Consumer Retorts: Trader Joe's Bad Wrap

Yo, Joe! Do apples really need extra packaging?

CONSUMER RETORTS

Consumer Retorts

Trader Joe's Bad Wrap

Yo, Joe! Do apples really need extra packaging?

TRADER JOE'S IS known for its high-quality, inexpensive fare. But what's up with its overpackaged produce? Some of TJ's fruits and veggies come bundled in plastic wrap and on plastic trays—way more padding than any other supermarket uses. A Trader Joe's customer relations representative says the extra packaging ensures safe transportation and efficient stacking. It also means the chain can sort and deliver its own produce and doesn't have to install scales at its checkout counters. That saves the store and its customers money, but it's wasteful and irritating, particularly if you want to buy more or fewer items than come in a single package. And even no-frills 7-Elevens and corner stores can handle selling individual pieces of fruit without scales. Trader Joe's rep says the company is rolling out compostable packaging and "selling some of our produce out of its package." Well, there's an idea that could bear fruit.

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