Is Trader Joe’s Giving Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte a run for its money?

Trader Joe’s pumpkin flavored snacks food review


Sydney Stahlschmidt

Some of the pumpkin flavored items that Trader Joe’s is offering this fall season.

On Sept. 22, it officially became fall which starts off one of my favorite times and holidays of the year. I love celebrating all of the holidays and going all out for them with decorations, festive food, and seasonal activities.

 One thing that comes along with fall each year is something I always look forward to, the release of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks. After getting my first PSL(pumpkin spice latte), I had a great idea that I wanted to try out all different kinds of pumpkin spice treats and snacks to get me more into the Halloween and fall spirit. I immediately knew that Trader Joe’s would be the perfect place to find the perfect pumpkin pickings. 

My nearby Trader Joe’s was filled with all different kinds of pumpkin treats that immediately got me ready for the season. They had pumpkin everything and everywhere. Not only was there the typical pumpkin desserts, pies, and bread, but also pumpkin soup, snacks, and so much more. I didn’t even know where to begin.

After taking a lap around the store, I grabbed the most interesting looking pumpkin/pumpkin spice treats. I ended up getting pumpkin breakfast bars, chocolate pumpkins, pumpkin spice pretzels, pumpkin cinnamon rolls, pumpkin oatmeal, pumpkin cereal, and even pumpkin dog treats for my little furry friend at home. 


Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins:

The first treat that caught my eye were the chocolate mousse pumpkins which are made by the Trader Joe’s Brand. I was so excited to try these because they were little tiny pumpkin shaped desserts. However, I didn’t realize till I got home that they wouldn’t actually be pumpkin spice flavored but just shaped like pumpkins. However, I still think that the shape alone qualifies it for my rating. 

Obviously, my first thoughts are that the presentation is adorable and Trader Joe’s receives an A+ for presentation because it grabbed my attention immediately. However, while I was so excited to try these, it kind of let me down after the initial bite. The dessert is a chocolate cake treat with an upper layer of creamy, rich, chocolate, mousse and a bottom layer of light and fluffy chocolate cake. However, the mousse part was extremely rich so I couldn’t take more than a bite, let alone that the treats are bite sized already. 

Also, the snack had a soft outer shell that was also sweet. If you love your sugary desserts, this is definitely the thing for you because it was a sweetness overload that even I, with a major sweet tooth, couldn’t handle. I would say if you are a person that loves chocolate a lot and want something small and sweet, that you would probably enjoy this. While it isn’t anything special by any means and tastes just like a typical cupcake-like treat, it definitely earns a few points for the festivity of being shaped like pumpkins.

 In the end, I would probably give this pumpkin dessert a rating of 6/10 only because it was too sweet and didn’t have any special aspects that would make me want to buy it again. I also couldn’t get over my disappointment when I realized I made the mistake and they weren’t actually pumpkin flavored, so it was partially my fault. 


Pumpkin Spice Pretzel Slims:

I was extremely excited to try this next pumpkin snack. I love pretzel slims alone and eat them all the time. Therefore, when I saw that Trader Joe’s made pumpkin spice flavored pretzel slims, I knew I needed them and would probably love them as well.

Right when I opened the bag, the air around me filled with an amazing pumpkin spice scent that reminded me of Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie. The pretzel is entirely covered in an outer, almost icing-like, pumpkin flavored substance. The thing that I really enjoyed about this was that it wasn’t just a thin drizzle like most chocolate covered pretzels or popcorn but it was entirely coated. 

The taste of the pretzel was exactly what I was hoping for when I grabbed this snack. It was the perfect amount of sweet and pumpkin flavor without being too much sweetness too handle. It also has a nice crunch from the pretzel and the crumbled pumpkin seeds on the top of the treat. The first flavor is a good and not too artificial pumpkin with the salty after taste. It was a perfect balance of salty and sweet which is perfect for a person like me who can never decide if they want something sweet or salty. 

In the end, I would give this a rating of 10/10. It was definitely my favorite of the pumpkin snacks that I tried and I will definitely be reaching for these in my pantry throughout the fall season. 



Pumpkin Cereal Bars:

The pumpkin cereal bars is a treat that my mom had recommended to me because she has tried them in past years and told me she loved them. I had my hopes up because of this but it didn’t end up satisfying what I was hoping for. 

When I opened the cereal bar wrapper, it smelled just like apple Nutri-Grain bars I had ate when I was growing up. It had almost no pumpkin scent at all. Even the taste of the cereal bar also tasted kind of like apple pie more than the pumpkin flavor that it had prompted that it would taste like. 

