Cross your cat off your Christmas list! Though Trader Joe’s might not seem like a hot destination for holiday gifts, in addition to selling various food and household goods, the chain also stocks several specialty items intended for “non-humans.”
One such product is the recently announced advent calendar for cats, which made its debut on a recent episode of “Inside Trader Joe’s,” the company’s podcast that gives consumers a behind-the-scenes look at the California-based brand. The podcast was broadcast in front of an audience from the chain’s annual captains meeting (a.k.a. a yearly conference with store managers) that was held in New York City last month.
According to TJ’s vice president of merchandising, Colin Fields, the cat calendar was created as a result of consumer demand after a similar product hit shelves in 2018. “Last year we came out with the dog advent calendar, which seemed pretty odd until we got out in the stores and there was quite a following for it,” Fields explained.
“We heard from our feline-loving customers that we should have something for their cats,” he added of the new holiday-themed item. “So we found it, we developed it and it’s pretty cool.”
Like advent calendars for humans, this one includes little treats meant to be enjoyed through the month leading up to Christmas on December 25. However, instead of chocolate, cheese or another food item typically liked by humans, this fun countdown is stocked with what Fields calls “magical treats” made of salmon and seaweed.
Trader Joe’s vice president of product marketing, Matt Sloan, was so intrigued by the product that he tasted one of the morsels on stage. Though Sloan deemed the eats “not good,” he also made the astute observation that, as a human, he’s not part of this product’s intended demographic.
“But if you’re a cat, you’ll really like that,” Fields said of the fish-flavored food.
Fields also noted that, as is the case with many advent calendars, the surprises get better as Christmas approaches. Apparently the gift on day 25 (a.k.a. Christmas) is a “gigantic” treat that is “shaped like a fish.”
Those without cats will be pleased to note that Trader Joe’s upcoming slate of products also includes some items made specifically for people, too, such as chocolate gnocchi that was inspired by a similar product from Harrod’s in London, and a pumpkin spice face mask with a distinct fall scent.
Though none of the Trader Joe’s higher-ups indicated exactly when these items would debut in stores across the country, it’s safe to assume they will be available in the coming weeks.
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