Trader Joe's Fans Are Divided On Its Mexican Style Hot Cocoa Bombs

The holiday season sees several beloved beverages return to our favorite coffee shops, but believe it or not, the most popular sip of the season contains no traces of peppermint, eggnog, or even coffee. According to a YouGov survey from 2020, hot chocolate is actually America's favorite winter drink — and that's not all. Interestingly enough, the warm beverage is also a crowd-pleaser during the fall, so much so that a 2020 One Poll survey found drinking hot chocolate to be America's third-favorite thing about the season, behind enjoying the changing leaves and cooler weather (via Study Finds). Meanwhile, sipping pumpkin spice-flavored beverages came in at the number-14 spot on the list, possibly indicating that those pumpkin spice lattes aren't quite as popular as we all thought.

Considering the season-transcending love Americans have for hot chocolate, it's not too surprising that Trader Joe's is offering a special, fall-themed version of the sweet drink to customers this year. Spotted recently by Instagram user @trader_joes_treasure_hunt, the chain is selling $4.99 packs of pumpkin-shaped Mexican-style hot cocoa melts, which consist of four "cinnamon-flavored white chocolate confections filled with milk chocolate drops and marshmallows." After a soak in a hot cup of milk (or any other non-dairy beverage), they're ready to be enjoyed. Though the pumpkins sound like an easy way to get a single-serving hot chocolate fix this fall, it seems that not everyone is planning to pick up a pack on their next TJ's run.

Some shoppers are concerned about the ingredients in these Mexican-style cocoa melts

Trader Joe's fan Instagram account @trader_joes_treasure_hunt caused a bit of a stir among their followers last week after they spotted the grocer's new Mexican-style hot cocoa melts. The Instagrammer's September 22 post about the seasonal treat garnered several comments, including one from user @vielamagiaconnnori, who said they would be going to Trader Joe's that very day to pick up a pack. "That sounds great! Luv me some hot cocoa bombs, so fun," user @food4thought_withdenise wrote, while others gushed over how cute the pumpkin-shaped cocoa bombs are.

Overall, the Instagrammer's followers seemed to have positive things to say about the product. However, when Instagram user @traderjoeslist gave the hot chocolate bombs the spotlight on their page this week, the response wasn't exactly the same. Though there was still a considerable amount of excitement about the seasonal goodie, some shoppers expressed concerns about the ingredients in the pumpkins. "19g added sugar. No thank you lol," user @anna_mollyy wrote. "I SURE wish TJs would stop putting unnecessary wheat in these things that should be gluten-free ugh," another TJ's fan wrote, while others were concerned about the use of pork gelatin in the treats.

As VegFAQs explains, most marshmallows contain gelatin derived from pork, which may explain its use in these Mexican-style hot cocoa melts. However, that also makes these treats non-vegan, so those following a plant-based diet will want to avoid adding them to their carts.