If you know me, you know I love Trader Joe’s. I’ve been a loyal consumer/enthusiast since the store arrived in Des Moines back in 2010. In fact, when I started my blog, I knew right away that I wanted to incorporate Trader Joe’s-related content on both my blog and Instagram.
So, what’s with all the fuss about Trader Joe’s? Well, Trader Joe’s isn’t your typical grocery store. It’s a fun grocery store! If you’re not familiar with the wildly popular friendly neighborhood grocer, then this post will help explain what all the hype is about and if you’re already an avid Trader Joe’s fan like I am, then hopefully you’ll still learn something you didn’t know before about our mothership, haha!
1. The price is right. Let’s start off with the reason most people cite. The prices are very reasonable and they rarely ever change. At least 80 percent of Trader Joe’s products are store-brand, or private label. The main reason prices are so low is because whenever possible, they buy their products directly from suppliers. By doing this, there’s no middleman markup in the supply chain and thus, more savings for customers.
2. The unique, innovative and high-quality products. Cauliflower gnocchi? Iconic. Cookie butter? Delectable. Everything But the Bagel seasoning? Sprinkle it on your avocado toast or it didn’t happen. But seriously, Trader Joe’s has a wide array of unique products and along with their fair prices, it’s one of the top reasons people love Trader Joe’s.
3. The employees are super nice. It’s the friendly employees for me. Like BFF friendly. It’s probably more likely that I’ll win the lottery than not get asked: “How’s your day going so far?” or “What are your plans for the rest of the day.” Also, whenever I buy something for our dog, I’ll get the inevitable “What kind of dog do you have?”
4. The neighborhood market vibe. There’s just something so nice and non-overwhelming about going into a small specialty grocery store, as opposed to a large traditional one. (I’m sure I would feel different about this if I lived in a much larger city. I’ve seen those jaw-dropping lines and overflowing parking lots!)
5. The marketing/design is on point. The store gives off such a fun, whimsical and welcoming vibe. I love the nautical theme and the Hawaiian shirts the crew members (employees) and captains (managers) wear. The murals and artwork are beautiful and feature local landscapes and landmarks. The product names and packaging are super creative. And the hand hand-drawn lettering on signage and shelf tags really add a personal touch.
6. They carry lots of healthy options. While I think there can be a misconception that everything Trader Joe’s carries is healthy, there’s no denying they have a lot of healthy options. (I’ve heard it called “the budget version of Whole Foods”). Trader Joe’s offers a large number of organic products and they state that all of their private label products are free of artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, synthetic colors and genetically modified ingredients.
7. There’s something for every diet. Trader Joe’s does a great job of accommodating virtually every diet – keto, carnivore, vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, kosher, etc.
8. You can try before you buy. If you want to taste anything in the store, let an employee know and they’ll open the product and let you sample it. (Note: I don’t think this is currently in effect during COVID-19).
9. They have a great return policy. If you purchase something, try it and decide you don’t like it, you can return it for a full refund.
10. There’s something for the kids. Did you know there are free stickers for kids at the cash register? Also, in many stores, there’s a stuffed animal and/or plastic lobster hidden somewhere in the store. Kids who find it get a treat, typically a lollipop. This is such a cool idea to keep kids entertained while shopping!
11. You can win a gift card for going green. In many stores, if you bring your own bag(s), you can enter to win a weekly raffle for a $25 Trader Joe’s gift card. (Note: Many Trader Joe’s stores are not allowing customers to bring in their own bags right now due to COVID-19).
12. They give back to the community. The company donates products to local food banks and has a partnership with Feeding America.
13. The seasonal items. Trader Joe’s really shines during the holiday season from September through December. Pumpkin spice, maple, ginger, peppermint…They have ALL the seasonal flavors!
14. The floral section. I had to include my favorite section on this list. The fresh, seasonal flowers and plants are beautiful and rarely can you beat the price.
15. “The dog treats are mighty tasty!” My dog, Kevin, wanted me to quote him on this one. He also highly recommends the Advent Calendar for Dogs that comes out during Christmas time. (There’s one for cats, too!)
17. The Inside Trader Joe’s Podcast. The podcast is a great behind-the-scenes listen into new products, deep dives into popular sections in the store, employee interviews and more.
18. The legions of fan accounts on social media. You know you’ve got a good thing going when there are a multitude of fan accounts dedicated to your brand.
19. The company marches to the beat of their own drum. I’ve always thought Trader Joe’s is an interesting case study. They haven’t taken the route most traditional grocery stores have, yet they continue to thrive. They’re smaller than most of their counterparts, don’t participate in advertising and don’t offer coupons, discounts or a membership reward program. They also don’t do online shopping, curbside pick-up or delivery. All of this is pretty much unheard of for a national chain in our tech-driven age. But yet their business model completely and totally works because they’ve mastered the art of customer experience, unconventional products and low prices. As Trader Joe’s puts it: “The store is our brand.”
20. Trader Joe’s makes me ENJOY grocery shopping. For me, Trader Joe’s has taken something I typically deem a chore (grocery shopping) and transformed it into a really fun experience. I love the atmosphere and genuinely look forward to going there every week.
I hope you found this post to be informative about why Trader Joe’s is so great! In my next post, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite products from the store, so be sure to check back!
RELATED READING: 25 Must-Try Trader Joe’s Products…Plus Shopping Tips!
Do you share my affinity for Trader Joe’s? If so, leave a comment below letting me know your favorite things about the store!