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Trader Joe’s Triple Berry-NOs

Does that bowl match the packaging?

Serious fail here, TJ’s. You know I love you, so much that if you were a publicly held company I’d buy stock, but this is a major disappointment.

A little back-story: Harry’s been driving us bananas lately, insisting he no longer likes foods that were among his favorites just the day before. (See, even when we’re winning the war on one front, he opens up a new one). So things like Trader Joe’s frozen mini-meatballs, hamburgers, and Cheerios are now in his no-fly zone. I’ll say it again: My son is a weirdo.

The Cheerios thing has made breakfast difficult. We have yet to find a cereal he actually likes, since I refuse to bring anything that’s junk food masquerading as nutrition into my home. We tried Kix, which he’ll occasionally deign to eat but mostly refuses. We tried Life, which he was initially happy about since one of his classmates brings it in as a snack, but he didn’t like those, either. Barbara’s Puffins? Nope, even with the cute little creature on the package.

So when I saw these Triple Berry-Os on the shelf at Trader Joe’s yesterday, I grabbed a box. Scanned the nutrition facts, which are acceptable (7 grams of sugar, which I figured was at least in part made up by the natural sugars in the abundant-on-the-box freeze-dried fruit). Brought them home to the boy, who greeted them with great excitement: TJ’s freeze dried fruits are among his favorite snacks, still. (And yes, they’re processed, but like I’ve said before I’m OK with that, sometimes.) He couldn’t wait to try them this morning, especially since the box promised raspberries and TJ’s doesn’t sell freeze-dried raspberries separately.

But when we opened the box, disappointment set in. I do believe this is the first time a Trader Joe’s product has let me down so completely. I mean, look at that bowl! It has maybe three pieces of fruit in it. Now look at the bowl on the box, which is absolutely bursting with colorful tidbits. Harry’s bowl had exactly one raspberry in it, and when I pulled the bag out of the box to search for more, I found just two. In the entire package. Clearly, those 7 grams of sugar come from the Os themselves, which the box says are “honey oat Os” but are in reality sugar-coated.

We wound up pulling out a package of freeze-dried strawberries, just to make Harry’s bowl look a little more like the box. Dude was sad. And then angry. Honestly, I was kinda proud of his reaction—he understood that this was advertising, and false advertising at that.

Not cool, Trader Joe’s. So not cool.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. molly

    Love the side-by-side picture! Scandalous!
    On a practical note… In my own food craziness I basically decided that cereal in general is amazingly processed (except granola, I guess) even when lots of crap isn't added in (as I said, I'm nuts). I've switched the family to oatmeal most mornings to everyone's satisfaction. Plus a few mornings of omelets or pancakes. Just throwing it out there….

  2. debbie koenig

    Yeah, Molly, I try to do oatmeal regularly, too, and frozen waffles (which are just as processed, but…). Sometimes toast & cream cheese. But nothing is as fast as cold cereal!

  3. Carrie

    I am so with you on this. My son Desmond loves to look at cereal boxes with fruit on them, and he always wants to pick the freeze dried fruit out of it. Annoying! You should tell them.

    Cold cereal is really fast; I agree. And as for Harry going on strike about other foods, I think this is normal; either that or all of our children are weird! At least in my house I've seen evidence of this. Miles went thru a phase where he refused to eat things like bananas or other things he'd eaten the day before or week before. Kids, man. They keep ya hoppin!

  4. Julie

    I don't live near a Trader Joe's, but that looks like a cereal I would have picked up to try. As a kid, I was all about the junk cereals, but as an adult, I had settled into that middle ground of cereal-land… not quite sugar-bombs, but not quite bran flakes. I maintained a consistent rotation of those cereals until very recently, when my 1 year old daughter started taking bites from my bowl. I knew that if I didn't want her to be eating the junk, I couldn't be eating the junk either. I've recently been trying the (kinda expensive) Kashi cereals, and my current favorite isn't the healthiest of their options, but it's a nice treat. I thought of it as soon as I read this post because it has a TON of berries. More berries than cereal, even. A pleasant surprise.

  5. debbie koenig

    @Carrie, thanks for the reassurance 😉

    @Julie, I almost bought that cereal when I came across it! The fiber-to-sugar ratio was a little too high for me (1g/9g, vs 3g/7g for the Berry-Os and 3g/1g for Cheerios). Why couldn't we just live in the 70s, when sugared cereal was a god-given right of childhood? It's so hard to buy something that doesn't feel wrong!

  6. Geeia

    I came across this blog as I was looking for information on this cereal. I bought this yesterday and guess what??? THERE WERE NO FREEZE DRIED ANYTHING – NOTHING NADA NO! Just O’s! Very deceptive and very annoying! Boo Trader Joes O’s!

    1. Debbie Koenig

      Geela, that is NOT COOL. Did you bring it back to the store? I wonder if maybe the box was somehow mislabeled–that just seems so extreme.

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