Why You Spend So Much Money At Trader Joe's

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CNBC Make It.

7 months ago

Trader Joe's bucks much of the general wisdom of typical grocery stores in the U.S. - it doesn't do sales or coupons, has no self-checkout, no loyalty cards, and almost always has a nightmare-ish line at check-out. Here's how it was successful anyway.
A trip to Trader Joe's is an odyssey, with struggles, discovery and the spoils of victory: Its parking lots are notorious ("If you didn't have a near death experience in a parking lot, did you even go to Trader Joe's?" tweeted a customer), as are the long checkout lines that wind through the store's crowded aisles. And you won't find sales, coupons or loyalty cards. But Trader Joe's shoppers inevitably leave with an exciting new snack addiction and a respectable bottle of wine for under $5.
That odyssey, the emotional journey, is part of what has inspired consumers' obsession with Trader Joe's.
There are unofficial Instagram accounts dedicated to the brand (@traderjoeslist has 1.1 million followers alone). Even celebrities crave Trader Joe's; Hillary Duff, for example, is "obsessed" with the egg-white salad. And when Trader Joe's opened it's store in Germantown outside of Memphis in Tennessee, more than 500 people reportedly waited in line.
Fandom translates to sales. In 2019, Trader Joe's 505 U.S. stores had an estimated $13.7 billion in net sales, according to retail insights company Edge by Ascential. For comparison, Whole Foods had $16.5 billion U.S. net sales in 2019 (in-store sales only, Whole Foods groceries sold on Amazon.com not included), while Costco had $110.5 billion in store-based (Costco.com sales are tracked separately) net sales, according to Edge by Ascential.
Bringing in billions from a cult of customers is no accident. But the brand has carefully pruned its business strategy to inspire evangelism from its customers. Here are some of the ways Trader Joe's gets people hooked.
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Why You Spend So Much Money At Trader Joe's

CNBC Make It.
CNBC Make It. 7 months ago
What’s your favorite Trader Joe’s product? Like the video and let us know in the comments below.
Brandon Lee
Brandon Lee 8 days ago
My favorite is the chicken🐓 and 🐖 pork gyoza potstickers 🥟 yummy 😋
Stunz Month ago
pizza bread
Kinky2 Month ago
Everytime I went to a Trader Joe's, within about 20 mins I was disappointed. So much plastic! Yuck! I typically walk out having bought zippo.
Dee P
Dee P Month ago
The Argentina Shrimps, Belgian Waffles, The Frozen fruits, coconut/mango etc, The orange/banana juice etc...
Camicsalazar Month ago
THE ORANGE CHICKEN!!!!!!! Or mandarin chicken...but its SOO good. And do it in the oven/ stovetop.. not microwave!
Heba Ahmad
Heba Ahmad 16 hours ago
I don’t even live in the US
Juanita Haywood
Juanita Haywood Day ago
Their chicken pot pies and turkey bolognese is soooooo good!
Anissa Sukardi
Anissa Sukardi Day ago
One of my favorite trader joe's product is their cocoa baton. It reminds me of this classic chocolate wafer snack back in my hometown in Indonesia. When I check the packaging, the cocoa baton is made in Indonesia. To this day, I still wholeheartedly believe both products are made by the same manufacturer.
Al Quin95
Al Quin95 2 days ago
My city doesn't have a Trader Joes. Not even on the affluent side. They're always requesting one. I know people who drive 40 minutes just to shop there.
TrustMeImLying 2 days ago
lowkey seems like an ad
Bitter Beauty
Bitter Beauty 2 days ago
Fort Wayne got it’s first Trader Joe’s a few weeks ago. It’s slightly larger than a basic bodega. I wasn’t particularly impressed.
Barbara Kilman
Barbara Kilman 2 days ago
Trader joe's is just part of my history been shopping my entire life
anthony moring
anthony moring 3 days ago
Trader Joes is cheap compared to the other grocery stores (California)
V Dan
V Dan 3 days ago
Since covid I’ve managed to avoid Trader Joe’s and I’m fine. I miss the snacks and mac&cheese.
Kivilig 3 days ago
anytime I stepped into Trader Joe's, I couldnt find what I wanted and left, havent been to one in more than two years and will never be back, I dont know why people like it!!
