retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Outside magazine has a story about the first Trader Joe's store to be opened in Boulder. Colorado, and how the much-vaunted chain may not be everything it is cracked up to be.

"Trader Joe's isn't hawking health food exclusively," the story says. "Even so, its marketing certainly exudes an aura of clean livin' goodness. Plus, its website claims that its privately branded products - those with the TJ's label - contain 'no artificial flavors or preservatives,' and no 'synthetic colors, MSG, trans fats or genetically modified ingredients.' They also tout vegan, kosher, gluten-free, low-sodium, and fat-free alternatives. Tantalizing!"

The problem, the story suggests, is that there is "a long list of Trader Joe's private label products that contained questionable preservatives - sodium phosphate (Pulled Beef Brisket), trisodium citrate (Bacon Cheddar Cheese), sodium lauryl sulfate (Bibimbap Bowl), sodium phosphate (Pork Roast Florentine)…"

And while the writer says that Trader Joe's employees are engaged, engaging and anxious to please … even if she found it hard to answer some of the questions being raised by the writer, who concedes that the standards in Boulder may be higher than they are in many other regions.

Interesting story, and certainly contrary to conventional wisdom about Trader Joe's … and you can read it here.
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