Delightful employees, ideal cheese and wine pairings, and tasty private-label products that Americans are willing to drive miles for are all traits of one of the most recognizable supermarkets on the planet: Trader Joe’s.
The cult-classic grocery store boasts an incredibly loyal following across the country that many would describe as a unique form of love. But which parts of the country have the strongest attachment, and which view Trader Joe’s as just another option?
Interested in love and all the shapes it comes in, the team at Shane Co. began an inquest to determine which states adore Trader Joe’s the most. We surveyed over 1,800 people to find out, asking residents from each state about how often they go to Trader Joe’s, what specific items they’re buying most often, and how far they would be willing to travel to get their favorite Trader Joe’s treats.
The Average Trip to Trader Joe’s
To get a sense of which states like Trader Joe’s the most, we need to first see how Americans view the store as a whole.
The average Trader Joe’s fan makes just over two trips to the store per month. Illinois is the state that goes most often, with an average answer of 2.54 trips per month, while Maine residents go the least at 1.48 times per month. Now when it comes to average spending, Americans are dishing out about $66.00 every time they go to Trader Joe’s. Arkansas residents spend the most at $80.50 per trip, and Utahns spend the least at just over $53.00 per visit.
We know that one of the biggest reasons people flock to Trader Joe’s is their unique products, so we asked people which ones they like the most. 30% of Americans say the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are their favorite dessert, 22% think the Mandarin Orange Chicken is the go-to dinner option, and a whopping 54% agree that Everything But the Bagel is the best seasoning you’ll find.
As we said, unique product offerings are a big traffic driver for Trader Joe’s. 81% of our survey respondents said that was among the primary reasons they love the trendy grocery store so much. Other notable reasons include high-quality products (54%), relatively low prices (35%), friendly staff (34%), and just the overall good vibes (27%).
Trader Joe’s Obsession in the U.S.
Next, we wanted to dig a little deeper into how Americans view Trader Joe’s and what they’re willing to do to still shop at their favorite store.
When given the choice between only shopping at Trader Joe’s for the rest of their lives or never shopping at Trader Joe’s again, over 4 in 10 Americans would choose the former, which is pretty shocking when you consider the dozens of other stores they would be missing out on. People from Arizona are the most likely to agree, with nearly 60% saying they would rather only shop at Trader Joe’s than never shop at one again. Mainers are on the other extreme for this question, as nearly 3 in 4 would rather retain the right to shop where they please even if it meant never stepping foot into another Trader Joe’s.
Survey takers were also asked, “Is Trader Joe’s overrated?” Overall, only 30% of Americans would say that it is overrated. But thoughts on that vary regionally, too. Arizonans go to bat for the grocery store again, this time with 85% saying the grocery store is not overrated.
The average American would be willing to drive 31 minutes to go to a Trader Joe’s. People from Arkansas would travel the longest with an average answer of 52 minutes, while Californians would be willing to make the trip if it was 22 minutes or under. This stands to reason, as a quick glance at Trader Joe’s locations would tell us that California is home to 139 locations, while Arkansas is home to only one, in Little Rock.
The iconic Trader Joe’s uniform of a floral shirt and khaki pants is quite the sight. We asked people how much money it would take for them to wear it regularly. On average, Americans put that price at just shy of $16,000. This seems unreasonably high until you notice that people in Ohio, specifically, would demand closer to $50,000 to don the Trader Joe’s garb. Oregonians seem to actually like the look, as their average answer was a much more reasonable $90.33.
Mapping Trader Joe’s Obsession in the U.S.
Interact with the map below to see exactly how your state takes a trip to Trader Joe’s. You can see how often people go, how much they typically spend, and what their favorite Trader Joe’s products are. Spoiler alert: Every state surveyed said their favorite seasoning was Everything But the Bagel and all but three states list their favorite dessert as the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (Virginia likes the Brookie, Kansas prefers the Speculoos Cookie Butter, and New Mexico goes nuts for a Sublime Ice Cream Sandwich).
Whether it’s the stellar service, the plethora of product options, or the unique uniform, it’s clear that the Trader Joe’s craze isn’t going anywhere, especially in states like Arizona where people say Trader Joe’s is decidedly not overrated, and Arkansas where they drive nearly an hour to get their Everything But the Bagel seasoning fix.
That sort of dedication is typically saved for just one special person in your life. Once you’ve found a partner who looks at you the way people from Arizona look at Trader Joe’s, make sure the relationship is properly symbolized with an engagement ring from Shane Co.
To find out just how obsessed people are with Trader Joe’s, we surveyed over 1,800 Americans in the 42 states where Trader Joe’s supermarkets can be found. The survey ran over two weeks in September 2022 and asked questions to get insights into people’s favorite Trader Joe’s products, how often they go to the store, and how much money they typically spend when they are there.