Saturday, March 19, 2016

Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Woven Wheats Wafers

This is the third time that Trader Joe's has left me confused about a lower-fat product--specifically, as to whether there is or is not a "regular" version available. See that banner below the main product name? "50% less fat than our original woven wheats." That would lead you to believe that you could find the original version alongside this one, right? But you can't. Or, at least, I can't. After having tried these crackers, I've looked for a "regular" version on half a dozen trips to TJ's. Nothing. Nor does Google find me any such past or current product. Google the specific phrase "original woven wheats," and the only TJ's-related links that come up are those that are quoting the copy from the box of this reduced-fat version.

I had similar issues with TJ's "Reduced Fat Cheese Puffs" boasting "fat has been reduced from 11g to 6g per serving," but with no original version to be found, and with TJ's "Baked Cheese Crunchies," claiming "33% less fat than regular cheese crunchies," a product which seems not to exist. Having no resolution to these mysteries, I will leave them aside.

There are some Trader Joe's products that are so obviously designed to resemble a better-known national brand that one can't escape using that other name in describing the knockoff. People are going to call the toaster pastries "Trader Joe's Pop-Tarts," no matter how much both TJ's and Kellogg's object. The aforementioned cheese puffs will be called "Trader Joe's Cheetos." Everybody calls Joe-Joe's cookies "Trader Joe's Oreos." And, similarly, these here crackers will universally be known as "Trader Joe's Triscuits." Because that's what they are. Or, more precisely, they're Trader Joe's Reduced Fat Triscuits. (See here for Huffington Post's head-to-head taste test. Verdict: Indistinguishable.)

The unfortunate first impression I got when the first cracker from this box hit my tongue was "stale." I had had them home for only about three days. We were months away from the "best by" date. I had detected no defect in the seal of the inner bag. I have no explanation for this, but it persisted through the entire box. I'm willing, for now, to assume that this was a one-off problem.

Ignoring the staleness factor, I liked these. Not as much as I like regular Triscuits, but I've never tried the reduced-fat Triscuits, so it's not really a fair comparison. I like the thickness and texture and how they fracture predictably along the lines. There is no better vehicle for cheese than Triscuits, and this TJ's product admirably replicates most of what is good about them.

I'm going to have to do my own taste test of these against both regular and reduced-fat Triscuits to see if my initial impression holds up. It will also give me a chance to see if the staleness was, in fact, limited to that one box.

Will I buy it again? 

Well, I have to now, don't I? Stay tuned for a follow-up report.


  1. For the past 2 months my TJ's has ONLY been carrying the regular and not the reduced fat. I'd post a pic but I'm unsure how to do that on here.

  2. Strange. I'll have to take another look around the cracker shelves at my store.