Trader Joe’s Just Leaked Info on New Summer Products and We Have the Scoop

published Aug 4, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Masur

As disappointing as it is when Trader Joe’s discontinues a favorite product, the one thing that makes up for it is finding out what took its place on the shelves. Every Trader Joe’s shopping trip is an opportunity to discover an exciting ingredient, packaged good, or some other surprise that will pique your curiosity. The constant innovation is part of what makes Trader Joe’s so beloved, and on this week’s Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, the crew talks about what’s arriving this summer, including the return of a few favorites from previous years.

1. Lemon Baton Wafer Cookies

These long, thin rolled cookies filled with lemon cream come in a big canister, making them easy for grabbing as a light sweet. “It smells like actual lemons,” notes Tara. Matt describes it as “Meyer lemons folded into crème fraîche. There’s a little tangy lactic kind of back note to that aroma.” But he also notes that they are back just for the summer, not forever — so grab them now if you like them. 

2/3. Key Lime Tea Cookies and Key Lime Kettle Corn

Another returning seasonal cookie option are these shortbread cookies with powdered sugar. “If you inhale sharply with one of those near your mouth, be careful,” warns Matt, as you’ll suddenly find yourself covered in powdered sugar. The podcast hosts note that while Trader Joe’s didn’t invent Key lime, they do claim they were the ones to have “made a thing of it,” and this year you’ll find that thing in the new Key lime kettle corn.

4. Stone Fruit Boxes

The big four-pound boxes of peaches and nectarines for just $6.99 are returning for about the 10th year this summer. The special boxes are cute, but also functional — they are designed to keep the fruit safe in its extra-ripe state, which makes it softer and sweeter, Matt explains. Tara adds that something about the box encourages people in her house to just grab a piece of fruit. Also, both of them correctly agree that nectarines are the superior fruit to peaches. 

5/6. Half-Pound Kebab Skewers in Beef and Chicken

If you’re ready to fire up the grill, Matt and Tara are ready to introduce you to their kebabs, which come in one-pound packages of two skewers. There’s Angus tri-tip in a sweet and savory marinade with tamarind sauce, and chicken thighs with Thai-style coconut curry sauce. They come on thick bamboo skewers so you can toss them right onto the grill without them burning at all. 

7. Garlic Bread Cheese

I was confused at first listening to them talk about this, as it is not a garlic bread with cheese, but a cheese called bread cheese, with garlic, which they toss on the grill. “I don’t really understand how it tastes like there’s bread here,” says Tara. “Because it kind of tastes like it’s a sandwich and it’s really just the baked top of the cheese.” Matt explains that’s the Maillard reaction, and this is modeled after a Finnish style of baked cheese.

8. Sweet and Deliciously Fruity Gummy Candies

These vegetarian gummy candies are designed to mimic the classic gummy chew — softer than the Trader Joe’s favorite Scandinavian Swimmers, says Matt. They’ll come in a variety of flavors using real fruit components: pineapple, mango, watermelon, blueberry, and pink grapefruit. 

9. Calrose Rice

Trader Joe’s has finally added this grocery store staple to their rice selection, and while it’s pretty standard these days, Tara is happy to have it, saying “I really love the flavor of this rice. There’s something very, very clean and very simple about it. And when you cook it, it’s simultaneously fluffy and a little sticky, which to me is perfect.” Matt suggests using it for risotto, paella, or for making a poke bowl.

10/11. Cold Brew Barbecue Sauce and BBQ Rub and Seasoning with Coffee & Garlic

Caffeinate your grills this summer with the return of the BBQ rub and seasoning with coffee and garlic and the addition of a cold brew garlic sauce. “That coffee flavor works so nicely on grilled things,” Matt says. “This cold brew coffee barbecue sauce makes me think of Creole coffee, coffee, chicory, and molasses, of course.”

12. Strawberry & Jalapeño Crisps

These crackers look like tiny slices of bread, but they come with baked-in flavors. “It’s almost like a biscotti process,” says Matt. But the use is more like a cracker — Tara suggests eating them out of the box, dipping them, or topping them with cheese. “They’re like a seedy, fruity little piece of toast,” says Matt. Tara comments on just how crunchy they are. 

13. Hatch Chile Cheddar Seasoned Popcorn

“It’s almost like a tamale in popcorn,” says Tara of the chile, cheese, and corn flavors. The new snacks will pop up around now — end of June/early July, so it should be on shelves soon for you to understand what makes the Hatch chiles from New Mexico pair so well with popcorn.

14. Carolina Gold Barbecue Ridge Cut Kettle Potato Chips

This treat, coming around the end of July, takes its flavor cues from the mustard and molasses combo familiar to fans of the store’s Carolina Gold Barbecue Sauce. “In tasting different seasonings and kind of going after a version of a barbecue potato chip,” explains Matt, “we kept coming back to this sauce and this idea.”

15/16/17. Sparkling Drinks: Lemonade, Green Tea with Pineapple Juice, and Watermelon Lemonade Water

Starting with the lemonade, these light cans of carbonated water, sugar, and lemon juice concentrate — and nothing else — have what Matt calls “some serious pucker power.” Tara suggests that it would make a great cocktail mixer — with vodka and a twist of lemon. For the green tea, Matt says it smells “like a reward after a day, like a hard workout and you’re in the spa.” He compares it to the flavor of the green tea mints. The sparkling watermelon lemonade water is similar to the blueberry lemonade they’ve had previously — just a sparkling water with no sugar added and just the flavor. 

18/19. Lovely You Rosé and Chardonnay

These two low-calorie, no-sugar wines have just 10% alcohol, so they’re nice light wines. “They’re easy to drink and fun to have at a party or something like that,” says Tara, after Matt explains how you can make wine without sugar — in part by starting with less ripe grapes.