The Big Change Made To Trader Joe's Hold The Cone! Ice Cream

Hold the Cone! ice cream is one of Trader Joe's (many) legendary desserts. Not only is it the mini dessert celebrity chef Ted Allen can't get enough of, but it was one of the stores' most popular products of 2022. And while the treat's popularity shows no signs of slowing down, it was a bit of a rocky road for Trader Joe's as they perfected the ice cream as we know it today.

Back in 2017, Trader Joe's made a major update to its cones. In an Instagram post, the chain explained, "The Cone is now crispier. The bittersweet chocolate that lines the Cone and covers the scoop is notably richer. The ice cream that goes inside is considerably creamier — with 40% less overrun (read: 'air') than most frozen novelty treats." Fans on social media appreciated the change, with one commenter writing, "Good job on the improvements. Not a single shattered cone anymore."

While these updates made a notable difference in the product, Trader Joe's made another behind-the-scenes change to Hold the Cone! that may have left an even bigger impact.

A switch in suppliers

The companies Trader Joe's gets its food from are notoriously a mystery. Plenty of people have guessed over the years, and some have hit the nail on the head — for example, Eater reported that La Boulangerie supplies Trader Joe's with frozen quiche lorraine and holiday cranberry twists. Other than Nancy Drew-esque discoveries like this, the chain is pretty tight-lipped about its sources, partly because it allows it to keep its prices down and drives brand loyalty (to the Trader Joe's brand, that is).

But when it comes to the beloved Hold the Cone! ice cream, Trader Joe's revealed on an episode of its Inside Trader Joe's podcast that the original supplier was a company in Germany; Matt Sloan, the "marketing product guy" discussing the desserts, claimed the German cones weren't as good as they are today. Not only was the product lower quality, but the supplier couldn't keep up with the demand from Trader Joe's stores, forcing the chain to switch its vendor to a company in the States. The new source has "better product, different ingredients ... the ice cream has egg in it here, which is a classic ice cream ingredient, but it makes them [have] that much fuller mouth feel, better flavor, texture," Sloan explained.

Considering Hold the Cone! ice cream's increasing success, it sounds like the switch was a major positive for Trader Joe's — but don't expect it to reveal its new source anytime soon.