidays are over — particularly when shopping at Trader Joe’s. It’s not just because I don’t have to dodge all the pumpkin products or get sadly attached to a long-gone seasonal item — it also means some of the more surprising items hit the shelves. The development team must get a bit of Spring Fever themselves, mashing together a host of flavors and textures that just make you go, “Hibernation? Never met her.”

With March (my birthday month!) finally here, the fever is hitting me hard as well. This month I got a cart full of items ready for a picnic on the first consistently not-damp day, dinner party bites, and a few midnight snacks — all at Trader Joe’s.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

1. Aglio Olio Seasoning Blend, $2.49 for 1.7 ounces

I’m always trying to turn my kitchen into a Carrabba’s. By that I mean, having plentiful bread around to dip into spicy, herb-loaded plates of olive oil. Usually, I have to wait months for Trader Joe’s Herbes de Provence seasoning blend to return, but luckily there’s a new jar in town to hold me over until the fall staple reenters the chat: the Aglio Olio Seasoning Blend.

Modeled after the classic Neapolitan pasta dish (pasta aglio e olio, aka pasta with garlic and olive oil), this blend captures all of the garlicky-spicy goodness in a shakeable version (along with sea salt, red pepper flake, and parsley). Adding this to a generous glug of olive oil for dipping and tossing with spaghetti is a no-brainer guide to a good time, but don’t stop there: Whip it into a compound butter, stir it into your next homemade vinaigrette (it’d be so good on a Caprese!), or use it as a topping for homemade Parmesan crisps.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

2. Hold the Cone Tips, $3.99 for 3.53 ounces

I love Trader Joe’s naming conventions (see: Almost Everything Bagels), and this one is the silliest yet. If you’re familiar with the beloved Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones, well, you’ll know they’re a two-bite, ice-cream filled masterpiece with a crackly waffle cone that has a smooth, chocolate-y end. Truthfully, the chocolate finale is my favorite part — and it looks like I’m not alone.

You don’t have to risk half a mini-cone melting down your hand and can just jump to the best part with these Hold the Cone Tips. They’re exactly as advertised — a Hold the Cone! cut in half with the ice cream discarded. The dark chocolate filled waffle cone is the ideal size for eating by the handful or doing the next obvious thing: crumbling over ice cream.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

3. Mini Mochi Rice Nuggets, $1.99 for 3.5 ounces

In my cart this month, the Mini Mochi Rice Nuggets were the sleeper hit. So tiny! So simple on their surface, but where did the bag go? I’m not so sure, really. They’re endlessly crunchy and salty-savory. I ripped into this bag on my way to a yoga class and then just never really stopped eating them (I mean, I did stop for the class, but it was brief).

With a flavor reminiscent of a Bugle Chip and just as fun to eat, these crunchy rice nuggets are also another exciting option for when you want something crouton-adjacent to top your salad or soup.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

4. Pizza Party Potato Chips, $2.69 for 6 ounces

Over the years, I’ve bonded with quite a few of the stores’ managers (I also used to work at Trader Joe’s), who often give me some key intel on new products to watch out for. One of those items? These Pizza Party Potato Chips, which I’ve been waiting on with bated breath since just a bit after Christmas.

I was almost afraid they wouldn’t live up to the hype, but they more than held their end of the bargain, with each chip individually flavored to mimic a different component of a classic pizza. In this case, these chips are a mix of the following flavors: (vegetarian) pepperoni, cheese and garlic, and pizza sauce. The pepperoni have a fennel-y spiciness, the cheese and garlic could be a spin-off flavor on their own, and the pizza sauce — my favorite — has its tangy sweetness. Cram all these different chips in your mouth in one go and you will definitely feel like you’ve shrunken down and eaten a full pizza, lending to a very “The Snozzberries taste like Snozzberries!” experience. 

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

5. Piquant Popcorn, $2.99 for 5 ounces

The Piquant Popcorn is just an all-around good time. If you’ve got someone in your life who is like, “Nutritional yeast is the least appetizing combo of words possible, I’m gonna pass,” I get it, but this popcorn (which is coated in a mix of cheese-like “Nooch,” sea salt, onion powder, and garlic powder) is so good it will make sure they never turn up their noses at nutritional yeast again.

I never thought anything could beat my friend Jane’s nutritional yeast popcorn creation (she tosses freshly popped corn with a drizzle of soy sauce, which helps the nutritional yeast stick to it — it’s unreal). But this ultra-convenient pre-made version is really going after the popcorn throne here. The savory onion and garlic amplify what I call the “movie theater sprinkle cheese” essence of the nutritional yeast, and I highly recommend you sneak it into a cinema very soon.

Credit: Mackenzie Filson

6. Calamansi & Mango Sorbet, $3.79 for 16 fluid ounces

This sorbet actually had me completely change my schedule for the day. I wasn’t planning to get any frozen or cold items on that particular Trader Joe’s run, but I made an impromptu stop home because I immediately needed this pint of Calamansi & Mango Sorbet in my freezer.

Thankfully, the change in plans was completely warranted, as this pint of calamansi and mango sorbet is further proof that days are getting longer and sunnier. This sweet-tart sorbet is shockingly close to eating pure sunshine. With the acid of calamansi (which is a Filipino fruit that’s somewhat like a lime) and sweet-floral mango, this sorbet is the ultimate seasonal palate cleanser. It’s great on its own, or topped with shredded coconut. I also have a hunch this sorbet will go down very well in a rum-spiked frozen daiquiri or scooped into a coupe of bubbly cava or prosecco.

Which new Trader Joe’s items are you adding to your cart? Tell us in the comments below.