00inwiththenew00 3 days ago
Watching the same guy chomp on food over and over makes me want to punch my screen. So annoying!!
Tricia Williams
Tricia Williams 4 days ago
The only place where I see the happiest workers with the most unhealthy food 🥘 .
MrWolf 4 days ago
I never been to trader joes because there is none in my city. But when I get them from the food bank.. whatever comes from trader joes is dam good.
Jordan H
Jordan H 4 days ago
There not unique products they just change the name brand. They don’t want you to know that.. There Mac n cheese is just Annie’s mac n cheese but without the logo.....look it up, most of their products are this way. Fraud!
Pamela Paul
Pamela Paul 4 days ago
I love Trader Joe's!!!!💗💗💗
Abanti Sarkar
Abanti Sarkar 5 days ago
I really wish it opens in India too.
Miranda Zhang
Miranda Zhang 6 days ago
I’m a Canadian and I have never seen a traders joes irl. I wanna go there someday
SoundSelector 6 days ago
America...where HEALTH BENEFITS are a...perk and not mandatory..
SoundSelector 6 days ago
Trader Joe's are ALDI... the illusion of choice..
Rocky Santalino
Rocky Santalino 6 days ago
Trader Joes produce sucks tho.
Vintage tears
Vintage tears 6 days ago
I wish we had trader joes here 😩
MarVic Mil
MarVic Mil 6 days ago
For me it is the nut aisle. I spend about $40 on nuts and freeze dried fruit each trip. Then there are the dolmas, when in stock, I stock up. I am still waiting for the Salted Caramel Gelato to come back; however, I have been doubling up on Coffee Blast ice cream on recent trips. Looking forward to Brandi Beans this holiday season too.
S l e e p
S l e e p 7 days ago
I spent so much money at trader joes because i bought 30 cups of their instant ramen i regret nothing (this isnt a joke)
Evan H
Evan H 9 days ago
Make ube ice cream a regular please!!!
Evan H
Evan H 9 days ago
Please open more in Brooklyn and Queens
Ashley Karli
Ashley Karli 9 days ago
scandinavian swimmers for the win! love those things!
dj smith
dj smith 9 days ago
trader joes employees are so friendly therefore i love going there.
Of All My Intention
Of All My Intention 7 days ago
I don't think that I have ever had a bad experience at Trader Joe's...It genuinely looks like people enjoy it there.
Sophie Wall
Sophie Wall 10 days ago
this is awesome! vm.tiktok.com/ZMJakRhBT/
BeanSproot 10 days ago
10:44 Are we just going to ignore that this person put milk in before cereal?
Madison Rankin
Madison Rankin 10 days ago
I wish that videos would just stop randomly putting clips of people crunching food in them. I'm just unnecessarily infuriated for a few seconds in a video. I know it really irritates a lot of other people too, it seems like common sense.
syedthegreed 11 days ago
3:55 for eggs
Ava Nolan
Ava Nolan 11 days ago
i’m a worker at aldi, the parent company who owns tj, and i’ve found that we have many of the same products as trader joe’s at a 1/3 of the price. so if you’re looking to find really great options at a fraction of the cost, see if you have an aldi near you!
hereis 13 days ago
In Europe, Aldi has a legendary low turnover so I get the hype behind Trader Joe
Emily Allstot
Emily Allstot 13 days ago
I have enjoyed Trader Joe's for over 2 decades in many cities and states, and said half-jokingly "this town is on the map now," when it got a Trader Joe's, but I don't shop there because recently, I have creeped out by the amount of cars parked in the parking lot on some nights, but other nights, there are no cars. Is the local Dumb Military using Trader Joe's as a rendezvous point?
K for Kronic
K for Kronic 14 days ago
Interesting. I'll try Trader Joe's soon
Dayna de Montagnac
Dayna de Montagnac 18 days ago
Watching this as I’m heating up my Trader Joe’s chicken pot pie.
Sofia CANTU 21 day ago
Before this video I had no idea what Trader Joe’s was
Chibi Shaw
Chibi Shaw 22 days ago
Trader Joes is for the over educated, priveledged, and delusional citizens that beleive they're underpaid and deserve a deal while being coddled by overly optimistic employees ...While the inner city continues to experience food deserts. But things are finally changing now.
