12 Trader Joe's Products Way Better Than the Name Brand Versions

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Inferior name brand alternative: Takis

Price: $2.49

Takis are a spicy, chili-flavored corn chip snack invented by Mexican snack giant Grupo Bimbo back in 1999, and while they apparently migrated to the U.S. market in the mid-aughts, I never encountered them until last year when my kids started begging for a bag after trying some at school. Cue a Taki obsession—they are now a bodega staple (at least in the northeast) and wildly popular (people even talk about going the extra mile, literally, to find the “blue” flavor, which tastes basically the same but is much hotter).

I was thrilled when Trader Joe’s introduced their own version earlier this year, especially after I tried them and discovered they have a far better, subtler flavor that the name brand, which hits you in the tongue with heat but lacks complexity. You can actually savor the hints of chili and lime in TJ’s variety, which still pack their own kick.

But my favorite part is that they aren’t nearly as coated in flavoring salt; you can’t eat Takis without turning your fingers a vibrant color and subsequently staining everything you touch, especially if you are a child living in my home. We usually buy six bags of these every time we hit up Trader Joe’s, and sometimes they last us the full two weeks between trips.

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