Hello. My name's Nathan, and I love Trader Joe's. My wife Sonia does too. She's a great shopper, has excellent taste and knows good value when she comes across it. As many of you know, Trader Joe's is unsurpassed in the world of good-value grocery stores, so we spend a lot of our time and money there. Although the store fairly consistently delivers great taste with its own unique line of food products, there are definitely some big-hits, and unfortunately, there are some misses...

After doing a couple of internet searches for reviews of TJ's food items, Sonia discerned an apparent dearth of good, quality reviews for the store's offerings. So, at her suggestion, we decided to embark on a journey of systematically reviewing every Trader Joe's product, resulting in the blog you are about to read...

A couple of months into our Trader Joe's rating adventure, an old college friend, Russ, who unbeknownst to me had been following our TJ's blog, decided that I had been slacking in my blogging duties (which, of course, I was) so he decided to contribute his own original TJ's reviews to the blog, thus enhancing it, making it more complete and adding to it a flavor of his own. He and his wife Sandy are also avid TJ's fans and, as you will soon discover, he is an excellent writer and is nearly as clever, witty and humble as I am.

Seriously though, Russ: You go, boy!

So here it is: "What's Good at Trader Joe's?"

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Trader Joe's Coconut Strips

In their tradition of excellent coconut products like PancakesCreamer, and Cooking Spray, Trader Joe's has offered us an inexpensive bag of snackable little sticks...er, strips. They're very similar to the "Coconut Chips" we checked out long ago, and they taste about the same too, except these puppies are thicker, firmer, and a tad more chewy. In fact, they're surprisingly tough in my opinion, and for that reason, I think the chips were a superior product. 

Sonia disagrees, stating that these slivers remind her a lot of sugar candy, but slightly more healthy. There are only three ingredients, the first two being coconut and cane sugar. So far, so good. But that third and final ingredient, sulfur dioxide, prompted a little Google research. I found statements ranging from "It's harmless" to "It will kill you" and everything in between. The general consensus, though, seemed to be "It depends on the dosage," which isn't particularly comforting, considering we don't really know the exact dosage we're getting in a small bag of coconut strips. I'm going to go ahead and assume there are only trace amounts of it present, because (A) I'm an optimist and (B) I'm still alive. Apparently, they need this delicious-sounding sulfur dioxide to keep the product fresh, as it is shipped all the way from Thailand. Not exactly "going local," but that's a whole 'nother can of worms... Just think of it like this: you're getting a sweet, exotic snack from half way around the world for less than $2. There's that characteristic optimism of mine again.

In summary, if sweet, firm, French fry-shaped coconut meat sounds tasty to you, check these out. Here's a little run-and-gun video review so you can see the product up close. Not sure why we even did one for this, other than it was an excuse to capture the beautiful snow, or maybe that "video whiz" comment from Russ went straight to my head—although I'm pretty sure the Shelly fam would do at least as well on camera as we do.

4.5 stars from Sonia. 3.5 stars from me.

Bottom line: 8 out of 10.


  1. It would be cool to dip these into chocolate and have it like Mounds strips. Then sprinkled with the coconut chips on top

    1. The chocolate dipped coconut strips would make an awesome gift. It just need a French fry container to make it look like fries.

  2. Coat them in cookie butter and THEN dip in chocolate. :) Dig the video review too!

  3. I chop it and bake it in my granola and have for years

  4. I love how you're doing the video in the snow ha I should buy these so I can pretend I'm on a tropical island eating coconut instead of in Michigan in the snow

    1. Exactly. Snow doesn't seem so cold if you're eating something tropical.

  5. Sulfur in the dried fruit helps preserve the softness, color, and flavor. They also use minimal amounts. As an employee we did a lot of comparison taste tests, for instance we have all sorts of dried mango, with and without sulfur. I found the sulfur ones to taste and look much better! More juicy and less tough.