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It’s been 50 years, almost to the day, since Trader Joe’s opened its first location in Pasadena, California on Arroyo Parkway. The grocery chain has since ballooned to a tiny empire, maintaining 467 locations spread over 41 states. The company’s gone all out to mark its semicentennial, offering in-store product tastings and giveaways this weekend.
Last week, the chain devoted its Fearless Flyer newsletter to a list of some of its favorite products throughout this five-decade history. The company polled its “Customers and Crew” (both constituencies are, for some reason, capitalized within the Trader Joe’s style guide) to compile this list, reaching back through its library of products.
Read this list, if anything, as a small snapshot into the way the chain has sustained itself through this past half-century and built on its brand ethos, rolling out products at the nexus between innovation and affordability. The list is quarantined into separate categories—beverages, produce and flowers, refrigerated products, “supplements and such,” et cetera—and accompanied by abridged histories of each product. Some categories, like bakery, are sparse, with merely one entry; others, like snacks & sweets, are comparatively bountiful.
It’s a list of “about 50,” Fearless Flyer claims; I count 56. Conspicuous by its absence? Cauliflower pizza crust, that revered frozen staple. I bet you'll spot many more of your favorites that didn't make the list. Tough luck. There's always 2067.
- Brewed Ginger Beer
- Cold Pressed Matcha Green Tea Lemonade
- Organic French Roast Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
- Organic Tea & Lemonade
- Red Refresh Herbal Tea
- Unsweetened Golden Oolong Tea
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Gluten Free Cheese Pizza
- Hold the Cone!
- Mandarin Orange Chicken
- Mango & Sticky Rice Spring Rolls
- Premium Wild Salmon Burgers
- Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches
- Corn & Chile Salsa
- Green Dragon Hot Sauce
- Organic Midnight Moo
- Organic Purple Maize Flakes
- Organic Sriracha & Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
- Organic Toaster Pastries
- Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Seasoning Salt
Produce & Flowers
- All Natural Boneless, Skinless, Chicken Thighs
- Bruschetta Sauce
- Carne Asade Autentica
- Mediterranean Hummus
- Mozzarella & Tomato Salad
- Spatchcocked Chicken
- Whole Milk Mango Kefir
Snacks & Sweets
- Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Dress Circle Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Everything Pretzel Slims
- Five Seed Almond Bars
- Gochujang Almonds
- Just Mango Slices
- Organic Corn Chips
- Peanut Butter Pretzels
- Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips
- Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn
- Sea Salt & Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds
- Triple Ginger Snaps
Supplements & Such
Wine & Beer
- Drive Thru Red Dry Hopped Red Ale
- Secco Mango Mangocini
- TJ's Grand Reserve Chardonnay Santa Lucia
- TJ's Highland Single Malt Scotch Bourbon
- TJ's Petit Reserve Meritage Paso Robles 2014
- Wish Flower White Wine
Spy anything that didn't make the list? Make your voice heard in the comments.