The Most Popular Trader Joe's Food In Each State Will Give You All Sorts Of Grocery Shopping Inspiration

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It’s a fact: Almost everyone loves Trader Joe’s. However, not everyone loves the same Trader Joe’s items — and, as you might expect, where you live tends to have something of a connection to which items people like the most (aren’t regional quirks fun?). As these maps of the most popular Trader Joe’s items in each state show, though, some regions do have a lot in common when it comes to their likes and dislikes, whether we’re talking about dipping sauces or desserts. I guess in some ways, we’re not so different after all, are we?

Put together by Workwise, a company based in Wisconsin which develops Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management software solutions and provides implementation and support services, the maps show both the most popular Trader Joe’s item in each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia, and the most popular item overall in each region of the country. However, by “most popular items,” we’re not talking about the most purchased items; we’re talking about the most searched for items. Workwise analyzed Google search data to find out which item interests each state the most — but it’s worth bearing in mind that interest in an item doesn’t necessarily translate to that item appearing on everyone’s pantry shelves (or in their fridge or freezer, or wherever).

Courtesy of Workwise

What’s more, although the maps come to us hot on the heels of the results of Trader Joe’s 10th Annual Customer’s Choice Awards, there are some surprises in the bunch: An item winning a particular award doesn’t necessarily mean people are searching for it more than other items in that category. In fact, in many cases, the most searched for items were runners up, rather than winners. Interesting, no?

Courtesy of Workwise

Generally, the items fall into groups — some groups comprising one specific item, others a collection of items that all fit a theme. Here are the specifics:

1. Sweet Chili Sauce

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In a whopping 13 states — roughly a quarter of the country — searches for Trader Joe’s take on this spicy-sweet Thai condiment take the top slot: Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia all can’t get enough of the stuff. It also proved the most popular pick regionally; three of four areas — the Midwest, the Northeast, and the South — collectively search for it more than any other TJ’s pick. Interestingly, though, Sweet Chili Sauce was only a runner up for the Favorite Condiment category in Trader Joe’s 10th Annual Customer’s Choice Awards.

2. Macaron Variés

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Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, Washington State, and Wyoming all gear their TJ’s searches toward macarons — 10 states in all. These sweet almond pastries also won the regional top search in the West. Each box of Macaron Variés includes six flavors: Apricot, Coconut, Fig, Salted Caramel, Lemon, and Pistachio. And at $4.99 for a dozen treats, they’re a lot more affordable than Ladurée.

3. Desserts That Are NOT Macarons

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Eight states also dig their desserts — just not macarons: In Mississippi, North Dakota, South Carolina, and (of course) Florida, Key Lime Pie is the leader of the pack; found in the freezer section, one pie typically costs around $5.49. Colorado and Oregon, meanwhile, adore the bakery section’s Vegan Banana Bread (no eggs or dairy!), which comes in at $3.99 per 16-ounce loaf. And in Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin, they’re the most unique of them all — each state is the only one that searches its particular item the most. For Minnesota, it’s the Chocolate Lava Cakes; in New York, it’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, which won the Customer’s Choice Award for Favorite Candy this year; and in Wisconsin, it’s Danish Kringle — the Customer’s Choice winner for the Favorite Bakery category.

4. Everything But The Bagel Seasoning

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Ever since it debuted in 2017, Everything But The Bagel Seasoning has enjoyed a great deal of popularity. It’s tops in nine states: Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas. It also beat out Sweet Chili Sauce for the Favorite Condiment Award in the 10th Annual Customer’s Choice Awards.

5. The Freezer Section

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In eight states, savory picks from the freezer section win the most adoration. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont love spanakopita (which, y’know, is fair; it’s delicious); Delaware, New Mexico, and West Virginia all pledge their allegiance to Kung Pao Chicken; and for Connecticut and Maine, it’s all about the Turkey Meatballs (shown here covered in a glaze made from Sweet Chili Sauce and Raspberry Preserves).

6. Random Snacks

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Lastly we have two locations whose favorites… don’t really fit in any other category: California, with a fondness for Unexpected Cheddar, and the District of Columbia, which has a deep and abiding love of Bamba. Unexpected Cheddar won the Customer’s Choice Award for Favorite Cheese, while Bamba was a runner up for Favorite Snack.

Of course, when it comes to Trader Joe’s, it’s hard to go wrong; I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to encounter the TJ pick I didn’t like. What’s your favorite?