Trader Joe’s IRISH BREAKFAST TEA


 

If you enjoy a nice “cuppa”, like I do, you’ll likely enjoy TJ’s IRISH BREAKFAST TEA.

Trader Joe’s ORIGINAL IRISH BREAKFAST TEA BAGS is a newer incarnation of a previous version of Irish Tea they carried, then “revamped” a few years back. That previous Irish Tea packaging looked a bit different and tasted different too, according to the internet’s tea aficianados. This new version is an improved, better version, also according to them. Its has more flavor and is a stronger blend, which is what you definitely want in a cup of “Irish Tea” as Irish tea should be strong enough to stand up to milk and sugar, the way most people probably drink it there, as well as in the UK. And the way I takes me tea, as well!

TJ’s gave the box a new design too,  and the tea which was in a square bag, now comes in a round bag (tables with no string). Inside the box are 2 foil-wrapped packages with 40 tea bags each, which is great way to sell tea as the foil wrapper keeps 1/2 the tea totally fresh and airtight until you need to open the second package. When you rip open the foil pack you will smell the tea easily, its got a very nice earthy (boggy?) deep tea aroma. To me this is what good tea should smell like. I won’t be a snob and say no one should use a tea bag, let’s face it they are mighty convienient (yes on occasion, I will make a pot with loose tea).

According to the info on the box, TJ’s IRISH BREAKFAST tea comes from 5 countries: India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malawi, and Kenya. A box is 80 teabags has a Net Wt. of 8 ounces which basically means each tea bag contains a nice decent amount of tea, enough to make a strong “cuppa”. When you see cheap tea that has 100 tea bags and says “6 oz” you already know that means there’s simply not enough tea in each bag to make a strong cup of tea. Lipton comes as 8 oz of tea in 100 bags, so obviously each has less tea and won’t brew up as strong as this stuff. This is a black tea and properly steeped (4-5 minutes) the tea gives you a nice very strong, dark “cuppa” with a deep reddish color. It is strong enough to stand up to milk and sugar, or not, as you like! The box with 80 tea bags sells for $2.99 (or $6/lb) which is a good deal even compared to TJ’s ENGLISH BREAKFAST TEA (which comes in a box of 48 bags for $2.99)

As the box says, “The Irish love their tea”. Some of us Yanks do too and we can easily enjoy this brand of tea easily and affordably gotten at TJ’s to make their daily “cuppa”.

RAVE

new irish tea
FALL 2020 update – Note that the Irish Tea package has changed again. This is what it now looks like. They also changed from foil packs inside (nice) to plastic wrapped packs. Most people as well as yours truly preferred the foil packs for freshness. Oh well. One thing at least, this is still an 8 oz package for 80 teabags. For comparison, Whole Foods sells their Black Tea in a package of which is 70 teabags with a listed weight of 4.9 oz. Thats a lot less tea! So at least TJ has kept the amount of tea the same, and gives you more tea, which of course makes for a stronger cup.

Trader Joe’s FRENCH CULTURED BUTTER


If you want to “up your butter game” at home, you should try this excellent, high quality butter from France. But be warned, if you try this once, you may never go back to regular butter.

Spread a bit of this French butter on almost anything you would put butter on… say some asparagus, frozen peas, green beans, a baked potato, some steamed Yukon Golds, a nice slice of bread (sliced Brioche?)… on top of an omelette…anywhere…and you will notice how good really good butter is once you taste some.

I’ve lately grown to buying two kinds of butter at Trader Joe’s. “Regular” butter and the “premium” (i.e., imported butter). This French butter is definitely the Good Stuff. If I’m having some toast in the morning and I put some of this French butter from Brittany on it, or anything, its heavenly. At any other store you would pay something like $6-7 for this 1/2 lb. pack. Trader Joe’s now sells it for about $3.80 for 8,8 oz.

I’ve gotten to really like the two Imported “premium” butters that TJ sells. Irish KERRYGOLD butter comes in a gold or silver package (salted/gold, silver/unsalted). Imported from Ireland, Kerrygold is an excellent high quality butter, and I love that one too. It costs a bit less than the French one: Kerrygold Irish butter is $3.19 for 8 oz. 

