Trader Joe’s Just Announced Their Most Popular Products of 2021
Award season is officially upon us! That’s right: The Trader Joe’s Annual Customer Choice Awards are the new benchmark to the start of the season. (Sorry, Golden Globes.) In the latest episode of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, hosts Tara Miller and Matt Sloan reveal the latest winners. If you’re a long-time fan, you’ll probably recognize some repeat champs on this list, as this is the 13th year and some favorites just never seem to go out of style.
This year’s Best Overall winner beat out several well-known runners up, including our pick for the best fall find, as well as dark chocolate peanut butter cups, and a wildly popular cheddar. Any guesses? No? Here’s another hint: It’s found in the freezer section year-round, and has taken home at least one award every year (more on that below).
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the Favorite Overall Trader Joe’s Product is none other than Mandarin Orange Chicken! The popular freezer staple is so beloved, it actually won twice — the only item to do so. The other winners on the list are a mix of regulars and newcomers, and all things we’re eyeing for our next shopping trip. Let’s take a look!
Favorite Beverage: Non-Dairy Oat Beverage
“This was a surprise when it won this category last year,” says Tara. “Now it’s a repeat winner.” Oat beverages and dairy alternatives, as Matt notes, are “very much a thing these days.” He also points out that TJ’s customers voted for this Non-Dairy Oat Beverage as the Overall All-Time Favorite Beverage, not just the best non-dairy beverage. “That, to me, is astounding,” says Matt.
Favorite Cheese: Unexpected Cheddar
Of course, there are no bad choices in this category. English Cheddar With Caramelized Onions and Baked Lemon Ricotta, which place second and third, respectively, could have easily taken the top spot. The ultimate winner, though, is the aged white cheddar with an “unexpected” hint of Parmesan; it’s been a fan favorite for years. Its crumbly texture and mild, salty, nutty bite are great served on cheese boards or rolled into a giant, nut-covered ball.
Favorite Entrée: Mandarin Orange Chicken
Talk about a streak! According to Tara, this product has been on the list as either the Favorite Frozen Product, the Favorite Entrée, or the favorite of whatever category in which it fits every year since TJ’s started the Customer Choice Awards. (Staffers love it too!) So it won for Favorite Overall and Favorite Entrée. Matt even thinks Mandarin Orange Chicken should get a Lifetime Achievement Award — something Tara did not disagree with, and suggested could be coming later this year.
Favorite Sweet or Dessert: Hold The Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones
Another long-standing favorite, what’s most interesting about these bite-sized winners is that there was no one winner among the different flavors. “Apparently no one could choose because they’re all so darn great,” says Matt. But. But! If you’re looking for recommendations, we’d suggest vanilla or chocolate chip.
Favorite Produce: Teeny Tiny Avocados
There are a variety of options to choose from in this category, including bananas, Persian cucumbers, and Les Petites Carrots of Many Colors. The winner seems to have a small advantage. “They’re not just cute,” says Tara, “they’re delicious and they’re really convenient.” She didn’t vote, but she did say she eats a lot of avocados!
Favorite Snack: Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels
Matt’s personal favorite — Chakri Mix — didn’t make this list this year (he is holding out hope, though, that next year it gets a little bit of limelight). The PB-filled nuggets, once again, claim the top spot. Creamy and crunchy, salty and sweet — we could go for a handful right now just thinking about them.
Favorite Home, Bath, and Beauty: Scented Candle Tins
People love these candles, and Tara and Matt are two of them. “Every single candle that we bring into the store, I bring into my house and it is well-received,” says Tara. Do they have a favorite scent? For Matt, it’s hard to decide, but he says, “It might be the Cedar Balsam.” Do you have a favorite? We hear Peach Black Tea makes the kitchen smell amazing!
Favorite Vegan or Vegetarian Item: Soy Chorizo
This winner is announced with friend and crew member Alex, who walks Matt and Tara through a recipe for “All Day Tacos.” Why are they called All Day Tacos? Excellent question! Because, explains Alex, “You can eat ’em for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.” He also suggests throwing an egg on them, adding salsa, vegan cheese, and whatever fixings you like. After all, the choice is yours!
What’s your favorite thing to buy from Trader Joe’s? Let us know in the comments!