trader joes coconut cream review

The other day we asked if anyone has used this coconut cream from Trader Joes.

We normally buy Native Forest organic canned coconut milk, but not all places sell it.

And Trader Joes usually only had the light version of coconut milk where we want the FULL fat version. Sometimes it is hard to find for us.

So we were happy to see this in the store.

But a little sad about the ingredients. As there is one ingredient that scares us.

Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose scares us. According to Wikipedia it says it is used in foods for a thickener. We read a few other articles on it, you can google it and read about it more.

We are not big fans of xanthan gum either, as we have noticed if we consume it a lot we get stomach issues. Therefore, we try to avoid xanthan gum and guar gum when possible but hard when buying things from the store like coconut milks. When we bake at home we no longer use the gums for that purpose, that is why sometimes our baked goods textures are different than most gluten free recipes. We do not use the gums anymore (plus save a little money by not buying those extra ingredients anymore).

We did like this coconut cream as it was thick and creamy. Tasted great in the few recipes we made with it.

We are not sure where we stand on it just yet. Obviously, we try to avoid any additives or foreign ingredients when possible.  We admit we are a little disappointed that they added this ingredient.  We know probably why they did…to make the best thick creamy coconut milk in a can.  Which they did, but at the cost of adding in this ingredient. Not sure if it is worth it.

A little sad now these days that so many chemicals and foreign ingredients are added to our foods. Really makes you think twice now.

What are your thoughts on Trader Joes coconut cream? What about the additional thickening agent Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose ? Thoughts? Would you still buy it if it is better than the other coconut milks on store shelves?



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46 Responses to trader joes coconut cream review

  1. katieDid says:

    I liked how thick it was also, but it was almost too dry for me. Other varieties are creamier/ smoother so I think i’ll be sticking with thai kitchen and native forest.
    katieDid recently posted..Bacon Wrapped Baked Apple SlicesMy Profile

  2. Great post, ladies! I know it’s really hard when you have digestive issues and also don’t want to sacrifice health for additives. <3

    I also am not a fan of additives because, like you, I believe they're not meant to and don't have to be there. Their purpose is valid but not necessary! I might be making a trip to Trader Joe's later so I'll be on the lookout for that. I am hesitant to purchase it too, though.
    Heather @ For the Love of Kale recently posted..J’adore la vie UpdateMy Profile

  3. Mariel says:

    yesssss i know what you mean!!! i hate all the extra added stuff you have to look up :(
    Mariel recently posted..Just-some-news :) My Profile

  4. I actually picked the can up off the shelf last weekend to read the ingredients (as I was thinking about buying it) and noticed that same ingredient. I had no idea what it was, so I decided to put it back down on the shelf. Usually, TJ’s seems to do a good job not putting wierd ingredients in their products, so I was a bit disappointed. :(
    Kim@hungryhealthygirl recently posted..Missing my old cup of Joe & WIAWMy Profile

  5. Coco says:

    I just saw this at TJs the other day and was excited until I saw that junk in there.. I opted not to get it, and stuck with the light version- at least its just coconut milk and water!
    Coco recently posted..While I’ve been goneMy Profile

  6. I’ve been staying away from the sketchy ingredients. I don’t feel that I need to be perfect–I’m not going to freak out if someone makes a dish that uses this product–but I don’t think I’d buy it to use myself.

    I actually talked about label reading at the seminar I gave on Monday. People were really surprised to learn about all those “scary” ingredients.
    Michelle @ Eat Move Balance recently posted..Caramelized Onion and Quinoa Stuffed MushroomsMy Profile

  7. yeah i only bought it once and while it was nice to have the full fat, i continue to buy their light version simply because it’s coconut milk & water only. i get plenty of healthy fats from other sources so i’m not sweating it much. i totally agree though that too many stabilizing agents etc are scary! i stopped using xanthan gum about a year ago, i just thicken my smoothies with fruit/ice. i definitely had gut troubles with both that and guar gum!

