Matt Phillips of Quartz Daily Brief published an article on June 12: Conventional supermarkets in the U.S. are losing market share, slipping from 30.7% of the market in 2003 to 26.7% in 2013, according to Credit Suisse. The squeeze is coming from discounters such as Wal-Mart Stores and Target as well as specialty grocers such as Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s.
While a typical grocery store may carry 50,000 items, Trader Joe’s stocks only about 4,000. Less square feet, yet California-dreamin’ Joe has a far more unique selection. Take their top 2013 selling items for instance, released by Huffpost in May. You won’t see bread, milk, and eggs on the list.
#2-Speculoos Cookie Butter ($3.69), #8-Chili Lime Chicken Burgers with Sriracha ($3.49), #12-Rosemary Marcona Almonds ($6.49) and #17-Spinach & Kale Greek Yogurt Dip ($3.99). All of these products have one thing in common. Never seen the like at my traditional supermarket. Have you? And when have you ever seen a merlot or cab for two bucks in the wine section of what is supposed to be a “super” market?
Trader Joe’s is constantly innovating and introducing new products, some trendy, some just delicious variations of what we’ve all been dreaming about at night, like Triple Ginger Snaps, their #1 seller or PB&J chocolate bars. With Millennials demanding ethnic foods, they can turn to Trader Jose’s (Mexican food), Trader Ming’s (Chinese food), Trader Giotto’s (Italian food), Trader Joe-San (Japanese food) or Arabian Joe’s (Middle Eastern food). Four Uttapam with Coconut Chutney anyone?
The rise of awareness in gluten insensitivity has led to the innovation of a range of substitute flours ground from a host of alternative nuts and grains and Trader Joe’s is the conductor of the GF train, offering Organic Coconut flour, among others. Trader Joe’s is a dichotomy of down-to-earth and trendy and if you want to buy kale right when you read it on Twitter, Trader Joe’s will have it first.
I have to visit my Trader Joe’s to satisfy my craving for grocery innovation. I’m not alone. The Millennial study Concentric conducted this year cites multiple mentions of this and here are a few:
“Trader Joe’s has quirky fun food.”
“….offers unique flavors, great value, fresh ingredients.”
“….new and different and goes outside the normal food box.”
The smartest piece to all this is their permanent in-store demo, run by their own bubbly employees whose favorite thing in the store is what they are sampling today! Conventional markets shouldn’t be so dumbfounded by this phenom if they paid attention to the shelves on the other side. There’s a lot of green there.