If you live in Oklahoma City, you're probably one of the many thousands who have visited the brand new Trader Joe's in the past couple weeks. And if you haven't yet, it's probably on your to-do list. Am I right?
The opening of a new "healthy" store reminded me of when Edmond got their first Sunflower market, which is now known as Sprouts. And then a short few months after that, Oklahoma City got their first Whole Foods Market. I was THRILLED when this happened. Me and my best friend slept in our cars in the parking lot the night before just so we could be one of the first people to step foot inside. And for the free swag bag of course.
Anyways, seeing as though we have had these options for just over 5 years now, I didn't feel the need to camp out again. However, I was excited because I had heard that Trader Joe's was less expensive, and I'm always looking for more affordable options for my clients.
About 3 days after the opening of Trader Joe's, it was all I was hearing about. Friends and clients were RAVING about their cookie butter and cheap produce. So I figured I needed to go check it out myself.
Going in I was prepared to spend hours reading labels and figuring out what I should recommend to clients, but that changed pretty quickly. I walked in, got my cart, and started wandering the isles looking for healthy options. I had gotten about halfway through the store when I noticed My cart was still empty. I was shocked! I couldn't find anything that didn't have added sugar or a long list of hidden chemicals. I ended up grabbing some "green juice," trail mix, and grapes, and called it good.
When I got home I poured myself a glass of green juice. I instantly thought it tasted just like Naked Drinks, the green machine in particular. Which has been proven to be nothing but a scam with all kinds of unhealthy ingredients. I still drank it, but decided to do some research.
What I found out is nothing short of disappointing and will probably swear me off of Trader Joe's for good.
- The green juice I was drinking is in fact made by Naked
- The "cookie butter" people are raving about is made by Biscoff, which has been sold at all Whole Foods Markets and Targets for years
- All of the produce comes from Dole
- NOTHING that is labeled with the Trader Joe's name is made by them, it is all a private label due to the quantities they are purchasing. So even though people love the idea that everything they sell is their own brand, it's definitely not.
After finding this out it all made sense to me. No wonder they can have lower prices, because it's not what it appears to be!
I am all for saving money and finding good deals on food, but I also want to support companies who actually try to source locally and organically and who have quality standards that they won't break. A company who is transparent about what they are providing.
So I guess the take-away on this is to be aware of what you're buying. Not everything is what it seems. And in most cases, you get what you pay for.