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Why the Trader Joe’s 15th Annual Customer Choice Awards fresh produce picks might surprise you  

trader joe's customer choice

I feel like I’ve complained about this before, but here we are again. What does the average consumer think of when they hear “Trader Joe’s?”  

For me, it’s innovation, quirky staff wearing Aloha shirts, those star-shaped Thin Mint knock-offs you can get at Christmas, and, of course, Mandarin Orange Chicken.  

So, when the Monrovia, CA-based retailer BB #:162286 announces its annual Customer Choice Awards and I scroll to the produce selection and see that BANANAS won … again … I can’t help but feel let down.  

How do people vote in bananas as their favorite produce item at a store known for putting Everything But The Bagel Seasoning on the map? We all know that’s the best part of the bagel – who knew you could just buy a bottle of the stuff? Trader Joe’s, that’s who.  

The rest of the Top 5 fresh produce items at Trader Joe’s does have a bit of a quirky slant, all things considered:  

2. Teeny Tiny Avocados: TJ’s was one of the first retailers to see the potential in a single-serving avocado, perfect for toast, or a single smoothie; 

3. Honeycrisp apples: at least it’s not the red devil, (sorry, I mean Red Delicious), but we’ve got 20+ years of Honeycrisp and they are hardly what I’d consider revolutionary;  

4. Persian cucumbers: Anyone who shops at an ethnic grocer knows you can buy a pile of these for not very much money, but kudos to Trader Joe’s for the packaging and branding;  

5. Lemony Arugula Basil Complete Salad Kit: Ok, here’s the first signal I’m at Trader Joe’s. First, it’s packaged. If you haven’t shopped a TJ’s in the past, you have not witnessed the massive wall of packaged produce choices. You could spend all day staring at the products and still not make a selection. There are SO MANY to choose from. I give this one five stars for differentiation.  

Maybe I’m giving Trader Joe’s customers too much credit for their “revolutionary” taste in shopping. The No. 1 overall pick was Chili Lime Rolle Corn Tortilla Chips, which any middle schooler (or is it just the ones in my house?) will tell you is a less-tasty version of their beloved Takis.  

Read up on the rest of the Customer Choice Award Winners here.  


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.