“Trader Jacque’s FRENCH CULTURED SALTED BUTTER” comes in a blue package. It may have the slightest of edges on the Kerrygold Irish butter (but frankly both are superb butters). The French butter comes from Brittany (Bretagne), the region in the North West of France famous for cows, butter and cheeses (and Calvados!)

I’ve tried to do taste tests comparing the Irish vs. French butter and pick one over the other but they are both so good I almost can’t pick one as “better”. Both have a rich flavor that says “imported” premium butter. I started to buy the French butter as a neighbor says the French one has a slight edge. The difference may be that the French butter is “cultured” (fermented with enzymes similar to those in yogurt) to give a little bit of a tangy taste vs. the non-cultured Irish Kerrygold. Honestly though, I go back and forth on which I like more, the Irish or French butters, and always give up. Try them both and see which you prefer (if you can)! Both the Kerrygold Gold and the French Cultured are salted butters but are way less salty than you may think for salted butter you are used to (like Hotel Bar). Still, if you want an UNSALTED butter get the silver Kerrygold package. The gold package is salted (but lightly).

These imported butters naturally cost more the regular butter Trader Joe’s sells for $3/lb. I would say the normal TJ butter is equal to Hotel Bar butter or similar. But this French butter (or Irish Kerrygold) does up your “butter game”. FRENCH CULTURED BUTTER comes in a 8.8 oz pack which sells for $3.49, (PRICE INCREASED SINCE WRITING*) So figure its costs about twice as much as the regular butter. Still TJ’s French butter is I think the equal to butters you might buy in a supermarket in France. And if you compare this to imported premium butters you might see sold in an upscale supermarket here which carries imported butters, well they are crazy expensive (12/lb?). So as usual Trader Joe’s is selling this premium imported butter at a still fairly reasonable price (around $6 lb.) for an excellent French butter. The Cultured French Salted French butter only comes in a salted version but I find it fine, not overly salty at all, it’s just right for most applications. I’ve grown to love it. In fact, my Japanese sister-in-law loved this butter so much when she was visiting us that she actually carried back two packs all the way home to Japan in her bags!

Give it a try once, say slather some on a piece of warm French baguette just out of the oven, and you may never go back to regular butter…. Mes amis, c’est La Vie en Rose!

Cultured butter is typically created by adding live bacteria (cultures) to the butter before it’s churned, versus regular butter which is cream that just goes straight to the churning machine. … Results in a higher-fat product, which in turns makes the butter more silky and gives it a richer taste.”

RAVE

* UPDATE: Price of the French Butter price went up. Now $3.69 (Summer 2019) Irish Kerrygold still $3.19. To save a little I’ve been getting the Kerrygold recently.

UPDATE 2 (Nov 2020) This French butter has been M.I.A. in my local TJs for some time. I imagine its a supply chain problem due to Covid. The Irish Kerrygold butter is in stock so I have been buying that instead. Its as good or better but prices have gone up some though.

FYI = No Pink Slime at TJ’s


FYI –

—–Original Message—–
From: (trader joes rants)
Sent: March 23, 2012 4:34 PM
To:  Trader Joe’s Web Customer Relations
Subject: Trader Joe’s Product Information Form

Your Trader Joe’s: NYC, Bway, 72 St
Product Name:     Ground Beef

Your Comments:   I read that 70% of all supermarket ground beef now contains ‘pink slime’ as filler. What about TJ’s ground beef ?

———–

Hi,

Thanks for taking the time to reach out to us. Our ground beef is 100% pure beef with nothing added. Please be reassured that this is not something that would be permitted in our products– NO pink slime in any of our meat. We only work with reputable suppliers, many of which are actually generally much smaller in comparison to other markets, just so that we can ensure the quality and integrity of our products. We also have third party audits of our products and vendor facilities to ensure that our standards are met.

At Trader Joe’s, food safety is of the utmost importance, and we take seriously the work done to ensure our products are wholesome and safe; after all, we’re customers, too – and we would not sell anything we would not eat, drink, or use ourselves!