Pesky Media
Pesky Media 22 days ago
I love that Helen complains about carrying her Trader Joes groceries many blocks & up stairs , yet the camera person doesnt offer to assist...’Dont cry for me HelenZhao’
Orchids n Lyme
Orchids n Lyme 23 days ago
Don't forget the Orchids 😁!!! The house plants and cut flowers are super nice as well🌸✨
Craig G
Craig G 25 days ago
We are lucky,we don't have one. We have his brother Aldi that isn't worth much. I have been to TJ's and nothing stood out. Not worth an hour drive and if we had one I wouldn't go there
ritabartasiute 25 days ago
Who's supposed to be attracted to "wide shiny aisles"? Reminds me of a hospital.
Stephanie Mills
Stephanie Mills 28 days ago
not sure how they do it...but they hire the happiest and friendliest people in every store. Like they are so friendly that for my birthday they gave me a flower pot as a birthday present. They are so sweeet. And I love the Chicken Nuggets, organic peas and corn and popcorn YUUUMMMMY!
Varun Golas
Varun Golas 29 days ago
Let's be honest it's just even more hipster whole foods
Wilson Lew
Wilson Lew Month ago
This is a hoarder's paradise. Just ask my wife! Grrrrrrrrrr.
Queen Tee
Queen Tee Month ago
They have peanut butter puffs/chips. Yummy
A Nieves
A Nieves Month ago
We don't have Trader Joe's in Hawaii. I heard a lot about the store though.
Sophia Neilsson
Sophia Neilsson Month ago
Trader Joe's reminded me of supermarkets here in nz
Kiana Month ago
I spend $400 at Trader Joe’s every time 😅😅
MeowMeow202 Month ago
I heard about this store but don’t get why it’s so popular. Interesting because we don’t have a trader joes... and don’t think we need it here in New Zealand. We have so many small businesses setup by migrants from all over the world bringing their speciality skills with them for NZ to enjoy. We are already a multicultural society so we don’t need trader joes, looks like we already have our own version, but individually ran - I guess that’s part of the hunt which is more fun in my opinion.
Jacob Sockness
Jacob Sockness Month ago
Why can't other grocery stores copy Trade Joe's super fast checkout system? They do have some super good frozen foods and it's cheaper than Safeway.
Jane Does
Jane Does Month ago
It's the Hawaiian shirts for me.
Jane Does
Jane Does Month ago
Literally best store on Earth.
Arno Weber
Arno Weber Month ago
the worst is the people who shop there - its like a social club for left-center hipsters who want to mingle with other like minded people without actually affecting social change. Leftists in word, but super self-centered in deed. Best expressed by the "Werner Herzog" Yelp review of TJ (just Bing it)
Cash Ninja, CPA - Personal Finance
Cash Ninja, CPA - Personal Finance Month ago
I just went to Trader Joe's, this video made me want to go again...
unfortunatewitnessX Month ago
1:10-1:16 Trent Williams?!?
Clara Baptiste
Clara Baptiste Month ago
I love the experience as well as their food
Fazal Hazh
Fazal Hazh Month ago
Thank you for your great content 👍
Minnie Month ago
Documentary producers do not understand spicy vs. gojuchang almonds.
Miss Masonya
Miss Masonya Month ago
I like Trader Joe's more than whole foods 😁..... I love that I know every spot they are filming in.
Douglas Smith
Douglas Smith Month ago
Interesting. I always thought Trader Joes was expensive compared to Walmart and HEB so I stopped going. To hear this ad say the pricing is low is pretty surpising.
Hideout Salon
Hideout Salon Month ago
My husband and I are on unique eating paradigms. We are modified keto, but he also has to avoid a lot of things due multiple allergies. TJ's is the only store in our area where he can drink the shelf stable coconut milk and coconut cream, because it does not contain guar or gellan gums. So, we shop there once a week just because we have to buy 8 cans of the coconut milk/cream. We are label-readers. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Sprouts make up the majority of our weekly shopping list, and we have a hefty weekly grocery bill around $250. But, we think of it this way. We do not pay for a monthly TV subscription, and we have always been home-bodies, not going out to eat or to the movies. Both of us were fortunate in the business world, and we did a decent job of long-term value investing, so our food bill is the only decadent expense we have.
