When you shop private-label brands like Simple Truth at Kroger or Great Value at Walmart, you might wonder where manufacturers make those products. Does Kroger make Simple Truth items? Does Walmart have a factory that manufactures Great Value products?
These store brands compete with national name brands. But at Trader Joe’s, you won’t find any big-name brands on the labels. Instead, you’ll see Trader Joe’s private label.
So who makes Trader Joe’s products? The answer isn’t as easy to discover as you might think. Let’s dive in!
What Is Trader Joe’s?
Trader Joe’s is a national chain of grocery stores that began in 1967. However, you won’t find many name-brand products here. Instead, you’ll find everyday essentials and unique and exciting global products. Trader Joe’s is also different from other grocery store chains because the company doesn’t offer coupons, a loyalty program, or a membership card. All customers will find the best prices Trader Joe’s offers.
To keep prices down, Trader Joe’s focuses on buying directly from suppliers and buying in volume. The company also doesn’t charge supplier fees. Thus prices stay low. If a product isn’t cutting it, it goes away, making room for something new. Finally, Trader Joe’s doesn’t offer online shopping, delivery, or curbside pick-up. Customers must shop in stores. All these factors contribute to lower prices.
What Is Trader Joe’s Known for?
Sustainability is one factor that sets Trader Joe’s apart from other traditional grocery store chains. For example, the company uses renewable and recycled packaging materials and has increased the number of frozen entrees in a plastic tray with a compostable option. Trader Joe’s also composts organic materials instead of sending them to landfills.
People also know Trader Joe’s for its eclectic atmosphere. According to Forbes, “Trader Joe’s has artists at every location that hand-draw every price tag, which means over one million unique price tags all over the stores. You will find the name of the item and the price in big bubbly letters, but you will also get advice on how to consume it and/or a picture.” Whimsical shopping experiences lead customers to make Trader Joe’s their favorite hometown grocery store.
By offering natural and organic products at lower prices than their counterparts, Trader Joe’s locations keep business thriving. The unique selection also brings in foodies who want to try something different or want to put together a special date night dinner. Customers can pick up Korean beefless bulgogi or soy chorizo, or jicama wraps. You won’t find these food choices at your neighborhood Walmart.
Pro Tip: Be careful to not commit any of these 7 Deadly Sins of Trader Joe’s Shopping.
Who Makes Trader Joe’s Products?
According to SFGATE, a news site serving the San Francisco area, Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a warehouse where it stores aisles of food, and it doesn’t have a factory where it makes its products. Instead, it “sources items from companies specializing in generic products, and, in some cases, from well-known brands. Then they slap on the Trader Joe’s label.”
However, Trader Joe’s and big-name brand companies have their secrets. They don’t want customers to know what company makes what product. Trader Joe’s wants to gain customer loyalty to its brand, while big-name brand companies don’t want customers to know that their bag of peanuts is cheaper under the Trader Joe’s label.
Does Trader Joe’s Make Any of Their Own Products?
Trader Joe’s doesn’t have a factory where they make their products. According to Eater.com, “As a private brand, the California-based Trader Joe’s orders most of its products from third-party manufacturers (including giants like PepsiCo. and Snyder’s-Lance), which agree to sell some of their items under the Trader Joe’s label. Many of these brands sell the same or similar products under their names for a higher price. The catch is that Trader Joe’s and its suppliers all but swear to keep the agreement secret.” So as we mentioned above, the hush-hush business secrets of what companies make Trader Joe’s products continue to be a mystery.
However, due to recalls, it’s known that Wonderful Pistachios has supplied Trader Joe’s pistachios, Tribe Mediterranean Foods has provided Trader Joe’s hummus, and Naked has filled Trader Joe’s with beverages. You’ll also notice that the ingredient list for many products is the same as name-brand products. For example, Trader Joe’s gluten-free chocolate chip cookies have nearly identical ingredients as Tate’s Bake Shop cookies.
Does Trader Joe’s Source From China?
Trader Joe’s no longer carries single-ingredient products from China. However, the company has products with ingredients from China, like vitamins and minerals in many processed foods. Over the years, customers voiced concerns about products imported from China, and Trader Joe’s listened by removing them from its stores.
What Is the Most Popular Item at Trader Joe’s?
When you sort by popularity on its website, the most often purchased items at Trader Joe’s include Steamed Pork & Ginger Soup Dumplings, Mini Chocolate Mousse Desserts, Tteok Bok Ki, and an Instant Boba Kit. Popular beverages include Winter Wassail Punch, Non-Dairy Oat Creamer, Indian Pearl Mountain Small Lot Coffee, and Matcha Green Tea Powder.
The Kitchn ranks Trader Joe’s items and explains that the favorite entree is the Mandarin Orange Chicken. Unexpected Cheddar Cheese is the best cheese at Trader Joe’s, and customers’ favorite snack is the Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels.
Who Are Trader Joe’s Target Customers?
Trader Joe’s is targeting younger customers making over $80,000 a year. These college-educated customers are serious about making quality food choices and prefer natural and organic options over cheaper processed options. Trader Joe’s promises products free of artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated oils, and genetically modified ingredients.
Pro Tip: Does Trader Joe’s have the best pastries? We uncovered What National Grocery Store Has the Best Bakery?
Are Trader Joe’s Products Worth It?
If you want to purchase products with quality ingredients at lower prices than you might find at other grocery stores, shopping at Trader Joe’s is worth it. If you want inspiration for a new dish or to try ethnic food, Trader Joe’s has plenty of choices. There are locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia, so no matter where you are, you’ll likely have a Trader Joe’s near you.
Are you a faithful Trader Joe’s customer? Or are you now considering heading to your local store?
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