Trader Joe's Feels the Heat

But, ducks in the frozen food aisle to avoid the truth

Feature story - July 31, 2009
About a month ago, Greenpeace unleashed its public campaign to pressure Trader Joe's to finally adopt sustainable seafood purchasing policies throughout all of their stores. Trader Joe's came in 17th out of the 20 stores evaluated in Greenpeace’s analysis of seafood sustainability policies at major supermarket chains. That is the worst ranking of any national store. Trader Joe's has been feeling the heat from the mock website (www.traitorjoe.com), relentless phone calls from supporters, thoughtful karaoke songs from shoppers and in-store demonstrations and questions to store managers from activists across the country.

The pressure is working, Trader Joe's is hearing our message and realizing that ocean conservation is important to all of us. But, instead of responding with truth and honesty when confronted, Trader Joe's has resorted to telling more lies and being less transparent to their customers.

Within a week of receiving feedback from the public, Trader Joe's announced that they would consider recommendations published by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in their seafood sourcing decisions.  Unfortunately, the company backpedaled immediately afterward, stating that they may continue selling red list species. They don't have an agreement or partnership with the Aquarium on sustainable seafood.

It's incredibly important for companies like Trader Joe's to not only develop sustainable seafood policies, but to do so with the aid of a transparent, science-based 3rd party like the Aquarium. But, no actions have yet been taken - there's still red list fish like orange roughy in Trader Joe's freezers. So far, it appears that Trader Joe's has developed clever lip service and more greenwashing than actual policy shifts, once again.

Trader Joe's has come up with some "less-than-honest" responses when questioned about their sustainable seafood by activists and shoppers. In order to be transparent and get the actual truth out there, we compiled a list of frequent questions from supporters. Greenpeace scientists and policy experts have compiled the answers to help you learn the truth and see through the haze of Trader Joe's greenwash.

Trader Joe's FAQs

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