Dhime Month ago
Fast fashion in disguise.
Erin S.k
Erin S.k Month ago
Lowkey has a Hawaiian theme yet no store in Hawaii. And people wonder why locals are obsessed with Trader Joe's and always ask for certain things if they go to the states.
Shiloh Morris
Shiloh Morris Month ago
Let's be honest, people like Trader Joe's because it feels like you're a kid playing market with the tiny carts, tiny store, and handwritten signs.
Kinky2 Month ago
Ah...March 9th, 2020...the day I landed in Philly for a 30 day trip of a lifetime from California...3 days before lockdown and event cancellations and one month before mandatory face masks. $4000 down the tubes. Thanks Trump.
Kinky2 Month ago
Once I found the "Grocery Outlet", I quit Trader Joe's and never looked back. They seem to be what TJ's tried to be but just wasn't - and WITH a little bit of "Dollar Store" ethos thrown in.
Vox Not Goddard
Vox Not Goddard Month ago
Gosh I do love HEB! I love how every product they have, they have a version that is made in texas and supports texas businesses. And you dont have to shop anywhere else! Central market is good too especially the butcher counter
Bonnie Hundley
Bonnie Hundley Month ago
Not if you are allergic or food sensitive to many of their boxed products. Having said that, I do luv Trader Joes. I go there for the Asian Veggie Burgers, hummus, yogurt, sunflower butter, and yeah, their avocados! Come on, no need to complicate why people enjoy going there. Trader Joes is a cute store that has so much variety. Without naming names, other grocery stores can feel bland. Trader Joes crafted a playful atmosphere. Its just cute with a lot of catchy novelty. Its like being a kid in the candy store. I catch myself browsing at Trader Joes, where as other stores, I want to get in, and get out. They arent designed to tempt you to stay awhile. Then Trader Joes brings you back, because you like the food. Everytime I think of Trader Joes, Spongebob Squarepants floats into my mind, lol. Random, but yeah, lol.
Lauren Neely
Lauren Neely Month ago
@jambeauty89 I heard your voice in the beginning and got so confused on what video I was watching
Nicole Corry
Nicole Corry Month ago
Low tech gets me every time! That's why I love it. Used to live in Germany and would go to Aldi for the same reason. I could get my whole weeks worth of shopping done in 20 minutes or less. They don't move around things in the store either. I can find everything pretty easily.
Josefa Deep
Josefa Deep Month ago
There is no Trader Joe's close to me but if there was i will go. I'm not complaining also because I have giant eagles, farmers markets, local restaurants, and costco.
Dee P
Dee P Month ago
I love my Trader Joe’s💕🥰
First Last
First Last Month ago
It's an ok store. Don't be fooled as if you're buying healthy stuff though. Most of their food is very low quality and highly processed except for the fresh produce. I quit them all together back in April when they started that stand in line to get in bulshit. What I found was that Aldi and Walmart are so much cheaper with a much better selection and I highly doubt I'll go back.
ezio destefano
ezio destefano Month ago
10:45 , UM no.
cyberslacker5150 Month ago
Oh PLEASE. The wife bragging to the husband about buying frozen prepackaged foods to cook for him? COME ON! There are no Trader Joe's in my area, but from the looks of it, they are only giving the illusion of selling nice frozen dinners to gullible buyers and making them feel like they're buying fresh. Now that doesn't compares to Central Market where many foods are prepared fresh! Lots of locally grown produce and other local products. You pick your fresh food, you put it into a container, and take it home. What are all these grocery carts filled with prepackaged food and calling it delicious or healthy? Also Whole Foods is also a good supermarket. I don't see anything good about this Trader Joe's store.
Julianna E
Julianna E Month ago
Doesn’t have a lot of random ingredients in a lot of its products.
Patricia Rodas
Patricia Rodas Month ago
I wonder if jessica has seen this video 😱
Vi Olly
Vi Olly Month ago
When my daughter lived in Traverse City, MI where there was no TJ's, she and her hubby would weekend in Detroit, shop at TJ's, and haul stuff home in a car filled with coolers. Oh, yeah, and the WINE. Cases of wine. When she moved back to CA, she insisted they had to buy a house within one mile (walking distance) of a TJ's. lol And sure enough! I can even walk to TJ's when I visit her (and I'm 75 !!). TJ's is the BEST !!
