Is There Really A Rivalry Between Trader Joe's And Whole Foods?

Del Taco and Taco Bell, Walmart and Target, Burger King and McDonald's, the food world is filled with cutthroat rivalries between brands with similar products. And in the realm of good-for-you groceries, no two stores are more in the same league than Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. After all, both companies are known for offering their customers organic milk, bananas, and chicken nuggets galore. And the similarities between the two grocery stores' goods have inevitably left shoppers comparing the two establishments.

In fact, you can find many fans testing how Trader Joe's and Whole Foods' products stack up against each other on YouTube and there are countless articles scattered across the internet about which healthy grocer reigns supreme. However, despite their loyal fans' tendency to pit them against each other, neither Trader Joe's nor Whole Foods have ever made any indication that they're in a full-out grocery store battle-royal.

But do they actually consider each other rivals?

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods' rivalry may be customer-contrived

When Thrillist took to the streets to find out from Trader Joe's employees what the company thought of its alleged competition, the associates revealed the suspected rivalry between the two brands is likely a thing of fiction. In fact, when a customer asked a Trader Joe's employee if they had beef with their Whole Foods counterparts, the associate said that couldn't be farther from the truth. Instead, the employee explained the two brands' cashiers get along well enough to visit each other at their respective stores.

And another Trader Joe's employee revealed they were actually frustrated with people constantly comparing the two stores because they felt they have many differences, which is a valid point. As Radiant Brands notes, both companies undoubtedly draw shoppers looking for healthy and high-quality groceries. However, Trader Joe's is known for appealing to consumers with its good deals (and quirky sales tactics like hiding stuffed animals on its store shelves) and Whole Foods is known for attracting shoppers' with its focus on food sustainability. 

This is probably why the two grocers likely don't see each other as rivals — even if their fans do.