The Single Biggest Reason Trader Joe’s Products Are Discontinued

published Sep 19, 2022
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Credit: Faith Durand

“What happened to the Spicy, Smoky Peach Salsa?” That’s what Tara Miller, cohost of the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, wants to know. Coincidentally, my mother has asked me that very same question about this very same TJ’s jarred salsa. (She’s also asked me about several other products, most recently the grocer’s sweet potato tortilla chips, which disappeared from shelves over the summer.) 

If you’re like Tara, my mother, and many others who wonder why their favorite TJ’s freezer finds, savory snacks, or dinner shortcuts have been discontinued, today is your somewhat lucky day. No, those items won’t be returning to shelves anytime soon (at least as far as I know), but in the latest episode of the TJ’s podcast, which dropped earlier today, Tara and fellow cohost Matt Sloan reveal the big reason why these seemingly beloved items go extinct.

Why Trader Joe’s Products Are Discontinued

There are several reasons one-time staples lose their spot on the shelves. As Matt points out, quality issues are a factor, as are decreases in the value of a product (For example, if the price of ingredients go up, it might become too costly for the grocer to continue producing certain products.). But the overwhelming reason items are discontinued at Trader Joe’s, explains Matt, is a lack of interest or, what’s known as slow sales.

As the term suggests, slow sales is a term that describes customers not buying enough, say, peach salsa, for the grocer to continue carrying it. Basically it’s not earning its spot on the shelf. And because, according to Tara, Trader Joe’s doesn’t collect slotting fees — aka fees manufacturers pay for their products to appear on the store’s shelves — customer sales is the only metric here that matters.

This might not be all that surprising when you think about it. It makes a lot of sense to clear out products that aren’t selling as quickly as the grocer would want, especially because Trader Joe’s stores tend to be smaller and carry fewer products than other grocery stores. The folks at TJ’s, instead, want to make room for the new and seasonal products we’ll end up adding to our carts.

What can you do if your favorite TJ’s item is discontinued?

Honestly, there’s not much you can do to bring your favorite groceries back once they’re gone. However, if you want to talk about it, there’s the Trader Joe’s Discontinued 🙁 Facebook group (and yes, the sad face is part of the group’s name).

What Trader Joe’s item would you hate to see discontinued? Tell us in the comments below.