(KTLA/NEXSTAR) – For the second year in a row, the big winner at the Trader Joe’s “Customer Choice Awards” has imparted the festivities with the faint odor of chili-lime seasoning.
The honorees of the 15th annual “awards” — which are determined not by sales, but rather by an online poll at TraderJoes.com — include many of the snacks, drinks and toiletries that shoppers probably already have in their carts. The top honoree might not come as much of a surprise either, especially considering its dominance in last year’s ranking.
That product? Chili & Lime-Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips.
The chips, first introduced in 2018, were voted as the “No. 1 Overall” item at Trader Joe’s in the online poll, but they also ranked as the “No. 1 Snack” in the Snack category, according to Trader Joe’s.
The same product was also voted as the top item in both categories of the 2023 rankings as well.
The tortilla chips, which appear similar to Takis, are described by Trader Joe’s as “spicy, ire-zest-tible little scrolls made from stone ground corn masa.” TJ’s also alleges that its chips are “crispier” than “similar snacks elsewhere” while also suggesting the use of artificial colors in competing brands, according to its product description.
Runners-up in the best “Overall” category include Steamed Chicken Soup Dumplings, Kimbap, Steamed Pork & Ginger Soup Dumplings and Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, in that order.
Winners in other categories included Hashbrowns (in the Breakfast & Lunch category), Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Dip (in the Appetizer category) and Sublime Ice Cream Sandwiches (in the Sweet Treat category). A full list of winners and runners-up can be found on the Trader Joe’s website.
Trader Joe’s, meanwhile, could not confirm the actual top-selling items in each product category.
“We don’t share sales data or look at sales data to compile the list of Customer Choice Award winners,” a representative told Nexstar.
As Trader Joe’s also explains, five of the store’s well-loved products are outright excluded from consideration for a Customer Choice Award solely because they had repeatedly swept a category at least five times in previous years.
“As the years have gone on, some products have so consistently won in their category (or even multiple categories) that we felt the time was right to take them out of contention, so that other products might get their turn in the spotlight,” the company writes.
Those items, which are currently listed in the company’s Product Hall of Fame, are Mandarin Orange Chicken, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Peanut Butter Filled Pretzel Nuggets, Unexpected Cheddar and Soy Chorizo.
A sixth item — bananas — will also be excluded from the running in future Customer Choice Awards, having become a five-time winner of the “No. 1 Produce” award in this year’s rankings.