Trader Joe's Faces Allegations of Egregious Copycat Tactics

Photo: Flickr / Mike Mozart


Trader Joe's aficionados, prepare to be disappointed. Whether a dupe or not, Trader Joe's is being called out for stealing smaller brand's ideas and bringing it to markets nationwide as their own.

Taste recently issued a story where they interviewed a small business owner, Chitra Agrawal, who is the founder of Brooklyn Delhi and creator of Roasted Garlic Achaar.

For those unaware, 'achar' ingredients can vary pending on the part of South America you are from and often times, it's a homemade sauce that people either mix into their dishes or have on the side as a dipping sauce. Achar commonly includes shredded mango mixed with spices such as masala, mustard, vegetable oil, and peppers.


Chitra noted that Trader Joe's reached out to her with interest to bring her Roasted Garlic Achaar to their store shelves, and weirdly after six months, TJ's ghosted her and happened to release their very own 'Indian Style Garlic Achaar'.

She couldn't help but feel exploited, particularly because of the way Trader Joe's spelled 'achaar.' While the sauce is commonly spelled with two A's, Chitra had deliberately chosen to spell 'achaar' with three A's to simplify pronunciation for non-Indian customers, suggesting that Trader Joe's version was a direct imitation of her product.

Trader Joe's remains silent on its private labeling practices, leaving us in the dark about the true events. However, when you next find yourself selecting achaar from the shelves, remember to consider Chitra's brand.