Friday, March 20, 2015

Trader Joe's Baconesque White Cheddar Popcorn

This is a brand-new product at Trader Joe's. On Tuesday I saw my first photo of it as somebody's excited new discovery on Twitter. I bought it Wednesday morning and tried it with Nina before dinner Wednesday evening. It's exactly the kind of madcap, whimsical, "who thought of THAT?" product that makes shopping at TJ's so much more fun than anywhere else.

They emphasize all over the package that there is no actual bacon in this product; hence the "-esque" in the name. It is safe for vegetarians, though not for vegans. The "bacon" is just smoke flavoring.

I liked this stuff. I liked it more than I expected to, frankly. I had thought that the idea of bacon flavoring on popcorn was going to be a mismatch. And I suppose it still might be--because I would argue that what's here is not bacon flavoring so much as smoke flavoring. I think that one is primed to experience it as bacon-y by the package labeling. It's very hard to accurately say what one would experience in a different state of mind, but my guess is that without such priming, in a blind taste test, the average consumer would identify this as more smoke than bacon.

That aside, however, it's quite tasty. The popcorn, white cheddar, and smoke/bacon all play nicely together on the taste buds. I don't think it's the bee's knees, or good enough to become the standard against which all popcorn is to be judged, or anything like that. But for an unusual, unexpected new treat, it's a hit with me. And my guess is that it's going to become wildly popular.

Will I buy it again? 

Yes. And I think I'll include it in my next care package to my family members who, sadly, live too far from a Trader Joe's to sample their products regularly.

Nina's View

Hmf. Baconesque flavored popcorn did not strike me as a good idea. And despite having hoovered down a substantial portion of this product, I'm still not sure it's a good idea.

I disagree with Bob that it takes mostly like smoke. I have a hearty dislike for faux smoke flavor, generally. This tastes like faux  bacon flavor, which I tolerate because it allows me to have things like vegetarian "bacon." No one is ever going to actually mistake it for the real thing, but it'll do for my purposes.

My first taste of the baconesque popcorn was sort of ick. But I kept plugging away (I'm noble like that), and pretty soon I had developed a taste for the stuff. Probably the thing I like least about it is the white cheddar powder component.

Yeah, go try some. You'll probably end up eating half the bag at a go like we did.

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