Kind regards,
Kerry
Trader Joe’s Customer Relations

Raw Ground beef

Easy Home-Made Pizza using TJ’s Pizza Dough (Re-Visited!)


I noticed that the all-useful TRADER JOE’S PIZZA DOUGH which had been only 99 cents (!) for as long as I can remember, went up to bit by bit and is now $1.29. While I loved it for under a buck, its still not a bad deal, say compared to Whole Foods prices.

The pizza recipe” post I did before seems to be one of the more popular posts here, so I’m re-visiting the topic of PIZZA (Yeah, baby!) Pictured below is yet another pizza I made for dinner using TJ’s ever useful bag of Pizza Dough sold in the refrigerator section.

To make this I used some homemade spaghetti sauce, with some extra veggies I had leftover from another dinner (eggplant, peppers, and onions). Mozzarella, and some hot Italian sausage. At the end I put on some cooked Kale with garlic I had made another night too. See, part of the “pizza night” ethos is to use up whatever one can find in the fridge, that might work on it!


Seriously, doesn’t this home-made pizza look so damn yummy and delicious that you wish you could eat it right now?! Well guess what, you canMake your own pizza at home, folks. Don’t order one. No, really, it is pretty easy. Do you need to use home-made sauce? Of course not, a jar or canned sauce like TJ’s Marinara would be fine. Making a pizza is easy, fun, super delicious and is of course generally way cheaper than buying one. There is nothing like eating a pizza you made yourself and just pulled fresh out of your oven bubbly and brown. If you have never made pizza at home before, you must try making one yourself at least once. I promise once you do, you’ll want to make a pizza at least once a week. Every time I go to Trader Joe’s I buy a package of dough to keep in my freezer to always have it on hand for these occasions. It will defrost on the counter in about 3 hours (or leave to defrost in the fridge overnight).

Is a Recipe needed to inspire you? OK then heres one:

pizza5HOMEMADE PIZZA WITH TJ PIZZA DOUGH

Ingredients needed: 1 package of TJ’s Pizza Dough, about 8 ozs of some sauce (Marinara, etc),  about 1/2 lb cheese (Mozzerella, Parmesan, Pecorino, Grana Padano, Jack, etc ) and using more than one cheese is even better (optional: fresh garlic, diced tomato, fresh/dried basil, onion, parsley, cooked mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, kale, etc) and of course Italian Spices (oregano, basil, rosemary, red pepper, black pepper….)

1) Take your (defrosted) package of TRADER JOE”S PIZZA DOUGH out of the fridge –  leave it out at room temperature for at least one hour (the package says ’20 minutes’ but it is too short). Room temperature dough will be easier to work and press out,so plan ahead! (around the 1/2 hour point, turn on to pre-heat your oven to 450-500…very hot) Do not nuke it.

2) Prepare a clean work surface thats large enough to work your dough on. Dust it with flour. Remove the dough from the package (TIP: Its sticky! I invert the plastic bag to remove and just keep tugging and pulling till I get it all out). Dust the dough with flour so you can work it. Now you shape it. With your hands well floured and adding a little extra flour (or cornmeal) on the surface of the dough as needed, start to press out the dough using your fingers. Keep working and turning it until it is your desired size and shape. I generally use a square non-stick “half-sheet pan” to cook my pizza in. Its a little trickier to make the dough into a square shape instead of a round shape but I like it like this. If using this kind of square pan, put a little olive oil in the pan on the bottom, put some on top of the dough and work it with your fingers…keep pressing it out gently. The oil will help you to stretch it out and work the dough into shape. Let the dough rest five minutes if you find its not ‘behaving’ and keeps pulling back on you. Normal dough behavior. Just let it rest 5-10 minutes, then come back. Try to be careful and not to make the pizza “too thin” (or rip it!) if you can. And not too thick either or it will be tough! Get it just right. Build up the outside edge a bit. You can gently brush the edges with some olive oil if you want (optional). Another Option: Use a rolling pin to get it started and transfer that carefully to the pan and then work it. Remember if its the pan style its a rectangle you are shooting for. Shaping the dough is the only tricky part of making a pizza. The more you do this, the more you will get the hang of handling dough. If its not perfectly shaped your first time don’ worry. It will still taste as good! Don’t give up. Check YouTube for some videos on making pizza, study a bit, practice and keep doing it. You will get the hang of it and find it much easier in future. If you want to go the round route, try that. Moving the raw pizza is tricky though so I find the sheet pan style better.

