We Need the Seeds

So many other buns are just bad.

Trader Joe’s is a different kind of grocery store. They stock only a tenth of the items a larger grocery store offers, and carry almost exclusively their own branded products. As a result, the company frequently discontinues products, providing the shelf space to new items. If you shop at Trader Joe’s long enough, the company will eventually break your heart.

I first experienced this with the company’s “Reduced Guilt Wheat Crisps”. The name of those crackers always made me laugh, because they imply that you should still have some guilt. But less! I frequently snacked on these Wheat Thin-esque crackers with cheese, and I was greatly disappointed when they were discontinued.

As I wrote back in February, they recently reformulated their hamburger buns in an unfortunate way, by stripping the sesame seeds. Since then, I’ve sought out a decent replacement at other stores, but it’s been rough sledding. There aren’t a lot of options, and what’s out there is often too small or just otherwise not great.

This past weekend, while commiserating about lousy substitutes with my pal Amy, I stumbled upon the Trader Joe’s “Discontinued Product Feedback” form. I took a few minutes to express my hope for the return of sesame seeds:

Hi folks,

Recently, you removed the sesame seeds from your excellent hamburger buns. I believe I understand why, as sesame is now included among the top allergens. It’s commendable to have altered the product to accommodate allergic customers.

But these new, naked buns? They’re charmless! They’re simply not as good. We need the seeds!

Is there any chance we could see a return of sesame seeds? Perhaps you could have both seeded and seedless varieties.

The form makes it clear one shouldn’t get their hopes up on anything returning to the shelves, with the top text including the phrase “We make no guarantees”. Further, after submitting, that message is reinforced:

A note reading: “We do not enter into the decision to discontinue a product lightly. We understand that it can be disappointing - we are Trader Joe's customers too, after all. However, we want you to know that we take customer requests into account when we develop new products or revisit old favorites. We appreciate you taking the time to share this valuable feedback with us.”

Still, perhaps with enough people submitting feedback, a change might come. If you like a solid sesame seed bun for your home burger needs, you too can submit feedback to Trader Joe’s. Just tell them “We need the seeds!”.