So What’s Up Trader Joe’s?

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I had never been to Trader Joe’s in my life until recently when they opened their first store in Denver. I’d heard great things about amazing products that are healthy and affordable. I was excited to check it out and try some new vittles.  Here’s what I came away with.

Trader Joe’s is not a health food store-Now before everyone starts berating me about this, I understand that Trader Joe’s has never marketed themselves as a health food store. So why does everyone think it’s a health food store? They do have some healthy products, but let’s be realistic here, aisle after aisle of packaged goods, organic or not, doesn’t scream healthy to me.

The store was packed and the checkout line was a mile long so I had some time to do a little investigating. I’d heard their nuts were the bomb so I went there first.  Nice, raw organic almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts. Chocolate covered, spiced, salted and unsalted, you get the picture they have a nice nut selection.  What’s next.

They had a massive frozen food section.  Tubs of organic mac & cheese, neatly packaged ethnic dishes, thai, italian, indian. It all looked pretty damn good and I’ll have to admit you couldn’t find this stuff in your regular grocery store. I started looking at the ingredients and that’s when the health question came back to me.  Lot’s of soy, canola, dyes, flavorings and things I couldn’t pronounce.  Oh wait! It’s organic! Phew! What a relief, I thought the food might not be healthy.

I moved on.  Chips and crackers. things I never eat anyway.  I didn’t bother to look at the ingredients.  I already knew.

Ah, the produce and meat section.  I found this most interesting.  They had your usual selection of organic and non-organic choices. Again with the packaging. Kale in a bag? The packages all had cool names like “Happy Cow Beef” and “Morning glory farms asparagus.”  Again, I looked closer at the packaging. Responsibly farmed, antibiotic and hormone free, cage free. I smiled, “good for you Trader Joe’s” but something was missing.  Where was the local flavor? Where exactly, did this food come from? I looked at more labels, California mainly, it seems that all the food is created at their home office. I really wanted to see something from the neighborhood.  I’ve always held the belief that the best food is closest to the source. From the local garden or farm delivered fresh and nutritious to your local store. I saw none of this and this bothered me.  Trader Joe’s needs to be more local.

My research was done. I’d shopped at Trader Joe’s and I was left wondering, “What’s up Trader Joe’s?”  I turned to the massive check out line to await the fate of my wallet.

I’m not writing this to trash Trader Joe’s in any way.  Hell, I spent $80 while I was there.  These are just mere observances and a little disappointment that I took away from my first visit.

So what do you think? Am I totally off base?  I would love to hear from the Trader Joe’s supporters and also from those of you that may agree with me.

I’m always up for a good discussion and if you’re ever interested in discussing better ways to a healthy lifestyle, why not contact me for a free health consultation.  We’ll discuss what’s bothering you.

Have a great week and namaste,

Bruce

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