We have this bag hanging on a hook in our hallway. It is a Trader Joe’s shopping bag, and it says “Arizona” on it in big letters.
We don’t use it right now, and the Arizona bugs me, because of all the immigration ridiculousness going on there right now.
And now the Trader Joe’s doesn’t feel so good either. As the investigations editor for The Faster Times, I am working on a “Reader Investigation” on private label and organic food. (For more on our investigations, check out this story on us in Columbia Journalism Review).
Our writer, Amy Westervelt, has come up with some great stuff … especially on Trader Joe’s.
From the post (read the whole thing here):
Nobody wants to hear anything bad about Trader Joe’s, and in a lot of ways it’s a great store. But it’s also a business that operates in the shadows. About 80 percent of Trader Joe’s food is private label, a trick it picked up when it was purchased by German superstore Aldi in the late 1970s …
“You’d hear stories about it all the time, this small producer who was basically putting all their eggs in the Trader Joe’s basket and then they wouldn’t be able to shave another penny or two off their price and the order would be pulled and the company would be ruined,” says Jeff Porter, a former buyer for Andronico’s Markets [a local chain of gourmet food stores in Northern California] and current Wine Director for Mario Battali’s Osteria Mozza in L.A.
“But it’s hard for companies to sell to Trader Joe’s and anybody else,” Porter continues. “First, Trader Joe’s doesn’t like them to, and second, other stores didn’t like them to either. They know they can’t compete with Trader Joe’s prices.”
What am I going to do with that bag?!?!