8 things you probably didn’t know about Trader Joe’s

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8 things you probably didn’t know about Trader Joe’s
Image Credit: Flickr/Aranami
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In the supermarket industry, there’s a new champion: Trader Joe’s. The quirky grocer with the staffers in Hawaiian shirts and the plastic lobster hidden somewhere in the store got the best rating of any supermarket chain in the country for customer service, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

With some 450 locations in 40 states, Trader Joe’s is a beloved store to many people. Read on for some obscure facts and some well-known ones about the company.

Read more: 10 surprises you probably didn’t know about Aldi

Trader Joe’s can actually increase your home’s value!

Homes have greater appreciation when they are located by a Trader Joe’s than by a Whole Foods, according to new numbers from RealtyTrac.

Homeowners who live in the same zip code as a Trader Joe’s saw a 40% increase in home value over their initial purchase price. Meanwhile, those living in the same zip as Trader Joe’s arch rival Whole Foods only saw a 34% increase, which is on par with national averages.

So Trader Joe’s wins the home value wars!

There are other economic benefits for neighborhoods too

The average home value in a Trader Joe’s zip code is $592,339, according to RealtyTrac. That’s about 2.2 times higher than the average price of a home in the U.S. Meanwhile, the average home value in a Whole Foods neighborhood is $561,840.

In addition, those living near Whole Foods paid an average of $5,382 in property taxes, while those living near a Trader Joe’s paid $8,536 (59% more) in property taxes.

Trader Joe’s goes into affluent areas and then creates more affluence where they go. So in addition to checking schools when house hunting, you might want to cross reference against this metric. If a Trader Joe’s wants to open in your area, that’s going to be money in your pocket eventually!

You can almost tell which store brand products are just repackaged name brands

Trade Joe’s sells some brand name products under its own private label at half off what you’d pay at a traditional supermarket. But the question is, exactly which brand names are being sold as store brands at Trader Joe’s? The Huffington Post thinks it has the answer.

things you didn't know about Trader Joe'sThey did a taste test and side-by-side comparison of brand names and Trader Joe’s brands across a variety of products. All the following got the ‘are’ or ‘probably are the same product’ seal of approval!

  • Cream Of Tomato Soup: Trader Joe’s vs. Pacific 
    Pricing: Trader Joe’s $2.49, Pacific $4.69
  • Organic Shells And White Cheddar : Trader Joe’s vs. Annie’s Homegrown
    Pricing: Trader Joe’s $1.49, Annie’s $3.29
  • Vegetarian Chili: Trader Joe’s vs. Amy’s
    Pricing: Trader Joe’s $2.29, Amy’s $4.19
  • Pita Chips: Trader Joe’s vs. Stacy’s
    Pricing: Trader Joe’s $1.99, Stacy’s $3.99

Trader Joe’s shares common ownership with Aldi

Both Trader Joe’s and Aldi have common ownership and a similar business model. There’s a common emphasis on private labels and a limited selection. But Trader Joe’s is fresh and hip with a focus on organic and natural, while Aldi is just about inexpensive groceries.

Kiplinger reports that Trader Joe’s is owned by Aldi Nord, a German company that runs Aldi grocery stores throughout the E.U. Meanwhile, Aldi Nord’s sister company, Aldi Sud, runs Aldi stores in the U.S.

The store has raving fans

The store has such cachet among consumers that fans have been known to start petitions to get Trader Joe’s to come to their area. One current petition implores the store to come to Chattanooga. Other historical examples include this one in the metro Atlanta area and this one in Broward County, Florida.

Trader Joe’s is facing a ‘fishy’ lawsuit

A lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court earlier this year claims that Trader Joe’s underfilled its five-ounce cans of tuna. According to the lawsuit, tests conducted by NOAA found that the Trader Joe’s cans of tuna contained an average of 2.43 to 2.87 ounces of tuna.

The federal minimum standard is 3.23 ounces per 5-ounce can. Therefore, the lawsuit alleges the Trader Joe’s tuna is “illegal for sale in the United States” due to the underweight cans.

In a surprise parallel in the world of canned fish, Starkist was also accused of the same practice and settled claims with an offer of $25 cash or $50 in free tuna!

Store brand frozen corn was involved in a recent recall

Earlier this month, Trader Joe’s Organic Super Sweet Cut Corn (UPC 0029 9633) was recalled because of the possibility of Listeria monocytogenes contamination. The move was part of a larger recall that recently impacted a wide range of frozen fruits and vegetables.

More recently, Trader Joe’s expanded the recall to include its store brand of both vegetable fried rice and chicken fried rice.

Let’s not forget about Two Buck Chuck!

What article about Trader Joe’s would be complete without a mention of ‘Two Buck Chuck’ (aka Charles Shaw wines)?? This super cheap yet tasty vino was introduced in 2002 and customers were immediately smitten by the $1.99 price point and quality. Of course, today Two Buck Chuck reportedly sells for anywhere from $2.49 to $3.79 depending on location.

‘Two’ bad, right?!

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo has co-written several books with Clark Howard, including the New York Times #1 bestseller Living Large in Lean Times. As a single widowed parent of two young children, he strives to bring unique savings tips to men and women like him who must face life without their spouses. He can be reached at [email protected]
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