Rachel Brown
Rachel Brown Month ago
As someone recovering from an ED, I enjoy shopping at TJ's because its less overwhelming.
Lane Boyd
Lane Boyd 2 months ago
Yes, we're aware TJoe's isn't unique. We just want to find high quality products without sorting through the masses at Wegman's. They're not dooping us; we want an easier experience that has good quality products.
Alaina C
Alaina C 2 months ago
Trader Joe’s is great for me cooking for a household of 2, and as someone who likes homemade cooking and the ease of incorporating frozen meals/products. If there were more people in my household, it makes no sense $ wise.
isaiah MC
isaiah MC 2 months ago
I haven’t spent any Money at trader joes
Mel 2 months ago
Wow, didn’t know Aldi owns Trader Joe’s sooooo Trader Joe’s is the Target of Aldi’s 😂 . I like Trader Joe’s items are pretty affordable, it’s a smaller store, easy to get in and out, and I now only really go to get specific items (such as the matcha green tea mocha balls and chocolate hummus), but they are definitely OVERRATED 🤷🏾‍♀️
Allie LL
Allie LL 2 months ago
I feel way less stressed when I shop at Trader Joe’s compared to other grocery stores that’s why I keep going back
Jae Kim
Jae Kim 2 months ago
Really friendly staff, sometimes free products to try as a sample(they insist you try it for free), and they used to have sample section.. miss that.
Secret L
Secret L 2 months ago
omg ,,,,,,,,,,, addiction
Sunflower 2 months ago
I LOVE TRADER JOE'S !! The best grocery store I've ever shipped and always have a great experience when I'm there.
Madelyn Rose
Madelyn Rose 2 months ago
this whole video just made me want to go to trader joes
gabyzuzu 2 months ago
So... Trader Joe’s is like shopping at my developing country local grocery store
Eagleoneradiogod 2 months ago
I stopped shopping at trader joes. Cause the food there is just regular mass production food disguised as health food. If you look at the nutrition content of all there food it's just sugar and tons of carbohydrates. Both me and my dad have lost 65lbs each sense I started researching food. If you know what makes you fat in the food you can find real food at safe way if you know what to look for. It's just another consumer false feel good food store. Carbs, sugar and chemicals such as corn syrup are what is in most of traderjoes products. That's why I don't go there anymore it's just mass production food disguised as healthier food! And now I save about 300 dollars or more a month. By fasting and knowing what foods and chemicals will give you diabetes. Traderjoes costs a ton of $$$$. It's just fooling you into beleving that you are getting real down home food. When it's just another mass bought commercial food industry. But most people will spend all there money if you can make them feel good and feel wanted. Look at disneylandthey do this every day through manipulation by making you feel an experience and feel like they care when in reality there doing it for profit. Yes they do start out with good intentions. Buy every company has to become to the corporate Beast. Or they will die. Like radio shack or sears or even Montgomery wards.
Eagleoneradiogod 2 months ago
We had a trader joes in west covima ca. Year's ago. Nm it kept getting robbed by the illegal aliens. Cause it was right next to the freeway on-ramp on citrus .
I’m Not Lucky; I’m Loved
I’m Not Lucky; I’m Loved 2 months ago
The first time I went to Trader Joe’s I found baking soda in a CAN! It was $0.99 which is more expensive than the average box of baking soda...BUT it was in a can which, as a baker, made me so incredibly happy and was a solution to an annoying problem I always had thought about with the boxes. I was so excited! 😂🙈
YK KY 2 months ago
They do that because they are materialistic. Simple as that
Rjn 23
Rjn 23 2 months ago
I actually spend less than when I go to Publix. That is probably because Im plant based and their stores are geared towards that
Laura Perdue
Laura Perdue 2 months ago
I love me a good Merchandise Bob’s.
Andrezzi 2 months ago
LIDL is doing the same strat in EU
Aamna Mohammed
Aamna Mohammed 2 months ago
Why I’m I watching this? never been to Trader Joe’s I only shop at Whole Foods.
Tasnia Islam
Tasnia Islam 2 months ago
when you live in a poor neighborhood and you never shopped at trader joe's