The Real Reason Trader Joe’s Is Always Sold Out of Your Favorite Products

iStock.com, KenWiedemann
iStock.com, KenWiedemann

There are many behind-the-scenes secrets that keep Trader Joe's running, from its Morse code-like bell system to its relationships to brand-name manufacturers. Even some of the less-user-friendly aspects of the chain grocery store are there by design. As Food & Wine reports, the reason many of your favorite Trader Joe's products go out of stock so quickly has to with its unique ordering system.

In a recent Reddit AMA ("ask me anything"), a Trader Joe's employee was asked about to explain why many of the store's best items can't seem to stay on the shelves. Unlike other supermarkets, Trader Joe's avoids ordering more products than it can sell. The employee wrote:

"[...] we order in a system called 'truck to shelf,' which is what it sounds like. We don’t want to order too much. Sometimes we end up with too little. But for us, that’s better, because it’s less waste. It helps keep prices down."

That's a big departure from standard industry practices. Supermarkets end up tossing nearly a third of the food in their inventories. The Trader Joe's policy is not only better for the environment, but it's better for their bottom line. By only ordering what they know they can sell, stores can offer products at the lowest prices possible.

Other items are intentionally pulled from shelves to drive demand. Trader Joe's sells many limited and seasonal products, like pumpkin spice rolls and turkey and stuffing potato chips. Instead of offering sales or advertising what it sells, Trader Joe's plays with supply and demand to get people excited to buy certain products.

Keeping prices low and making certain items feel special are just some of the ways Trader Joe's has grown into a cult supermarket brand. Here are some more facts about the chain and its unusual business model.

[h/t Food & Wine]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.