IMG_0003READY TO ASSEMBLE (I am using smoked mozz and a little provolone) 
Now that you have your pizza dough base ready, its time for the ingredients
3) Spread your tomato sauce out with a large spoon. Do not oversauce – that will make the pizza harder to cook evenly and soggy. Add sauce as a thin layer. Now add your other ingredients, again in moderation, and spaced out. Don’t place too much stuff on it. Sprinkle on grated mozzerella or other cheese as desired. I like to use more than one cheese (Parmesan is great as well as Grana Padano) If using sausage, pre-cook a bit just till you can slice easily (I cooked mine covered for 5-6 minutes, let it cool in the pan, then sliced it up and added it) Add extra spices as desired (Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, Red Pepper flakes….). Add fresh cracked pepper. Drizzle a bit of Olive Oil all over just before baking (Are you vegetarian? Vegan? Adjust the ingredients as needed. I’m sure you know how. Soy cheese perhaps?)

4) BAKING: When its ready to bake, place the pizza in pre-heated 450-500 degree oven. Very hot! Real pizza ovens are much hotter than your home oven can go but we can work with just longer baking. I usually put the pan on the oven floor for 10 mins, then move it to the middle or top rack. If too complicated, just use the middle rack.

Check pizza after 15-18 minutes (ROTATE the pan after 10 minutes, to even the baking. The pizza will probably need a total of around 20-25 minutes to bake, but your mileage may vary, as every oven is different. Check it frequently until you think its done. When it is done, I think you will know; it should be bubbly and slightly browned on top (as well as the bottom) However be careful not to over-cook your pizza or it may be a bit tough. Real pizza ovens are 600-900 degrees or hotter, so a pizza bakes in mere minutes….we just do our best with our regular home ovens. When your beautiful pizza looks – and smells – like its done, it probably is, so remove it from the oven. Check it. If its finished, you should let it rest 2 minutes before cutting as it will be easier to slice. Yes, waiting is the hardest part. SLICE it up with your favorite tool. I’ve got a pizza cutter from a 99 cents store, and it works fine. Believe it or not I even use kitchen shears to cut up pizza, and that works fairly well. If you have fresh Basil, now is the time to add it – use kitchen shears as I learned to do watching master pizza maker Dom DeMarco at the legendary DiFara’s Pizza in Brooklyn)! Dom’s pizza’s are to die for.

IMG_0002Before and After. The hardest part in the above may be waiting 20 minutes for the pizza to come out of the oven.

IMG_0004

The thing is, once you get the hang of making a pizza yourself a few times you will find its really not that hard to make, nor takes that much time. You must try making pizza yourself.

Please leave some feedback on your successes (or failures)

UPDATE / TIP: I have been experimenting with “aging” the TJ dough in the fridge and let it sit for a few days before use. It will ferment slowly and will get sourdough-y taste this way as the dough ferments. Try this aging for 1 (or 2 days) past the “sell by” date. Experiment with the aging of the dough tip and see if the crust and flavor is improved. I find it so.

Personally I have found the regular dough is the best version TJ has  – I have found the whole wheat version too tough, and the herbed version too off-tasting and bitter. Your mileage may vary. If you really want great pizza, eventually you may even make your own dough!

Buona Fortuna (good luck!) and Enjoy…

Gently remove dough from bag and place on lightly floured work surface. Let dough rest for 20 minutes, then, for best results, stretch by hand or roll out with rolling pin to 12-inch diameter. Top with your favorite toppings and bake in a preheated 450 degrees oven or BBQ grill for 8-10 minutes, or until cheese begins to boil and the bottom of crust is golden brown.Use a hot pizza stone or lightly oiled pan for optimum results. Mangia!

AND YET MORE PHOTOS OF MAKING OF A PIZZA USING HOMEMADE DOUGH

HALF ZUCCHINI / HALF TOMATO

TJ’s Fresh Cranberries (and RECIPE)


FRESH VS. CANNED CRANBERRY SAUCE

To me the greatest sin one can commit on Thanksgiving is the sin of opening a can of cranberry sauce.

