New 'Brand Intimacy' Study Finds Trader Joe's Fans The Most Devoted

When you walk through Trader Joe's you might notice the bright colors, the fun sign designs and price tags made by local artists, or the friendly faces of those stocking the shelves and helping you at the checkout line. But though we all find ourselves obsessed with Trader Joe's store-brand products and pleasant atmosphere, many shoppers don't know the origin of their favorite grocery store brand. According to CNN, the founder of Trader Joe's was a man by the name of Joe Coulombe who made the decision in the year 1967 in Los Angeles for a special kind of customer. You see, Joe Coulombe recognized that there was a niche audience of well-traveled and curious food lovers wanting to explore international food at a reasonable price.

The brand has since taken off as a national chain of neighborhood grocery stores and thrives on an adventurous and warm sense of community. Trader Joe's says that they strive to create a consistent, yet never boring, food experience, and their stores, unlike other large-scale brands, never host sales nor offer coupons, and reject the loyalty program system altogether in order to allow everyone the same access to their high-quality products. It is perhaps this dedication to the shopping experience and the equitable food opportunities which makes Trader Joe's customers the most devoted shoppers.

Keeping it real and down to earth

People love Trader Joe's. That might sound like hyperbole, but the company has a $13.3 billion annual income to back up the statement, it's time to take a closer look at what makes this neighborhood-style store so attractive to shoppers (via Zippia). To prove this point further, the grocery store chain took the top spot in the retail category in MBLM's Brand Intimacy 2022 Study, outperforming other brands like Costco, H&M, and Amazon. The study scores brands on their "brand intimacy" or how well consumers form a bond or relationship with them and offer other insights about how consumers perceive the brands. For example, the study found that Trader Joe's shoppers use the keywords "Delicious" and "Indulgent" to describe how they feel about Trader Joe's. 

CNBC says that regular shoppers become super-fans after experiencing the brand's engaging employees, a fun shopping experience in stores, and cheap, but high-quality, products. Ultimately, it seems like the psychological tricks and core values behind the Trader Joe's brand not only work but helped propel it to the top of MBLM's Brand Intimacy rakings. Progressive Grocer explains that Trader Joe's even managed to succeed through the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic with brand performance increasing 19% and emotional connection jumping up 9% more than in pre-pandemic years. 

Trader Joe's may not have the largest stores or any holiday deals, but they've created a comforting safe space for food lovers wherever they set up shop and that is what makes them so great.