Trader Joe’s know how to tell a story - SKUFood
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Trader Joe’s know how to tell a story

One of the things I miss most about no travel is visiting different retailers. It is so interesting to see new items, innovative merchandising and just experience something new. Hopefully we will be able to travel again soon and get back to exploring new places and visiting grocery new stores. My family does not see it the way I do but I will keep working on them!

One of the best retailers to visit is Trader Joe’s. With over 500 stores in 42 states this retailer has really expanded since starting with a few stores in Los Angeles in 1958. They are predominantly private label and these stores have to be one of the best places to shop for food. It is fun, it is a treasure hunt and they do a great job helping you see how you can use the products.

My first visit to a Trader Joe’s was in Phoenix. I walked around the store for a while and just kept looking at different products and admiring their ability to create an atmosphere where I wanted to buy so much. At one point the manager came over in his Hawaiian shirt and asked me who I was and when I was going to buy something. We had a great chat and he shared all kinds of great insights into Trader Joe’s and how they do such a great job. You can usually learn a lot when you take the time to talk to people in the stores.

Telling the story

Recently we were working on a project here at SKUFood and it included doing some research on websites of U.S. retailers. Susan found a great section of the Trader Joe’s website called product stories.

There is so much to learn from how they do this. You can check out the page yourself right here: Trader Joe's, Product Stories

The section of the website includes many different products with a brief story about each one. We will share some here with you to see what they are doing.

There is a series of mouth-watering ice cream sandwiches.

Lemon Blueberry waffle ice cream sandwiches

In this product story they describe the texture of the waffle and you can almost taste it. They suggest you toast it and give you the home made eating experience and then they add in “at a fraction of the time”. So feature is the crunchy exterior and chewy interior with the benefit being you get it in a fraction of the time.

Creamy cauliflower jalapeno dip

This story includes working with the supplier to get it just right so you already get the sense how the product was improved. The improvements include making cauliflower the number one ingredient. They want you to understand cauliflower is the number one ingredient but they use the development story to tell you, they don’t just list the features as being #1 ingredient-cauliflower.

The list of cheeses in the product is followed by a calorie statement to reinforce it is reasonable, given all of the cheese in the product to make it creamy and tasty.

Another good component of this story is they tell you where to find the product. Make it as simple as possible for consumers to find your products.

Amba mango sauce

This product story includes how they found the product and you really get the sense they were committed to developing something authentic. They also give the foodies reading lots of information they can share to illustrate everything they have learned about the product.

Within the story the reader also understands the item very well. I would admit I have never heard of this but after reading this brief product story I can now talk about Amba mango sauce and I would also know if it is something we would buy in our house.

The packaging is a feature but they share the benefits, including some product uses so you understand why it is in a stand up pouch.

Telling your story

July Recipes for Success, presented by FCC

Trader Joe’s is a great example of how you can tell your product story. We have been focused all month helping you tell your story and this week I can’t wait to learn from Chef Dany Duguay.

Join us Wednesday July 29th at 2 pm Atlantic (1 pm Eastern) for the final segment of Telling Your Story.

Join us Wednesday July 29th at 2 pm Atlantic (1 pm Eastern) for the final part of our 4 part series; Telling Your Story.

Dany will help you understand how to develop win/win relationships with influencers in the food and beverage space. She has worked with a number of different food products to help consumers understand the benefits these products bring to the market.

Dany is doing this work every week will be awesome to learn from her on our SKUFood Recipe for Success, presented by FCC.

Chef Dany Duguay has been working in the food industry for over 20 years. She currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia where she works as a sole proprietor for Caper and Olive Catering, as well as owning and operating, in part, Harvest, a farm-to-table eatery. 

Specializing in curated dining experiences, in home private chef services, food photography and recipe development, Dany brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table when working with clients to help get their products noticed through social media campaigns, as well as utilizing them in her day to day operations.

August Series- Your response to the changes in the market

The food industry has adapted to a very different market place since March of 2020. Consumers, suppliers and retailers have all had to adapt to a new environment for buying, producing and selling food and beverage. It is time to understand the impact on your business and share the results with your customers. Almost every food and beverage business has experienced changes to cost of goods and service level. For the long-term sustainability of your business, you need to understand and assess this new environment and communicate with your customers.

Join us for two sessions in August focused on your business and a new operating environment. We will be taking the first two weeks of August off as many people are on vacation.

August 19- So much has changed since March 2020. You should understand the impact on your business, good and bad. Some food and beverage businesses have been able to adapt and deliver great performance while others have struggled. You need to assess what has happened and the impact to your employees, your cost of goods and your ability to service your customers. Once you have an objective assessment you need to communicate to your customers. They have been focused on getting inventory to their stores and operating in a very different retail environment. It is time to let them know how you are doing and if there will be changes going forward. We will share insights into how you can assess your performance and communicate with your customers. This will be important in your relationship with your customers going forward. Soon we will be into the 4th quarter, which is the most important selling period of the year in food.

August 26- Every business has experienced changes to cost of goods. Labour efficiencies are lower due to physical distancing in production and there are many extra costs for hygiene and personal protective equipment. Some input costs have increased as well as your suppliers react to their own reality. Your selling price needs to reflect the changes you are experiencing. We will give you a process to follow to help you get the price increase you require with your customers. No one likes to see prices go up but they have to when your cost of goods are changing. Peter will share his experience working with a retailer to give you insights and the questions you need to answer to get the right price for your product. Peter has over 19 years working in retail and understands what your customers need to hear for you to be successful.

At SKUFood we understand it is important to give back. We have the ability to share insights and information you can use in your food business right away. If we were able to get in the same room for an event you would hear me say, “Success in the food industry is not just about making great products to sell; it is about selling the great products you make.” Telling your story effectively is one critical piece of selling the great products you make.

If you want to talk about your story or need some advice just send me an email at or give me a call at (902) 489-2900.