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.
Spy anything that didn't make the list? Make your voice heard in the comments.