Like most other major chains, Trader Joe’s doesn’t manufacture the products that carry its name. Instead, they source them from massive brands that you would recognize in an instant. With a bit of sleuthing, it’s possible to find exactly which products come from what brands.
In many cases, this means big savings on some pretty high-quality products, though, in others, the name brand is could be the better choice, budget-wise.
Trader Joe’s has been consistently tight-lipped about who produces some of its more popular products, but there’s simply no fooling consumers. Many customers had their suspicions that Trader Joe’s and Stacy’s pita chips are one and the same, due to having the same ingredients and flavor. A 2010 "Fortune" magazine article confirmed the connection. Choosing the Trader Joe’s version can sometimes save you a bit of money, but the two are usually close in cost.
If you’re the kind of person who isn’t afraid to dive into a box of pre-packaged grocery store sushi, Trader Joe’s has plenty to offer you. In fact, its sushi comes directly from Fuji Food, a brand that sells a variety of ready-to-eat products like sushi and salads. Fuji Food also ships foods under its Okami brand to stores like Trader Joe’s and Walgreens.
Trader Joe’s baby cauliflower florets are great for roasting, frying, or tossing into a salad. Though, you might as well call them by their true name: Mann’s Caulilini. In 2019, a recall for some of Mann’s vegetables also took Trader Joe’s cauliflowers off the shelves, facilitating this reveal.
If you’re looking to save some money and are a big fan of Mann’s Caulilini, the Trader Joe’s variety is often significantly less expensive.
Naked is one of the most famous brands on this list, being a leading name in the juice and smoothie game. They’re also one of the more expensive choices for fruit beverages. Trader Joe’s shoppers may be able to save a bit of money, however, as it is extremely likely that the store brand smoothies come from Naked. FOIA requests have shown that Naked supplies the store with beverages and the two brands’ ingredient lists are identical.
Stacy’s wasn’t the only company that Fortune managed to link to Trader Joe’s. The magazine states that a significant amount of Trader Joe’s yogurt in East Coast stores comes from the organic yogurt maker and dairy company, Stonyfield Farm. Even though you’re getting the exact same product with the same flavor in both tubs, Trader Joe’s yogurt will usually save you about a dollar apiece.
As any gluten-intolerant shopper probably knows, Trader Joe’s gluten-free cookies taste far better than you might expect from a grocery store brand product. This is because the cookies originate from Tate’s Bake Shop, a New York-based shop that’s been making baked goods for over 40 years. Unlike many other products, the Trader Joe’s brand is actually a bit more expensive than Tate’s, so try to grab the original.
Few snacks summon feelings of nostalgia like animal crackers can. If you or your children are feeling a craving for these sweet little critters, you may be surprised to learn that Trader Joe’s animal crackers are the same as the original Stauffer’s products. This has technically not been confirmed yet, but the iconic shapes are identical, as are the ingredient lists.
Both brands are similar in cost, though regularly buying the Trader Joe’s variety will save you more money long-term.
Health-conscious shoppers no longer need to worry about choosing between leading brands like Wildway and Trader Joe’s when shopping for granola. After all, they’re the same thing. In 2017, Wildway recalled some products in response to potential listeria contamination, revealing the link between the brands.
Wildway markets their granolas and other offerings as grain- and gluten-free, which also extends to the Trader Joe’s varieties. The latter is often far less costly than Wildway-branded products, though.
Though this one has yet to receive proper confirmation, savvy consumers have already noted that both brands of dark chocolate pretzel crisps and pretzel slims have the exact same ingredients and nutritional information.
As with many wares, the Trader Joe’s brand usually has a discounted price in comparison to the Snack Factory pretzel products.
Nut fans know how expensive a bag of pistachios can be, which often makes trying new brands a worrying venture. However, Trader Joe’s shoppers can rest easy by knowing that the store’s bags of dry roasted and unsalted pistachios are of good quality because they come from The Wonderful Company.
