My Fulbright Story: Trader Joe’s

As I entered Trader Joe’s with its array of whimsical and retro-style marketing splashed across the shelves and Ella Fitzgerald singing Love for Sale through the speakers, I began to see the appeal of one of America’s most beloved grocery chains.

There’s no doubt that Trader Joe’s likes to do things differently.

Interestingly, there is a small connection between the Fulbright Scholarship and Trader Joe’s. 

According to a 1981 interview with founder Joe Coulombe for Los Angeles Times, the idea of Trader Joe’s was born from a vision to set up a store for “a person who got a Fulbright scholarship, went to Europe for a couple of years and developed a taste for something other than Velveeta”.

Today, the legacy of creating exotic and ‘authentic’ products for a curious and open-minded individual is still true. 

But I consider the success of Trader Joe’s as more than just your next-door friendly grocer. 

Trader Joe’s reportedly sign exclusive deals with third-party manufacturers that allows them to sell almost if not identical foods as popular branded items but under Trader Joe’s brand. 

The end result is that instead of walking into a mainstream grocer where you would buy a reputable brand, Trader Joe’s as an institution becomes the brand. (A very clever marketing strategy if you ask me)

With that in mind, I was full of excitement for my first shop. I also made sure that I had done my research by compiling some of the most popular items on offer as recommended by trusted food vloggers. 

So did Trader Joe’s live up to its hype? Here’s my verdict on what’s awesome and what’s more average. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

The Awesome List

The Average List

This post is not sponsored. All views are my own.

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