Why You Only Buy Frozen Food at Trader Joe’s

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Sundry Photography)

If you saw the headline of this story and thought to yourself, because Trader Joe’s has fun, yummy frozen snacks and meals that I can’t get at my mainstream supermarket, you’d be half right.

We actually have a lot of freezer aisle-related stories coming up in July (when it’s bound to be way too hot and we’ll all want to stick our heads in one of those cases) and we’ll be talking about Trader Joe’s freezer goodies a lot. In the meantime, though, we saw this story on NPR and found it super interesting.

(Image credit: Cassiohabib)

While Trader Joe’s does have tons of unique frozen appetizers, desserts, and meals that your grocery store doesn’t have, it’s also missing one major thing that your store does have. Do you know what we’re getting at? Take a look at the picture above.

The freezer cases at Trader Joe’s don’t have doors! And apparently that matters.

“That glass door, It really creates a fence,” Phil Lempert, also known as the Supermarket Guru, told a reporter at NPR.

And actually, Lempert says you can find TJ’s-like frozen food at regular grocery stores — people just don’t really look for it.

The theory makes total sense. Even though it’s clear, a glass door is a physical boundary that you have to overcome. And once you open that door, you’re basically committing to putting something in your cart. (Have you ever seen anyone open a freezer door and not grab something?) So more often than not, we just don’t look through the door or open it at all.

At Trader Joe’s, though, there are no doors — just open cases (fun fact: they’re technically called “coffin cases!”) that practically invite shoppers to peer in and pick up all sorts of products. You can easily poke around — totally fence-free!

More on Trader Joe’s Freezer Section

Do you find that you buy more frozen stuff at Trader Joe’s than any other supermarket? What do you get?