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Online Edition of The Cardinal Times

The Cardinal Times

Brand-name snacks vs. Trader Joe’s knock-offs

Leila Holte
The results of the battles left me somewhat surprised. While I love all the brand-name snacks, I did expect Trader Joe’s to step up and win a few more!

When walking through the aisles of Trader Joe’s, shoppers might notice a few familiar items. While they have slightly different names, the snacks look almost exactly like some of the brand-name snacks we eat every day. I tried three of these knockoff snacks to tell you how they compare to the brand-name products I bought at Target. 

Oreos ($4.99 / 18.12 oz.) vs. Trader Joe’s Chocolate Vanilla Creme Joe-Joe’s ($2.99 / 13.4 oz.)

Oreos are the classic original cookies and cream treat, consisting of a layer of vanilla creme sandwiched between two crisp chocolate cookies. Since its creation, this “sandwich cookie” has been duplicated many times by other brands, including Trader Joe’s. So how do the Joe Joe’s compare? Upon first taste of the Joe Joe’s, I noticed a significant difference in flavor. While Oreos seem to have a nice balance between the chocolate flavor and the vanilla creme, the Joe Joes seemed dominated by the sweetness of the vanilla creme. This was a weak attempt by Trader Joe’s to recreate the Oreo, and the name-brand cookie is the clear winner.


Pirate Booty ($7.49 / 10 oz.) vs. Trader Joe’s World’s Puffiest White Cheddar Corn Puffs ($2.49 / 7 oz.)

Pirate Booty has been a beloved childhood snack for many in my generation. My lactose-intolerant family never bought this snack, so I have not eaten a lot of Pirate Booty. I tried the Pirate Booty first and was slightly underwhelmed by the lack of flavor. The Trader Joe’s White Cheddar Corn Puffs tasted like Pirate Booty with a similar lack of cheese flavor. However, I did notice a big difference in texture. While the Pirate Booty puffs were light and airy on the inside and crisp and crunchy on the outside, the Trader Joe’s version was chewy, with a soggy texture. Because of this one important difference, the win has to go to the brand-name Pirate Booty. 

WINNER: Pirate Booty

Takis ($3.89 / 9.9 oz.) vs. Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips (2.99 / 9.0 0z.)

Takis have been a favorite of teens for many years. Most buyers enjoy their bold and exciting flavors. Trader Joe’s noted their popularity and attempted to make their own version. The original Takis flaunt the words “chili and lime” on the package, but there is no lime to be found. The Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips were as advertised in the name, featuring prominent spice from the chili and a bright sour note from the lime which balanced out the flavors. I also enjoyed that the Trader Joe’s version didn’t have the prominent corn chip flavor. While both of these chips are delicious and snackable, the winner is Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips.

WINNER: Trader Joe’s Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips

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About the Contributor
Leila Holte
Leila Holte, Reporter
Leila is a junior this year. She is really excited to get to know everyone on the staff, and to be a part of something that is important and central to the Lincoln community. She loves writing reviews and other opinion pieces. Mostly, she loves getting to know other people and hearing their stories and opinions.
Contact by emailing [email protected] and put the reporter's name in the subject line.

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