Digging Into Trader Joe's Popularity

Trader Joe’s topped the 2022 Axios Harris Poll 100 reputation rankings. That means the majority of some 33,906 Americans surveyed ranked the brand “excellent.”

Trader Joe’s popularity has piqued the interest of industry watchers for some time now. Insider explored the issue in 2019 and found some unique traits that Trader Joe’s had: the nautical theme of the stores; their unique artwork—often written on a chalkboard; healthy options; low prices; high quality; “whimsical packaging”; eco-friendly policies; and quick service.



The issue of consumer perception of Trader Joe’s is especially important during a time of inflation. Grocery prices in March 2022 were 10% higher than they were in March 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Surprisingly, though, Trader Joe’s recent prices for several staples were found to be much higher than Aldi, Target or Walmart. Last month, a 5-lb. bag of flour went for $2.99 at Trader Joe’s versus $1.64 at Aldi, $1.63 at Target and $1.59 at Walmart, according to a recent survey at Grow. A 4-lb. bag of sugar goes for $2.10 at Aldi, $2.29 at Target and $2.08 at Walmart, but $6.99 at Trader Joe’s.

Though Trader Joe’s prices were 16% lower than the average prices at QFCs, Safeway, Target and Fred Meyer, they were 5% higher than Walmart’s and 15% higher than WinCo’s. Moreover, Trader Joe’s doesn’t have sales or coupons. 

The difference with Trader Joe’s appears to be in the quality of store brand items. A recent survey by the Food Marketing Institute found that 35% of shoppers are returning to store brands to save money.

As more shoppers switch to store brands because of inflation, Trader Joe’s move to create strong store brands appears to be a winning move.

1 comment about "Digging Into Trader Joe's Popularity".
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  1. Dan Ciccone from STACKED Entertainment, June 6, 2022 at 8:44 a.m.

    TJ's arguably has the best customer service and the no-hassle return of items, even if you just didn't like the taste, goes a long way.  I've seen them let customers try food items in the store to see if they like them - just rip open the bag and taste test on the spot.  Brought home wine and you didn't like it?  No big deal, bring it back and try something else.

    I don't imagine the typical TJ's customer is buying bags of flower or sugar, so paying more for items rarely bought vs. everyday items is not going to be a red flag for most customers and as the article proposed, TJ branded items are typically unique and tasty - vs. other stores that take everyday products like pasta and slap their own logo on it.

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