If you’ve ever bit into one of your favorite Trader Joe’s snacks and thought that it tasted familiar, it wasn’t just your imagination. Turns out, the privately owned grocery store orders most of its products from third-party manufacturers, which includes names like PepsiCo., that agree to sell some of their products under Trader Joe’s packaging, while also being sworn to secrecy about the exchange.
Because both the store and its suppliers are tight-lipped about what goes on behind the scenes, the only way to unveil the suppliers behind their popular items is to do a little sleuthing. Lucky for us, Eater did the hard work for us, using Food and Drug Administration and United States Department of Agriculture recalls and alerts that mentioned Trader Joe’s in the last decade, along with the available ingredient comparisons available for the products in question. (When a product is recalled, the product’s manufacturer usually publishes all the stores and brand labels under which that same item is sold). Although Trader Joe’s declined to confirm any information when Eater presented its findings, the investigation revealed various companies that have, at least once, supplied the food store with their goods. Below, the most surprising.
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Trader Joe’s Pretzel Slims look and taste exactly the same as Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps, and while the supplier hasn’t been confirmed, the two have quasi-indentical ingredients listed on the back.
Trader Joe’s mango smoothie has the same ingredients as Naked Juice’s Mighty Mango smoothie, and according to Eater, FOIA requests show the PepsiCo. subsidiary has supplied Trader Joe’s with beverages.
The ingredients in Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips are exactly the same as Trader’s Joe’s sea-salt pita chips, and if you’ve tried these before, you’re probably not surprised.
A 2015 recall revealed that the makers of Tribe Hummus supplies Trader Joe’s with its tahini-free hummus.
From the ingredient label and packaging down to the crisp of the cookies, Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies are nearly identical to Tate’s Bake Shop Gluten Free cookies.
A 2016 recall confirms that Wonderful Pistachios also supplies the pistachios stocked in Trader Joe’s stores.
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