Trader Joe’s might just be one of the most beloved supermarket chains in the world. With its emphasis on fresh, organic products, Trader Joe’s has a reputation for being affordable, delicious, and just plain good for you.
There’s just one problem, though: many of the Trader Joe’s brand products are actually supplied by third-party manufacturers, like PepsiCo. Moreover, many of these products are almost completely identical to the kinds you can find in almost any other supermarket!
With that in mind, here are nine popular Trader Joe’s products that we either know for sure are supplied by more common brands, or are suspiciously similar to them. It may just change the way you look at your favorite supermarket!
1. Trader Joe’s Pistachios: As delicious as these nutritious nuts are, one could argue that there probably isn’t a whole lot of difference between one brand and another. After all, nuts are nuts, right? That being said, some might believe that Trader Joe’s pistachios use a “healthier” salt, like sea salt.
However, three of the different types of pistachios sold at Trader Joe’s are actually supplied by Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds LLC. This was revealed when the products were recalled. Since nuts are already some of the most expensive items around, you’re better off just buying the regular grocery store version. You’ll save a few bucks for the same exact product!
2. Trader Joe’s Classic Hummus: Made of mashed chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, salt, a little lemon juice, and garlic, hummus is a staple of the oh-so-good-for-you Middle Eastern diets. Think Trader Joe’s version is anything special? Think again!
In 2015, Tribe Mediterranean Foods was forced to recall their brand of tahini-free hummus because of listeria concerns. So, when Trader Joe’s did the same, speculation was that the two brands were connected. Since the recipe for hummus is virtually the same, you’re just shelling out more cash for marketing than anything else. Stick to Tribe for some extra savings!
3. Trader Joe’s Mango Smoothie: Though its packaging boasts that it’s a “100-percent juice smoothie,” that does not change the fact that this healthy drink is identical to a more popular, common brand…
According to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, popular beverage brand Naked has been supplying Trader Joe’s since at least 2008. Back then, both products were recalled for yeast and bacteria, which seemed to link Naked as the possible supplier of Trader Joe’s mango smoothie drink.
4. Trader Joe’s Pita Chips: Few people would ever question the fact that pita chips are delicious. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that Trader Joe’s brand might taste a little familiar…
The popular Stacy’s Pita Chips brand, owned by Frito-Lay Inc., is a subsidiary of PepsiCo and is found in many supermarkets. It also has the same exact ingredients as the Trader Joe’s brand. Hmm!
5. Trader Joe’s “Very Green” Juice Smoothie: Similar to the mango juice smoothie that was mentioned earlier, the supplier of this Trader Joe’s product is a familiar face in the supermarket world…
The Naked iteration might not have as much banana purée or kale than the Trader Joe’s version, nor does it include any chlorella, a type of algae, which is responsible for giving the Trader Joe’s drink its signature green hue. (Naked’s drink is boosted with other green stuff, like broccoli and spinach.) That said, there is almost no difference at all between the two.
6. Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: The only difference between these sweets and the version usually provided by the supplier is that the former has more brown sugar! So, what’s the grocery store version of this sweet treat?
Say hello to Tate’s Bake Shop Cookies! These well-known gluten-free cookies share almost identical ingredients to the Trader Joe’s version. Also, they taste pretty much the same, and sometimes they’re packaged similarly.
7. Trader Joe’s Pretzel Slims: Aside from the packaging, there’s not much of a difference between this brand of snacks and the brand that many suspect supplies the supermarkets’ more affordable version…
The Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps are essentially the same thing as Trader Joe’s Pretzel Slims. Though there isn’t proof that they have the same supplier, the Trader Joe’s brand might not be as unique as savvy shoppers hope.
8. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Pretzels: As delicious as they may be—and, let’s face it: who doesn’t love the savory-sweet combination of chocolate-covered pretzels?—you can definitely find this same product elsewhere for a better price.
Snack Factory’s Dark Chocolate Crunch Pretzel Crisps are essentially the exact same thing. So, if there’s no Trader Joe’s around, this might just be the best way to get that salty-sweet combination that you crave.
9. Trader Joe’s Organic Animal Crackers: There’s just one major difference between Trader Joe’s version of this classic childhood snack and the suspiciously similar, more common brand.
The one big difference between the Trader Joe’s brand of cookies and the kind made by Stauffer’s is that the former lists lemon as an ingredient! Other than that, they’re exactly the same. That’s good to know when you’re feeling a bit wild.
This is somewhat of a reality-check for anyone who loves Trader Joe’s. None of this is to say that you shouldn’t still shop there (you gotta love those free samples), but you may want to rethink what you’re buying if you’re looking to save a few bucks!
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