  8. Nicole says:

    thanks for the review! I’ve been wondering about this. And I agree, I hate that there are so many filler/fake/chemical ingredients in our food!
    Nicole recently posted..Need Fitness Motivation: Listen to Jillian Michaels Podcasts!My Profile

  9. kris says:

    i’m glad you pointed this out! – the extra ingredients definitely do scare me a bit. i’m not against using it, but i probably won’t be using it that often either. it’s sad that they have to add so many foreign ingredients in foods nowadays.
    kris recently posted..never forget.My Profile

  10. Interesting post! I recently bought this too and wasn’t the biggest fan! I’m totally fine with xanthan gum but I am with you on the sodium cellulose! Usually if I don’t know what an ingredient on a label is I try not to eat it! There’s so many scary chemicals in our food now!
    Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness recently posted..What I Ate WednesdayMy Profile

  11. I’m so not a fan of anything added that I can’t pronounce, it’s most likely to be a non-food that I just don’t want to consume. I don’t buy Udi’s breads for that very reason. It’s not necessary.

    I know that it’s such a small amount to be concerned about, but that little bit adds up very quickly. In my opinion it’s not worth it. There’s so many amazing products out there that I would rather support!
    Christa @ Edible Balance recently posted..Looking UpMy Profile

  12. Yet another thing I need to add to my TJ’s list. Wish it weren’t two hours away!
    Paige @ Your Trainer Paige recently posted..Online Personal Training Program Giveaway {Reader Appreciation}My Profile

  13. Mario says:

    Don’t have a TJ’s here in Canada, but I wouldn’t buy this one, even if I had the option.

    I’ve gone through every brand of coconut milk available in my area, and also try orher’s if/when I travel. A lot of the brands have been mentioned in other comments, and the best one I’ve decided on is the Native Forest. It’s organic, BPA free can, tastes the best, has the best/smoothest consistency… The only way it could get any better is if it was available in a glass jar…


  14. Lisa says:

    We don’t have a Trader Joe’s here, but I dislike the added ingredients too. I mean, why is it too complex to make coconut milk with simply coconut milk in the ingredients? Its mind boggling. I’m glad in Canada we still have pretty strict rules with our foods and how they are processed, so I hope we don’t start getting dairy products and meats and such that they sell in the states with all the added hormones. Thanks for the review!
    Lisa recently posted..Kabocha Crazed and RestMy Profile

  15. Glad you girls posted this. I am definitely not a fan of either. TJ’s sometimes has shady ingredients and things going on. It’s a cheaper place than Whole Foods, but sometimes you get what you pay for!
    Laury@TheFitnessDish recently posted..Warming Grain-Free Breakfast PorridgeMy Profile

  16. Laura says:

    Ladies…it’s time to start making your own coconut milk and coconut kefir! It’s so easy and not only will you save money but it will be fresh, organic and you won’t have to wonder what’s in it! Check out the video’s on the where she shows you how to make both! Coconut kefir is yummy!
    Laura recently posted..Recycled Toilet Paper Not Such a Great Idea After AllMy Profile

    • purelytwins says:

      Laura thanks for sharing the link, although we have made our own coconut kefir before! even have a video making it, but using frozen coconut meat would be great. But we do not always have access to fresh coconuts nor frozen meat, so sometimes it is nice to have a nice canned option, although TJ does not have that.

  17. I don’t know about the full fat, but I tried the low fat tonight and was pretty disappointed. There’s no replacing the real-deal!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Taming a Sweet Tooth + WIAWMy Profile

  18. Miz says:

    mannnn we need a TJs in the ATX.
    Miz recently posted..Standing on my head changed my life.My Profile

  19. I saw the coconut cream last time I was at Trader Joe’s and I want to try it out but I am a little disappointed by the ingredients too. I hate that companies will add all kinds of crazy ingredients into food just for the sake of color/texture.
    Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans recently posted..Three Breakfasts {WIAW}My Profile

  20. I continually am on the lookout for great coconut milk, in the can and frozen with the least ingredients,but tastes great and for a great price!! I think I am asking too much. With more ingredients it costs less, with less ingredients it costs more.

    I am super allergic to corn and other foods, so I def would not buy the TJ new coconut milk cuz Sodium carboxymethyl cellulose usually derived from corn.

  21. anne says:

    I thought it was the greatest thing and bought a case, then my family all started getting headaches. Bad ingredient!

