Are Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips re-branded popchips?

Image of Trader Joes and popchips chips

I’ve been a big fan of popchips and the other day I stumbled upon Trader Joe’s version called Popped Potato Chips that looked remarkably similar. If you’re a fan of Trader’s Joe’s it may come as a surprise, but many products that they sell under the Trader Joe’s label, are actually made by some well known companies. As an article by Fortune titled Inside the Secret World of Trader Joe’s goes on to say, “…big, well-known companies also make many of Trader Joe’s products. Those Trader Joe’s pita chips? Made by Stacy’s, a division of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay. On the East Coast much of its yogurt is supplied by Danone’s Stonyfield Farm.”


After comparing both products, they tasted and looked virtually identical. 

Image of Trader Joes and popchips chips

So I decided to investigate this a little further by comparing the ingredients. Sure enough, both popchips and Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips had almost the same exact ingredients (just arranged and worded a little differently), and both were vegetarian and gluten free.

Image of Trader Joes and popchips chips ingredients

I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but I think it’s safe to say popchips are making Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips. Apparently securing an account with Trader Joe’s is every vendors dream. “It pays on time and doesn’t mess with extra charges for advertising, couponing, or slotting fees that traditional supermarkets charge suppliers to get their products onto the shelves,” explains Fortune. A quick comparison on pricing also shows that a 3.25 oz bag of Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips retails for $1.99 while popchips 3.0 oz bag retails for $3.19. That’s a pretty big difference and no brand would wants consumers to know that a lower priced version of the same product exists.

One can only speculate since Trader Joe’s is notoriously secretive. According to Fortune, “Former executives say that Trader Joe’s wants neither its shoppers nor its competitors to know who’s making its products. And many suppliers aren’t that keen on consumers knowing that they produce a lower-cost version for Trader Joe’s either.“

Have you tried both popchips and Trader Joe’s Popped Potato Chips? What do you think?

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Comments (2)
  • Eric June 26th, 2012 9:39 pm

    I’ve had both, and while similar, I don’t think they taste exactly the same. Both are good, but their textures are slightly different, in my opinion. I don’t think one is any better than the other (I will buy them interchangeably). It’s true: The Trader Joe’s ones are much cheaper on average, and represent better value for money, but PopChips are often on sale in stores like Walgreens, and I will pick them up if they are so (besides, you have access to the more interesting flavors when you buy the PopChips brand). Ultimately, I’m glad Trader Joe’s makes a version of this product. They are a really awesome retailer, and I save so much money shopping there!

    Reply

    • Mike Takahashi August 2nd, 2012 11:53 pm

      Thanks for sharing Eric. On a side note, Costco in the Los Angeles area (not sure about other regions) also sells PopChips in large 15oz bags for less than $5.

      Reply

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