Trader Joe’s Innovates with Everything But The Elote

Throughout Mexico and in cities across the U.S., street vendors sell mouthwatering, well-seasoned corn on the cob known as Elote. While the fixins may vary some from vendor to vendor, elote typically comes slathered in mayo or crema, rolled in grated Parmesan or cotija cheese, dusted with chili powder, and squirted with lime juice. As anyone who grew up visiting the neighborhood elotero or making elote at home can tell you, it’s a highly crave-able combination of flavors that leaves a life-long impression.

Elotes are already pretty darn portable (they’re usually served on sticks), but last year, Trader Joe’s upped the ante on port-elote-ability with Trader Joe’s Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers. Suddenly, customers could enjoy all of that corny, creamy, spiced elote goodness… in a chip! Which got Trader Joe’s private brand product developers thinking… What other foods could use an elote infusion? Then, like an Everything Bagel in the mist, innovation revealed itself: let folks decide for themselves when & how to add the elote!

In the spirit of their iconic Everything But the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend that came before it, Trader Joe’s Everything But the Elote Seasoning Blend is “Everything” you might find on elote—chile pepper, Parmesan cheese, chipotle powder, cumin, dried cilantro, sea salt, etc.—minus the corn itself. (They also add some corn flour & cane sugar, so there’s really no mistaking what it’s meant to mimic.)

Trader Joe’s Everything But the Elote Seasoning Blend is available in the spice section, for $2.49 per 2.3-ounce jar.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.