Trader Joe’s makes suppliers sign a contract keeping their business relationship a secret. While this may help keep prices low, you could end up supporting companies you don’t believe in.
PepsiCo owned Stacy’s Pita Chips is a perfect example. They’re produced for Trader Joe’s and repackaged as “Pita Chips with Sea Salt” and are sold for half the price. PepsiCo has been a major funder in initiatives to fight GMO labeling requirements which would require companies to label products containing genetically modified organisms. While there are many shoppers who would buy the chips regardless of who made them, there are others who would never buy them if they knew PepsiCo produced them.
If you fall into the camp of shoppers who love the low prices at Trader Joe’s, then keep on keeping on. But if you desire to know where your food comes from, then talk to a store manager and tell them you’d appreciate transparency in terms of product suppliers. If this is an issue you strongly believe in, a grass roots effort is probably going to be the only thing to change corporate policy.
On the heels of Chipotle Grill and Panera Bread moving away from GMO ingredients towards all-natural, antibiotic free ingredients, this could be a sign of the future as consumers voices on this issue are being heard.
Photo by Phillip Pessar.