Please don’t ever do that again, people. There is simply no comparison to MAKING YOUR OWN CRANBERRY SAUCE. It is the EASIEST thing in the world to do, and if you do, trust me everyone will say something about how wonderful your cranberry sauce tastes. Seriously it could not be easier to make so you have no reason not to. Trader Joe’s has fresh cranberries today so I bought a bag and made homemade cranberry sauce.

If you’ve never made cranberry sauce from fresh berries before here’s all you need to do (and the bag has the recipe too).

“RECIPE” : Open bag. Dump cranberries in a pot. Add one cup water* and one cup of sugar. Bring to a boil.

Thats all the work, seriously. Now you let them simmer in the pot until the cranberries “pop”. This usually takes 15-20 minutes. THATS IT! DONE! You let it cool and it will thicken up as it cools down. Cranberry skin contains a great deal of natural pectin.

Want to get a tiny bit fancier and more creative?  *Add orange juice instead of water. A bit fancier? Throw in some orange peel (zest). Even more creative? This year I added a tiny bit of cayenne pepper and a pinch of fennel seeds and some lime juice.

If you’ve never made your own cranberry sauce and are used to the canned kind, you owe it to yourself to make it fresh this year. It will take about 1 minute of “work” and 15 minutes to finish cooking. Make it ahead so it can be served at room temp (hint, do it at the day before, it will set up beautifully in the fridge, then take it out a few hours before eating).

You will be shocked both at how easy it is to make and how infinitely better the fresh stuff is  than the canned stuff. At the time of this writing a 12 oz. bag cost $1.99, a decent price. (UPDATE: 2018, a bag was $3.49 at TJ’s)!

You can even buy an extra bag and throw it as is in the freezer where it can keep for a few months. Once you make your own, you will realize how easy and good it is and never buy the sauce in a can again. Now go, and sin no more…!

#DIY #CranberrySauce

TJ’s FRENCH GREEN BEANS (Haricots Verts)


UPDATE! SUMMER 2019 – out of stock all year, this product has finally is back in stores !

 (Updated, Nov 2019) This product is in stores!

RAVE

These can easily be on any Trader Joe’s Top 10 List.

Easily best “first try” of a TJ product in a while, I was quite impressed with the quality of these frozen green beans. These are are extremely high quality French Haricots Verts (“green beans”). They are “IMPORTED FROM FRANCE”. These Haricot Verts are the real McCoy and a super bargain. 

French “Haricot Verts” are better and higher quality bean than our usual standard green beans. Haricots Verts are a skinnier French green bean variety, thinner and more tender than our regular US green beans.. These are the expensive-ass skinny green beans you get next to that $35 entree you ordered when you go to an expensive restaurant. When I see fresh HARICOTS VERTS, imported from France, at a top green grocer like Fairway for example, which does carry them, they are always quite expensive, something like $8-10 per lb? As opposed to $2/lb for our “normal” fresh green beans. I always think ‘who can afford to buy these 12 bucks a pound green beans?! They must have money to burn.’ Well now thanks to Trader Joe’s great buying skills, all of us non-Rockefeller normal folks can afford to buy these wonderful French green beans, just they’ve come flash frozen.

TJ’s sells a package of the frozen HARICOT VERTS in a 24 oz bag. (1.5 lbs) for $1.99! Do the math, thats comes out to about $1.50/lb so thats about the same price or LESS, than I might buy regular fresh green beans (a price check followup in April 2012 show this is still the same price!) 

These are those same wonderful thin, french haricots verts, all prepped and ready to use, which have been flash frozen. Dark, nice green color. Blanched for a few seconds prior to being flash frozen. Certainly easy to use: they are all prepped (tip and tailed) which you would spend time doing with fresh beans. This is a big time saver as prepping beans is the one thing I don’t like about when I buy fresh green beans, they take a bit of work to tip and tail a pound of beans. These come trimmed and cut into bite size lengths, ready to use. Handy. To cook, throw them in boiling salted water.