  22. Misty says:

    I’m not an expert, but I don’t think the TJ’s Coconut Cream is meant to be used as coconut milk. I bought it to make vegan frosting and whipped cream. As a replacement for the butter and heavy cream usually used in those recipes. I also have bought coconut MILK… Both the light versions and full fat versions. If left in the fridge, the full fat version will separate and the “cream” will rise to the top….which is what I BELIEVE this product is meant to be… It is so thick and more like shortening or butter than milk. I think the stabilizers are there for baking… Might be wrong. I love the stuff! 100 times better for you than butter or shortening!

  23. Gail Wheeler says:

    Well, I just got 5 cans at TJ’s today as I drove through Ft Worth, TX on my way back to West Texas. I got a isi Mini Easy Whip at Williams & Sonoma this weekend and an going to make Homemade Ready-Whip from Can’t wait!!!!
    Just wish we had a TJ’S out here in West Texas. Then I wouldn’t have to drive 2 hours to go to the store.

  24. Karen says:

    I’m a little late to the party on your post, but I just stumbled across it and followed your Wiki link about the mystery ingredient. One thing really caught my eye-it’s hypoallergenic *unless you are allergic to wheat*!!! Guessing this isn’t for the gluten-free crowd! If you couldn’t put it on your skin if you’re allergic to wheat, you probably wouldn’t want to ingest it!

  25. RitaC says:

    This additive is just an innocent polysaccharide derived from wood. Without it, you’d just have a piece of coconut oil floating in water. But that would be so “natural”, right?

  26. Amber says:

    I would not buy it because of this ingredient. I like to buy my coconut products at the Earth Fare, because they are really strict about what foods they will carry (no artificial chemicals). I like Trader Joes too, but you have to watch out for stuff like this.

  27. Andi says:

    Did anyone else notice the weird smell? I’m trying it out today. Noticed a distinct smell when I opened the can and stirred it up. It’s not an “it’s gone bad” smell just a noticeable smell I wouldn’t expect to smell from coconut creme.

  28. Kristi says:

    I had just finished looking up this “scary” ingredient when I happened across your post. I learned that, “Sodium carboxymethyl is derived from natural cellulose treated with chloroacetic acid” ( I wondered what chloroacetic acid is and a search led me to this, “Exposure to chloroacetic acid is most likely to occur in the workplace. Acute (short-term) inhalation or dermal exposure may irritate or cause severe damage to the skin, eyes, respiratory tract, and mucous membranes and cause depression of the central nervous system in humans” (

    Umm, no thanks. I’ll pass.

    • purelytwins says:

      THanks Kristi to looking into further

    • purelytwins says:

      Thanks Kristi for looking into it further. We do not eat it.

    • Tammi says:

      This makes me SO glad I went with my instincts and didn’t consume any. I checked many other labels at the store but didn’t think to check this one. I’ve had the can in my pantry for a few months, very hesitant to even open it. There’s probably also a reason it’s good until 2015.

  29. Elmer says:

    As usual, really enlightening and beneficial post on trader joes coconut cream review |
    Thank you…
    Elmer recently posted..ElmerMy Profile

  30. hd says:

    I grabbed 4 at TJ’s. I normally read every single ingredient but I figured it only contained coconuts. What a huge disappointment. I’m going to return them for the light version.

    Thank you for all of your research and sharing other brands that don’t contain harmful ingredients!

    H :)

  31. Tamara martin says:

    Sodium carboxylate methyl cellulose is not a harful ingredient. I study chemistry and all it is a cellulose fiber extracted from cotton.

  32. Sheri B. says:

    Picked this up without reading the ingredients and was actually horrified when I got it home and took a gander at the label, sounds more like a science experiment than a food product, its going back to the store.

  33. Irene says:

    Yucky taste too. Like thick coconut wax! Besides, the ingredients are really disappointing. Back to Native Forest for me.

  34. Sherry says:

    I just recently purchased the coconut cream to use in a frozen Banana pinacolada homemade ice cream. It was really good, however, I will be looking for one without the added ingredients if possible.

  35. Sherry says:

    Oh, and for anyone really concerned about ingredients in all consumer products out there check on environmental working group website. What a great resource.

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