Trader Joe's: The darling of popular culture

Lawrence Aylward
Editor In Chief
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Trader Joe's knows how to play to its audience.

Trader Joe’s isn’t just the darling of private brands and even grocery. The Monrovia, Calif.-based retailer has become a darling in modern popular culture, thanks to many things, beginning with its private branded products and ending with its over-the-top excellent customer service (and with several things in between.)

It seems almost every week there’s a story in the mainstream about Trader Joe’s and its impact on popular culture. The latest is from Vox, a consumer magazine and website that covers popular culture, among other things.

Headlined “People love Trader Joe’s so much there are now professional Trader Joe’s influencers,” the Vox article talks about the influx of Instagram accounts devoted to Trader Joe’s and its products by its fans. The article cites several accounts, led by Trader Joe’s List, which has more 973,000 followers. Others are Trader Joe’s Obsessed (150,000 followers), Trader Joe’s Kitchen (215,000 followers), Trader Joe’s Aficionado (16,000 followers), Trader Joe’s Pro (31,000 followers) and Trader Joe’s Insider (78,000 followers).

“Trader Joe’s didn’t even get on Instagram until 2017, seven years after the app launched. It was the brand’s reluctance to maintain a social media presence that helped Trader Joe’s influencers to thrive in the spaces the company had historically ignored,” according to the article.

Maybe that’s the way Trader Joe’s wants it. After all, Trader Joe’sknows how to play to its audience. Every week, it’s introducing new private label products, some that may seem strange from an innovation standpoint at first glance (check out this other recent mainstream media story), but are still downright delectable. It’s also arguably the most fun grocer to shop, thanks in part to the marching order its employees have to provide the ultimate in customer service.

The only complaint that some (maybe many) Trader Joe’s fans have is that the retailer only operates about 500 stores in the U.S. In some major U.S. markets, people must drive 30 miles to shop at a Trader Joe’s.

But those fans know that the trip is worth it. (In fact, there's probably a story out there somewhere in the consumer media about road trips to Trader Joe's.)

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