Or you can also just toss the beans into a hot sauté pan with some butter and oil (and garlic?) Cook either way for only 1-2 mins till just tender. Don’t overcook these! You can easily ruin them. With a bit of minced garlic and butter you have a nice French side dish of haricots verts, ready in minutes. Salads? Yes! I threw them into a salad after boiling them for about 45-60 seconds, dumping them in a colander and running cold water to cool them, and they were really good tossed with some good Virgin Olive Oil and White Balsamic vinegar…Delicious. Toss in some diced hard boiled eggs, and parsley, and you have a nice “salade composé”. I also use these a lot by just adding them to any dish I’m making, generally breaking them in half first as I add them to stews, soups, etc…..

haricots verts cocoCategory:Green beans

haricots verts cocoCategory:Green beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To sell at this price, I can only imagine these are one of those items TJ’s makes a huge deal with the farmer or vendors. TJ’s purchases in such huge quantities directly from the vendor and they say pays in cash for the next crop and thats how TJ’s makes deals so they can sell products at such bargains (case in point is Olive Oil, right? They buy HUGE massive quantities from vendors all over the world)

Anyway TJ’s FRENCH GREEN BEANS (Haricots Verts) are my new favorite vegetable, and are now on my “always these have on hand” Trader Joe’s List. I now always buy a package to have in my freezer at all times. Right next to TJ’s Frozen Peas and Frozen Edamame, also all staples in my house.  These are very versatile things to have on hand at all times. Try them, you won’t be sorry.

RECIPEHaricots Verts With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

(If you make this remember the recipe assumes using fresh haricots verts so adjust the cooking time down)

Have you tried this product?  Let me know what you think in the comments section!

NOTE: THIS WAS M.I.A FOR SOME TIME AS NOTED BY MANY READERS. I INQUIRED ABOUT IT WITH THE CAPTAIN AT MY LOCAL TJ (NYC) WHO TOLD ME THE PRODUCT WAS NOT DISCONTINUED, THEY RAN OUT OF IT, AND HADNT BEEN AVAILABLE FROM THE SUPPLIER. HE TOLD ME THEY WERE WAITING FOR THE NEXT HARVEST AND SHIPMENT TO COME IT. IT SHOULD AGAIN BE AVAILABLE IN JUNE (2019) – As of July 2019, I still don’t see it

AUGUST 2019 – I think I found it again finally!!  Package looks different (white bag instead of clear) and instead of “Trader Joe’s” label says “DU JARDIN” but seems to be the Haricot Verts “extra fine green beans” “Product of France”…. so this must be it?…Except now bag is 16 oz instead of 24 oz and its $1.99. So price went up. Of course.

UPDATE2 (SEPT 2019) This product (original package) is back in the stores!

TJ’s Uncrystallized Candied Ginger M.I.A. for months and months!


ginger

Uncrystallized Candied Ginger 8 oz bag $1.49 (if you can buy it)

TJ’s Uncrystallized Candied Ginger has been M.I.A. for months now!

When I first tried this product, it was love at first bite.

I love ginger and most any candied ginger is a real favorite of mine. Trader Joe’s candied ginger is quite different from most of these, its not hard and tough like some candied ginger. Its is much softer, chewier, nice sweet spicy morsels made from “just” pure natural ginger. Its naturally very very spicy, and well, ginger-y. This product is made with good quality natural ginger and it has just the right amount of sweetness to balance out the heat. This is yet another TJ product I tried just once, and was instantly hooked on! It is delicious eaten on its own but I can tell you it is even more delicious eaten with a bite of dark chocolate (eaten together this is better than most chocolate covered ginger candy sold). You can dice it up and add add it to various things (like yogurt, cereal…). I use it in cooking too, even in a pinch adding it to dishes I’m making that need ginger. If you like ginger spiciness, this is so so good. They sell it for a great price, compared to rock hard stuff you might find that is the more “crystallized” version – hence why TJ specifically calls this ‘uncrystallized’.

Unfortunately though I haven’t seen it on the shelves in months now! Its gone Missing In Action!

