On the season 2 finale episode of Trader Joe’s podcast, a few new Trader Joe’s items coming in 2019 were announced. Now, I’m sure you have questions like, “Trader Joe’s has a podcast?” and “The podcast has already had two seasons??” and “Why wasn’t I, a devout Trader Joe’s stan, asked to host???” Most importantly, “What are these new products you speak of?!” If you’re looking to see into your grocery future and feast your eyes upon which items the entirety of your 2019 paychecks will go to, proceed with caution.
Let’s start with the Trader Joe’s podcast, which is apparently a thing that exists. Launched last year, Inside Trader Joe’s is co-hosted by Matt Sloan, Trader Joe’s VP of Marketing Product, and Tara Miller, Trader Joe’s Marketing Director. It’s essentially a 20ish minute advertisement for Trader Joe’s where the cover everything from seasonal products to brand strategy to company values. This week’s episode was all about the new: new locations, how they hire new managers, what attracts new customers, and (the reason why you’re here), a few of the new items coming to shelves in 2019.
If you’re a fan of cheese, chicken, and candles, these new products will be grocery store music to your ears.
Mandarin Orange Chicken Bowl
After Mandarin Orange Chicken was voted customer’s favorite Trader Joe’s product, it’s no surprise the store is expanding is orange chicken-y offerings. The traditional frozen bag of orange chicken has “tender chunks of juicy chicken in a crispy breading, coated with a house-made sauce of fresh California orange peels, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, fresh green onions, and soy sauce.” The brand new bowl with is all of that on a bed of rice, portioned in an individual size. It’s perfect for bringing to work for lunch and making all your coworkers sniff with jealousy.
Even if you don’t eat meat, you can enjoy the glory that is orange chicken. Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels hit shelves in June 2018. The vegetarian and vegan-friendly version of the product combined a “chicken-y blend of soy with a crispy breading” with the classic mandarin orange sauce. However, you may have to check with your local store to see if they still carry the product.
If you aren’t from the South, where pimento cheese is most popular, you’re probably scrunching your nose and asking, “What even is pimento cheese?” Unscrunch and fear not: it’s a combination of shredded cheese, mayonnaise, and diced red pimentos (AKA cherry peppers AKA the things often inside of green olives). Pimento cheese ideal for spreading on sandwiches, crackers, and any other savory dippable. And, if we’re being honest with ourselves, you’re probably going to try it because Trader Joe’s said you should.
Cave-Aged Spanish Cheese
As described on the podcast, this Spanish cheese is similar to Manchego. However, “where Manchego [is] all sheep’s milk, this cheese is a blend of cow sheep and goats milk.” It’s also been aged for nine months. Yes, Trader Joe’s has been pregnant with a cheese baby this whole time. Grilled cheeses everywhere are quaking.
Shredded Unexpected Cheddar
Per a description on Trader Joe’s website, this cheese is meant to live up to its name: “At first bite, Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar tastes like an aged Cheddar. And then something unexpected happens. The smooth creaminess of the Cheddar gives way to a tangy flavor and slightly crumbly texture, a subtle hint of salt crystallization is discovered, and it begins to taste like an aged Parmesan.” So many adjectives! So much cheese! The grocer recommends eating it in cheese ball form. I intend to eat it by the brick.
More Scented Candles
If you’re a fan of the seasonal Honeycrisp Apple and Cedar Balsam candles, you’re in luck: Trader Joe’s will stock their shelves with a new candle next year. You can look for a lemon cookie scented candle starting in Spring 2019. Our homes and dinner plates are going to smell equally delicious in the coming year.