Why Your Trader Joe's Label Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

Whenever we purchase a food product, it's probably safe to assume that we want to consume whatever is written on the package. For example, if we bought a package of Oreo cookies, only to open them and discover Fig Newtons inside instead of the chocolate and creme cookies we were expecting, we'd probably be pretty disappointed, not to mention upset. Packaging and labels are pretty important, and if the two don't coincide, then it can cause lots of confusion. This is exactly what happened to one Trader Joe's shopper, who recently took to Reddit to solve a mystery behind a seemingly mislabeled canned beverage.

"I unwrapped my Trader Joe's drink to find a completely different brand and product underneath," u/iwishiwereasleep captioned a photo of their organic sparkling beverage, which bore the Trader Joe's-brand label on the can. However, once they had peeled the label off, they revealed that the can underneath bore the label for Koe Kombucha, a completely different drink and company. Some fellow Reddit users were quick to jump to nefarious conclusions, saying that Trader Joe's really just repackages other items under their own label. "Trader Joe's does that with all their products. They use their branding on products from everywhere, u/OzzieSlim wrote. "I know for a fact their pita chips are manufactured by Stacy's," u/papaya_boricua chimed in. One user asked "Isn't this illegal?" while another simply wondered if the mislabeled can was really an April Fools' joke.

Many companies have been repurposing cans from other brands

However, this is not the major bombshell that conspiracy theory fans might wish it was. It is more likely that Trader Joe's is simply purchasing recycled cans from other companies to store their own brand of sparkling beverages. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there have been ongoing supply chain issues throughout the country, with one of the repercussions being a nationwide shortage of aluminum cans. As a result, many companies have been buying up cans from wherever they can find them to package their own products, simply slipping on a new sleeve with their own label before selling them, according to Fox Business. So although the original can might have a different brand underneath, the new label is the correct one.

"Companies do this to minimize waste and use up supplies. Saves money to just slip a sleeve over an already printed on can," u/ackea23 explained. Another user described the process as "unused cans from a similar product receiving new life," while another joked "This is how recycling works, didn't ya know?" So while the Trader Joe's beverage might have been packaged into a different company's can, the shopper can rest assured that they really are drinking the sparkling beverage they purchased, despite what some more suspiciously-minded shoppers might think.