ARDMORE, PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED STATES - 2014/07/12: Exterior of Trader Joe's specialty food store. (Photo by John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
How Trader Joe's Knew Its Mandarin Orange Chicken Would Be A Hit
Trader Joe's popularity is owed to their signature products that are high-quality and affordable, and Matt Sloan, TJ's VP of marketing products, says that all the brand's food, drinks, and even dog treats go through a rigorous tasting panel. You can probably guess what kind of rating their fan-favorite Mandarin Orange Chicken received.
Not every TJ's product earns the approval of the panel right away, such as Joe-Joe's cookies flavored with cinnamon toast, which tasters said had a too-strong punch of cinnamon. However, in a 2018 TJ's podcast, Tara Miller said that Mandarin Orange Chicken won the hearts of every panelist during its taste test sixteen years prior.
Since then, the convenient frozen product has taken the top spot for nine consecutive Customer Choice Awards surveys at Trader Joe's. The chicken is moist, crispy, and enhanced by the house-made sauce with umami and saltiness from soy sauce, brightness from California orange peels, as well as garlic, ginger, and green onions.