Someone Cracked The Code On How To Find The Companies Behind Trader Joe's Products

Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
We have long been followers of Trader Joe’s for many reasons, but chief among them is the store's low prices — we’re working on a budget! Recently, we learned how TJ's manages to keep its prices low so not to put a strain on customers' wallets, and the secret is that it mostly stocks private-label products. Staying away from big brand names helps keep consumer costs down. So that piece of the puzzle has been put into place, but there's still one thing we don't know. For as long as we've been shopping at the grocery chain, we've also been wondering which companies are responsible for producing our favorite TJ’s products. Finally, someone cracked that code.
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Yesterday, Eater published a piece entitled "What Brands Are Actually Behind Trader Joe's Snacks?," and in it, the author. Vince Dixon. explained they had figured out a way to find out what companies are supplying Trader Joe’s with its products. The key is paying attention to recalls. Eater explained that for the most part, Trader Joe’s doesn't share details about the inner-workings of the business, and suppliers straight-up aren’t allowed to say they work with the grocery chain. That means the only way to get the dirt is to wait for a recall.
When a recall happens, the manufactures usually publish details about the product, including where it was sold and brand labels it was sold under. So, that’s where Eater looked. The publication used Freedom of Information Act requests to access all FDA and USDA recalls and alerts from the past ten years that mentioned Trader Joe’s, and boy, did they access some mind-blowing information.
We were shocked to find out that Tribe Mediterranean Foods has supplied Trader Joe's with hummus. Eater also uncovered that those jugs of Very Green 100% Juice Smoothie have been provided by Naked Juice. Another surprising discovery was that the ingredients in Trader Joe's pita chips are the same as the ones that go into Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips. Is your mind blown? Our's certainly are.
While we were obviously very interested to know what big companies are behind these Trader Joe's snacks and drinks, we can't believe it takes that much work to get the info. It's not like we can send out Freedom of Information Act Requests before every trip to the store. Plus, if the information is only released in relations to recalls, those products might get a switch up after the fact, anyway. Still, it's good to know there's at least one way to get the low down on where our TJ's food comes from.
Finding out the identity of only a few products has helped us shed light on why Trader Joe's is so secretive about its offerings in the first place. Because if we knew where they all came from, the Trader Joe's branded products we know and love just wouldn't be quite as exciting. Though, in the end, the prices would probably still be worth it.
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