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Pumpkin Pass or Pumpkin Smash? The best (and worst) of Trader Joe’s specialty fall items

Avery Michalowski ’26

I love fall, and I love food. So naturally, I ran to Trader Joe’s when they released their specialty fall items. I was definitely overwhelmed when I walked into the store and was met with bright orange items in every direction screaming “PUMPKIN SPICE!” But, nevertheless, I did the very challenging task of picking a few items to review and here is what I have decided…

*I would like to preface that I am a pumpkin spice lover and therefore I have very high expectations. I will be rating the foods based on packaging, taste and an overall total.

Trader Joe’s specialty fall Pumpkin Brioche Twist (Graphic by Avery Michalowski ’26)


Pumpkin Brioche Twist–5/10

Packaging: 7/10 – I like this packaging a lot! It is really cute and simple yet still has that vintage, fall feel with the main font and pumpkins. I like how it still looks like a classic Trader Joe’s product but is a little more fun.

Taste: 4/10 – I am a little disappointed with the taste. The brioche is good as a bread, nice texture and sweet taste but for a product that is marketed as a pumpkin brioche, it doesn’t have any significant pumpkin taste. If anything, it is more common than pumpkin. The only thing that makes it pumpkin is the orange coloring of the bread. It is a good brioche overall, but I would not recommend it if you are looking for a true pumpkin product.

The best pumpkin ice cream you will ever have! (Graphic by Avery Michalowski ’26)





Pumpkin Ice Cream–9/10

Packaging: 8/10 – This packaging is pretty cute. It is kind of basic, nothing fancy but the orange theme carried throughout the tub definitely makes you think of fall and pumpkins. It does a good job of showing the product.

Taste: 9/10 – This ice cream is sooo good. I didn’t know what to expect because I had never had pumpkin ice cream before, but it is the perfect representation of a pumpkin pie in ice cream form. I liked it because it didn’t taste too fake (which is a problem a lot of pumpkin flavored things have) nor too sickly sweet. I definitely recommend trying this next time you go to Trader Joes.

Pumpkin Oat Beverage–4.7/10

Packaging: 5/10 – Nice, but similar to the original Trader Joe’s Oat Beverage packaging. I like the drawing style of the pumpkins and glass. The only issue is that the packaging is basically the same as the plain oat milk so it is hard to tell apart.

Taste: 4.5/10 – I really wanted to like this but it isn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It tasted very fake and had a thicker consistency than most oat milks I like. I am also not sure how well it would pair in drinks like coffee and matcha, which is how I normally use oat milk. Honestly, if you’re trying to decide if it is worth the try, I would skip it.

I wish the packaging for this cream cheese was better because the product itself is so good! Overall, it is just not very original or creative. There is not even a pumpkin in the container. It is a little too simple in my opinion and doesn’t scream “fall”.

— Avery Michalowski '26

Pumpkin Cream Cheese 8/10

Packaging: 5.5/10 – I wish the packaging for this cream cheese was better because the product itself is so good! Overall, it is just not very original or creative. There is not even a pumpkin in the container. It is a little too simple in my opinion and doesn’t scream “fall”. A little too boring for me.

Taste: 8.5/10 – I love this cream cheese. It is so flavourful with pumpkin but still resembles the taste of cream cheese. It would be so good on a bagel for that extra fall touch. It tastes like a pumpkin pie and is the perfect cream cheese consistency, not too thick and easy to spread. I definitely will be repurchasing.

Pumpkin Waffles – 7/10

Packaging: 8/10 – I think this packaging is really cute, it has an aesthetically pleasing warm color pallet that reminds me of a brisk fall day. It shows the product well and has a very classic look without being boring.

Taste: Pretty good! These waffles have a very good consistency and are easy to warm up in the toaster. The flavor is more of a hint of pumpkin rather than being powerful. It could have more flavor but I think it works. I would recommend trying this product as long as you’re not expecting a lot of pumpkin flavor. Overall, a good waffle that would pair well with greek yogurt or syrup.

Cinnamon Roll Drizzled Granola – 7/10

Packaging: 8/10 – Nice packaging that shows the product accurately. I like the fact that it includes a photo of the product and drawings of cinnamon rolls. The font is cute and overall the whole bag looks super cohesive and carries the same vibe throughout.

Taste: 6/10 – I see how a lot of people would like this but for me it is a little too sweet. I prefer simpler granola and this product to me tastes like a cookie. It would be a great sweet treat with yogurt or even as a cereal, but maybe a little too much sugar for breakfast. It does have a very good flavor with a lot of spices and cinnamon. Good depiction of a cinnamon roll in granola form.

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About the Contributor
Avery Michalowski ’26
Avery Michalowski ’26, Assistant Creative Director
Assistant Creative Director Avery Michalowski ’26 channels her artistry in both the classroom and the dance studio.  She embarked on her Inklings journey after being inspired by her older sister’s recommendation. “My sister took Intro to Journalism and Advanced Journalism. She loved it and always told stories about it, so I found it appealing,” Michalowski said. Alongside her dedication to journalism, Michalowski remains a committed dancer with a particular love for ballet. “{Dancing} takes up a lot of my time,” Michalowski said. “It will definitely be hard to balance school, Inklings and dancing, but I am ready for the challenge.”

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