Trader Joe’s asked its customers a simple question: If you were to spend the rest of your life on a deserted island, which nine Trader Joe’s products would you take with you?
More than 18,000 customers responded to its 14th annual survey ranking the grocery store’s most popular items in nine different categories.
There were some caveats this year: Gone from the running were five products that have won many times in the past (think Mandarin Orange Chicken and dark chocolate peanut butter cups), and instead are featured in its Product Hall of Fame.
The first Trader Joe’s opened in Pasadena, California, in 1967. Its founder Joe Coulombe (yes, Joe was a real guy), was a convenience store owner who wanted to open a grocery chain to appeal to a niche market of well-educated, well-traveled consumers. The idea led him to create a cult-favorite grocery empire.
Here are the products customers voted their favorites, in categories from cheese to entrees.
Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Tortilla Chips, spicy corn chips, swept the competition this year, taking home the top prize. Runners-up included the hash browns, chicken soup dumplings, Everything but the Bagel sesame seasoning blend, and chocolate croissants.
See the all-time favorites included in Trader Joe’s Hall of Fame
The chips also won in the poll’s favorite snack category. Customers were also fans of the Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers, Organic Corn Chip Dippers, World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs and Crunchy Curls, which were all among the top vote-getters.
The Sparkling Honeycrisp Apple Juice was the fans’ favorite beverage, though it is seasonal. The canned drink is a simple three-ingredient blend of apple juice, water and bubbles.
Following is the Triple Ginger Brew, Sparkling Peach Black Tea with peach juice, Sparkling Cranberry & Ginger Beverage and the Non-Dairy Brown Sugar Oat Creamer.
Now that Hall of Famer Unexpected Cheddar is no longer an option in the poll, the store’s cheddar cheese with caramelized onions took home top accolades.
See the full list of customer choice award winners
Runners-up included Syrah Soaked Toscano, seasonal Baked Lemon Ricotta, Blueberry & Vanilla Chèvre and its various bries.
Replacing the longtime Mandarin Orange Chicken is Trader Joe’s Butter Chicken – spiced chicken in a tomato and cream sauce with basmati rice.
Indian is popular with Trader Joe’s customers. Second runner-up was Chicken Tikka Masala, followed by Kung Pao Chicken, Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese and BBQ Teriyaki Chicken.
Top Household Item
Seasonal candles won out in this category. Its seasonal scents include Peony Blossom, Cedar Balsam, Honeycrisp Apple and Vanilla Pumpkin.
Runners-up: Daily Facial Sunscreen, Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Cream, Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo & Conditioner, and Shea Butter & Coconut Oil Hair Mask.
Unsurprisingly, customers voted bananas as their top choice. The chain is known for its 25-cent organic bananas and 19-cent regular bananas. Following choices were Teeny Tiny Avocados, Honeycrisp Apples, Brussels Sprouts and Organic Carrots of Many Colors.
The tiny and crunchy Hold the Cone! Mini Ice Cream Cones won top dessert, followed by Danish Kringle, Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches, Chocolate Lava Cakes and Brookie.
Among its many vegan and vegetarian options, the Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto came out on top. Vegetable Fried Rice, Beefless Bulgogi, Palak Paneer, Cauliflower Gnocchi followed.