Why Trader Joe's Doesn't Deliver Groceries (And Probably Never Will)

Considering the immense popularity of Trader Joe's, you'd think the grocery chain might want to expand into offering a delivery service — but you're wrong. And on top of that, the company seems pretty firm about not offering delivery in future. The company did offer a fairly limited delivery service in New York City for a number of years, but ended that in 2019, and signaled no intention of resurrecting that service again. A key reason for this is branding. According to Trader Joe's, it's all about "creating a rewarding shopping experience" through in-store shopping.


In that same statement, Trader Joe's elaborates on the reasoning: "We're still just big 'ole fans of the neighborhood grocery store where we can say hello when you're looking around wondering — 'what's for dinner?'" Obviously, the brand prioritizes going inside the store yourself and truly experiencing it without a website or app in between (and, of course, taking advantage of the "try anything" policy at Trader Joe's). Corporate staff have also said as much on the in-house Trader Joe's podcast in May 2023, suggesting that the company wants you to browse in person (potentially leading you to buy more), and that its goal is to be a "real place" with actual human interactions.

There are some logistical reasons, too

While Trader Joe's has indicated that its brand is one where customers physically walk around (and presumably enjoy) the store, it has also indicated that it doesn't want to deal with the logistical hassle of setting up a delivery service. On that same podcast, a Trader Joe's marketing exec pointed out that offering delivery would require the company to potentially spend years setting up an online system for ordering, as well as cobbling together a whole new transportation network to allow it to run orders to people's homes. Of course, there's no shortage of supermarkets that have done this, but in the case of Trader Joe's, company executives said that the brand is unwilling because it would force raised prices on its products (plus, many customers expect free delivery, which would bar the company from passing on delivery costs). Rather, Trader Joe's has indicated that it prefers to invest in its workers, presumably to continue offering its quality in-store experience.


And while there's no predicting the future with certainty, it seems that if Trader Joe's made it through COVID without dabbling in delivery, the company is pretty committed to not offering a delivery service in the future, particularly since the company has been described by business experts as being wary of change.

But there are workarounds for getting Trader Joe's delivered

Trader Joe's is fairly firm on the no-delivery policy, to the point where it doesn't work with third-party apps like Instacart to offer a delivery service. But if you're really committed to getting those spice mixes or cauliflower gnocchi dropped at your door, there's a way to bend the rules to get Trader Joe's delivered to your home. The best option is to use an app like TaskRabbit or Dumpling. With this loophole, you're basically just hiring someone to go to the store for you. It may not be the most streamlined experience, since the apps likely won't have an inventory for your local Trader Joe's. That means there could be some guesswork as to what's available and what isn't. Plus, you'll generally pay these shoppers by the hour, so the longer you spend going back and forth over items that aren't available, the more you'll pay.


There are also Trader Joe's products sold on some online retail platforms, like Amazon and Walmart. You shouldn't count on getting a full trolley of groceries delivered this way — for example, Walmart mostly offers the signature herbs and spices. You should also expect inflated prices, since these products are often listed by shoppers who simply purchased the products at Trader Joe's and are reselling them at a higher price. But if there are only a few things you want (and you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby), it's definitely an option.