I will be the first to admit Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite grocery stores. The small-town feel in combination with their affordably priced, specialty items is what keeps me coming back time and time again. Trader Joe’s positions themselves as an environmentally conscious establishment by offering compostable produce bags and use recyclable paper bags as opposed to plastic. But, the company recently found themselves amid public scrutiny when consumers started noticing that their food products were packaged in a copious amount of plastic. Seems contradictory doesn’t it? Their produce section was especially targeted. After all, don’t most people consider their fruits and veggies naturally packaged?
Why should we care?
I think this is a relevant example of how we need to be more conscious as consumers. We blindly trust brands and companies for one reason or another. Maybe they just “look” sustainable aesthetically or maybe their mission statement is too believable to doubt.
I know I jumped on the Trader joe’s bandwagon after seeing their dedication to providing their consumers with reasonable prices, and transparent business practices. Trader Joe’s mission statement claims that they stand out from competition by providing their customers with the information required to make informed buying decisions.
But, it’s our job as consumers to make sure businesses follow through on their promises by showing us how they’re sustainable not just telling us.
And that’s just what trader Joe’s consumers have done. For me, this situation served as a much-needed reality check. It’s reminded me to fact check my initial biases and beliefs. And it has shown me that I need to be more aware of my personal plastic consumption.
On another note, it serves as a reminder that if we’re unified enough we can collectively make a difference. Many people have protested the chain grocery store and hash tagged “break free from plastic” on social media to get the company’s attention.
What are they going to do?
In response to the scandal the company has decided to take a serious look at their plastic consumption and convert most of their produce to lose bins as opposed to styrofoam and plastic. The good news is this strategy is more beneficial for earth but also our wallets as consumers. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to even lower prices!
Trader Joe’s has taken full blame for the issue and recognized the issue by stating “A fundamental focus of sustainability is maintaining product integrity and preventing food waste. We strive to balance the key role packaging plays in this effort with the overall impact packaging has on the ecosystem, as we approach making any changes.”
They have even started including updates on their website to openly showcase their dedication to fixing this issue once and for all. Visit their website for a more detailed snapshot of what they have already implemented and what they plan to implement.
They estimate to eliminate a total of 1 million pounds of plastic from their stores, that is a change to celebrate!