I was in no way mad about the flavor because it actually tasted pretty good for a cereal bar. I was just a little disappointed in the fact that I was hoping for the pumpkin flavor and they didn’t deliver that aspect. It also isn’t a very strong flavor and isn’t too sweet for those who don’t like too much sweetness.

I would give this a rating of 6.5/10, only because it didn’t deliver the flavor that it had said it would on the box and wasn’t anything special. I think that people would enjoy this but I probably would not buy these again or reach for them in my pantry. 


Pecan Pumpkin Oatmeal:

I know that a lot of people don’t like oatmeal or don’t really eat it very often, but I like to eat it for breakfast all the time. I thought this could be a good morning breakfast to get my day started. However, that was not the case at all. 

First things first, it didn’t have a pumpkin smell at all compared to some of the other snacks. It smelled just like your typical oatmeal but worse. The first bite isn’t the worst thing in the world but isn’t amazing. The flavor isn’t very sweet and it has a really fake and artificial pumpkin flavor that I was not really fond of at all. However, I was still able to keep eating it. 

When I ate my second bite, the real flavor actually hit me. It was disgusting. Not to put it too harshly, while I liked the first bite decently, after my second, it was almost inedible. The artificial pecan and aftertaste in general is really unpleasant and doesn’t hit you immediately. The bad thing is that this flavor stayed in my mouth for a while after eating as well.

For my overall rating, I would probably give this a two or three out of ten. I definitely will not be eating this again. I thought that since I really enjoy oatmeal that this would be a nice and festive food but if I were you, I would just stick to your traditional oatmeal instead.



Pumpkin O’s Cereal:

I thought that this pumpkin cereal was super cute and was a good play on the traditional General Mills Cheerios but with a nice fall twist. I was really looking forward to trying this and I didn’t think that it would have any intense flavor that would be unappetizing because it is cereal.

When I poured it into the bowl, it smells a lot like pumpkin spice rather than real pumpkin flavor. When I tasted it, it gave me the similar very artificial flavor that the oatmeal gave me but way less intense. I wouldn’t say that the flavor was bad but it was just decent.

However, the worst part about this cereal was that it tasted like it had been sitting in my pantry for months and was extremely stale, even though I just opened the box that morning. It was extremely crunchy and chewy just like any typical and stale cereal. 

I think that I would probably rate this a 5/10 because the flavor alone isn’t bad but it isn’t amazing. The reason that I would take off the majority of the points is because of texture and almost stale feeling of the cereal.



Pumpkin Rolls:

I was really interested in trying Trader Joe’s pumpkin cinnamon rolls because I didn’t really know what to expect out of the flavor. Cinnamon rolls are traditionally really sweet and I didn’t know how the pumpkin would work with that flavor.

However, when the aroma from them cooking filled my house, it smelled just like the regular cinnamon rolls with a slight hint of pumpkin or even pumpkin pie spices. For the flavor, it actually was not too intense at all and very different than I was expecting. I actually enjoyed that it was not too sweet because cinnamon rolls can be too sweet to eat too many sometimes. This was not the case for these.

The flavor of the roll itself was very light and tasted just like a regular cinnamon roll but I didn’t taste much pumpkin in it. However, the icing had the majority of the pumpkin flavor but was again that kind of artificial taste that I wasn’t very fond of. I ate one with and one without icing and I think I would probably prefer it without icing but I still really liked the taste either way.

My final rating would be an 8/10. My only point deduction would be from the artificial pumpkin taste of the icing but other than that I would definitely make these again and it was a nice twist on traditional cinnamon rolls for fall. 



Pumpkin Dog Treats:

I was so happy with the whole selection of pumpkin items at Trader Joe’s. One of the things that made me the most excited was the inclusivity of dogs in the fall season and that they even made pumpkin treats for them. I love dogs so I knew that I had to get these for my dog at home to try.

The treats are shaped like little pumpkins and they smell really good actually. I almost wanted to try it myself they smelled so good but I didn’t. It reminded me of a sort of ginger snap cookie that I really like with a hint of pumpkin spice in the background. 

When it comes to flavor, I can’t really say what they tasted like but based on smell I’m assuming pretty good. Also, my dog may not be the best judge on the basis of a food review because she will eat anything that she can lay her eyes on but she seemed to love it and gobbled it down in one bite. She even kept walking by the box throughout the day, so it kept her wanting more and more.

I would give these treats a 10/10. I thought it was so fun and inclusive that Trader Joe’s would even make a festive treat for pets and it shows how much they care about the season just like holiday lovers such as me. I thought it was great that I could include my pet in something that I enjoy so much, food and the holidays.