That Trader Joe's Snack May Be More Familiar Than You Think

PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, or other big brand names might be behind your favorite TJ items
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2017 11:49 AM CDT
Updated Aug 13, 2017 5:15 PM CDT
5 Huge Brand Names That Are Behind Trader Joe's Products
In this Feb. 11, 2008, file photo, a customer departs Trader Joe's in Los Angeles.   (AP Photos/Ric Francis, File)

If you've ever eaten a Trader Joe's product and thought, "Huh, this tastes almost exactly like the brand-name version of the same product," you're probably right. Brands—including, in some cases, major ones like PepsiCo—often supply their products to Trader Joe's, which then sells the product at a lower price than the brand-name version. But TJ's is notoriously private about who their suppliers are, so Eater looked at recall notices (if a brand's food item is recalled, other retailers that sell the brand under a different name are listed in the notice) and ingredient lists to come up with a number of brands that are behind, or have been behind, Trader Joe's items:

  • Based on both recall notices and ingredient lists, it appears Naked Juice (which is owned by PepsiCo) is behind Trader Joe's mango smoothie and possibly other beverages, including its green juice smoothie.

  • At some point, Conagra supplied food to Trader Joe's; a 2016 Conagra recall resulted in organic sweet corn being pulled from TJ's shelves.
  • Snack Factory's Pretzel Crisps have similar ingredients and a near-identical look and taste to TJ's Pretzel Slims, but the Snack Factory version costs nearly $2 more per bag. And Snack Factory's dark chocolate-covered pretzels are identical to the TJ's version.
  • Almost all of the products in Eater's comparison cost less at Trader Joe's. The one exception: TJ's organic animal crackers, which appear to be identical to Stauffer's animal crackers other than the fact that they're lemon-flavored. But, possibly because of the organic label, the TJ's version costs more.
  • Stacy's Simply Naked Pita Chips (which is owned by Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo) are identical to TJ's sea-salt pita chips.
Click for the full Eater investigation, which also includes a taste test between the TJ's version and the brand-name version of the products. (More Trader Joe's stories.)

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