It’s worth noting though, that unlike many Trader Joe’s products, its pistachios may be a bit more expensive than the name brand.
A single bite is all it takes to know that Trader Joe’s sausages are high-quality, even though the prices are lower than most other brands. Trader Joe’s offers sausages in a range of flavors like sweet apple and sun-dried tomato. Keen shoppers will recognize these flavors as being identical to Kayem artisan sausages because that’s the company responsible for producing them, as well as a range of Trader Joe’s deli meats.
Fans of these sweet treats know that Trader Joe’s chocolate almond butter cups can compete with any other brand, flavor- or cost-wise. This is thanks to the chain sourcing the cups from Bizzini, a company that’s been producing nut products since 1886. A variety of other cashew, almond, and pistachio products may also originate from Bizzini, as well as some snack mixes and fruit and nut bars.
This massive Canadian company is probably more famous for its french fries, but McCain Foods also supplies grocery stores with a variety of vegetable products. A 2018 salmonella recall revealed that Trader Joe’s fire-roasted bell peppers and onions use veggies from a McCain Foods factory in California.
Budget-conscious shoppers should grab the Trader Joe’s brand if they can, as it costs a bit less than McCain’s name-brand frozen vegetables.
In October of 2020, Orca Bay had to recall some cases of its beloved battered halibut due to undeclared wheat and milk allergens, revealing its links to Trader Joe’s fish products. While Trader Joe’s halibut is definitely from Orca Bay, the company may also provide the grocery store with fillets and steaks.
Customers love Orca Bay products and the Trader Joe’s varieties are often a bit cheaper, so it’s worth stopping by the frozen fish section.
Conagra Brands is a massive company that produces food for a number of iconic brands, such as Chef Boyardee, Bertolli, and Hungry-Man. It also supplies ingredients to many restaurants and stores.
In Trader Joe’s case, Conagra Brands is responsible for the organic super sweet corn. Prices are roughly the same between the Trader Joe’s and Conagra Brands versions, so pick up whichever.
Let’s be real, even bad bread is still pretty good. However, Trader Joe’s bread stands out as being remarkably tasty and high-quality for its cost. Most consumer watchdogs believe that the grocery store’s bread comes from La Boulangerie, a bakery that specializes in everything from pastries to baguettes.
La Boulangerie is also pretty strict about who sells its products, so Trader Joe’s could be your only source for its delicious loaves.
In many locations, Indian food can be hard to find. If you’re craving some flavors of India, Trader Joe’s offers quite a few packaged dinners. Plus, unlike many "regional" dishes, the Trader Joe’s options may come from the actual country.
Evidence points to Tasty Bite providing Trader Joe’s Indian dinners. Mars Food, the owner of Tasty Bite, claims to source its products directly from India. Plus, you’re getting a pretty good bargain by buying the Trader Joe’s brand dinners.
In 2017, a large recall revealed the link between Trader Joe’s and Yorgo’s Foods. Following a potential listeria outbreak, Yorgo’s Foods had to pull tons of products. Trader Joe’s tahini sauce and cilantro and chive yogurt dip vanished from the shelves at the same time.
Because Yorgo’s Foods is a much smaller brand than Trader Joe’s, it may actually be more difficult to find the actual product than the Trader Joe’s version. Rather than trying to hunt down a better deal, just grab the Trader Joe’s version.
Foodie website “Eater” confirmed that Tribe was once responsible for specific varieties of Trader Joe’s hummus. It’s unclear which hummus products they still provide, but most customers point to the classic and tahini-free varieties as the most likely.
The Trade Joe’s varieties are often available at a much lower cost than Tribe’s, so go ahead and grab the grocery store version.
The other company responsible for some of Trader Joe’s hummus products is Bakkavor Foods. This brand also supplies Trader Joe’s egg salad and old-fashioned potato salad. All of these connections were uncovered during recalls for listeria-related reasons, though not at the same time. Like with Tribe’s hummus, the Trader Joe’s versions of these products are usually a bit easier on the wallet.