When I’ve inquired about it at the front desk, they’ve told me they are “expecting to get more next month”.  I’ve heard this same thing for the last four-five months. Has it been (shudder) Discontinued, added to that infamous list of TJ’s products?! I hope not. This is a great product. If you like ginger candy and ever see this again, its a must try.

Uncrystallized Candied Ginger: PLEASE COME BACK!

A SPLIT DECISION:  a RAVE for the product / a RANT for being missing in action

UPDATE-1 (June 1 2011) I’M STILL WAITING; Just checked with TJ staff and they confirm, its not discontinued; they can’t get the product. Out Of Stock.

UPDATE-2 – (July 2011) I asked Manager; She said they finally got it in. It was on the shelves for one day before they were told to remove it because of some “label issue” WTF!!

UPDATE -3 (Oct 2011) I spoke with the Front Desk manager at my local TJ’s. She said officially “the product has NOT been discontinued” and that’s its one of the most requested items to get back on the shelf. According to her the problem is Trader Joe’s can’t get the ginger! She told me TJ’s has had trouble with their regular source’s ginger crop (in Indonesia?). Oh well. It can’t hurt to “pester” them! There can’t be only one source for ginger in the entire world, can there?

UPDATE-4  (Dec. 2011) Interesting update – Again spoke with another manager at Front Desk. This guy time told me. a) Confirmed again Product NOT discontinued; b) The Product has had an issue with its formulation. He said something like “Sulfites” and that it needed to be reformulated by the producers. Hmm… see update-2 above, right?

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE 3/16/12 – ITS BACK in stock. Check this post

TJ’s Chocolate Minis


Notice anything different?

choc

(RANT)


TJ’s Mini Chocolate Bars: 99 cents. Yeah TJ’s!

HOWEVER there is a little fishy story here. The original version of this product (left) recently ‘vanished’ from my Trader Joes’s (NYC/72nd St). I basically got hooked on these little mini chocolate bars. I used to pick up a bag of them every time I went shopping there (hey, they’re strategically placed right near the end of the checkout line to encourage this behavior, so why fight it?) Even my Checkout Guy bagging me tells me he buys a bag of these daily.  Says he goes through a bag a day. Me, I tried to control myself so the bag of 28 chocolates lasts almost a week. Well guess what? They simply vanished. Out of Stock. No. Even the sign vanished…which I’ve now learned from experience generally means bye-bye to a product.

So a week or two later I see there are once again bags of mini chocolate bars on the shelf. BUT they look different. They don’t look like they are for little kids anymore (OK by me) But the“old version” (left) seems to have been replaced by the new version (right). Notice the difference in quantity? Now yes before, they only came as milk chocolate; now you have a choice of milk or semi-sweet chocolate (which I greatly prefer). BUT other than that, the new version of this product seems exactly the same. Both say “Made In Columbia” on the package. The bars are the same size as they were in the yellow package. So WTF, Trader Joes ?! You used to give us 28 bars for 99 cents, but now you give us 12 for the same price?!

Do the math, and you will see TJ’s has more than doubled the price of these chocolate bars. Look, for the price its still pretty good. Never the less I find this a bit fishy on Trader Joe’s part. Does TJ’s think we’re not going to notice this kind of STEEP price increase – or downsizng in product quantity? Don’t they have a motto about how they only raise prices as their costs go up? So did the wholesale price of chocolate in Columbia go up 70 per cent? I’d find that hard to believe.

This is akin to the old “Hersheys effect” going way back in Marketing. How Hershey’s kept the price of their chocolate bar 5 cents for years and years but kept decreasing the size of the bar. The customer is not supposed to notice.

UPDATE: AUG 2011

They 12 bar chocolates appeared erratically on the shelves. Gone, then I’d seen them again. Went on for weeks. Finally, I see them in a tub with a sign “99 cents” literally at the head of the Checkout Line at my local TJ’s. I bought some but had a feeling that tub was the last of them. I was right. I inquired about the “12 pack 99 cents chocolates” status and the Captain told me “They’ve been discontinued”

BUMMER TRADER JOE! What is it with this product? Its fantastic.Don’t tell me they weren’t selling.  I bought one or two bags every time I shopped at Trader Joe’s. So why DISCONTINUED??!!

RANT