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Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Shortage (Explained)

Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Shortage

Have you recently been to Trader Joe’s hoping to get some of their famous orange chicken but returned empty-handed? This situation frequently happens, leaving many people wondering what’s happening with Trader Joe’s orange chicken.

Trader Joe’s orange chicken shortage might be due to supply chain issues, high demand, and product recalls. With chicken increasing in price, some stores aren’t carrying their usual orange chicken anymore. It’s frustrating, but you might need to check other places for this food item.

We made sure to explain everything impacting Trader Joe’s orange chicken right now, so keep reading to learn more.

Overview of Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken

Trader Joe’s orange chicken is a huge favorite among their customers. It features juicy, tender chicken pieces baked in a crunchy breading and covered with a sweet mandarin orange sauce. It’s incredibly delicious, and you can add chicken bites to various meals.

The grocery store’s orange chicken is immensely popular, so they can run out before you can buy some. Customers even voted the chicken as their favorite food item from the store for multiple years, so you know it’s good.

Orange Chicken Shortage at Trader Joe’s

Several stores and restaurants aren’t offering as many chicken items as they used to, including Trader Joe’s. Several reasons for the shortage make finding their frozen orange chicken rare for many shoppers.

If the shortage also affects you, this will sound very familiar.

Explanation of the Shortage

Trader Joe’s struggles with keeping their orange chicken in stock, partially due to how popular it is. With a high demand and limited product, many customers never see the store’s orange chicken anymore. Some people even wonder if the company discontinued the product.

However, that’s not the case. The shortage is due to labor shortages among farmers who raise the chicken and truck drivers who deliver the food. Some areas also don’t have access to packaging materials, like plastic, to transport the food safely.

Then, when an orange chicken shipment makes it to Trader Joe’s, it gets bought by customers very quickly.

Impact of the Shortage on Customers

The chicken shortage impacts customers in many ways. It can be frustrating not to be able to find your favorite products at a grocery store. Many people check multiple locations before finding a bag of orange chicken.

Plus, due to general chicken shortages, the cost of meat remains higher than it was in the past. So, some customers can’t afford to buy Trader Joe’s orange chicken as often as they used to.

Since the chicken is easy to prepare and goes well with rice and veggies, many customers are disappointed they can’t make the same meals they relied on to get through the week.

Other customers are replacing their usual orange chicken with other types from Trader Joe’s. The store does have a wide selection to choose from, so you’re likely to find one that you love the taste of!

Possible Causes of Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken Shortage

There are three leading possible causes of the Trader Joe’s orange chicken shortage. These include:

  1. Supply chain issues
  2. High demand
  3. Product recall

Let’s break these down in more detail below.

Supply Chain Issues

Trader Joe’s supply chain has taken a huge hit in recent years. Issues are starting with chicken shortages; the chicken might not even get delivered to the store due to a lack of truckers and packaging.

All of this makes it difficult for the frozen chicken to arrive at the store in the first place.

High Demand

Then, suppose the chicken makes it to your local Trader Joe’s. In that case, it’s a top-rated product causing it to sell out shortly after stocking. You’d need to get there early to get a bag for yourself before they run out.

Overall, the odds of someone being able to buy a bag of orange chicken are very low.

Product Recall

Lastly, there have been many products recalls at Trader Joe’s recently. Some chicken products contain bone fragments, which are a choking hazard and can be harmful.

While the recalled products weren’t the orange chicken, Trader Joe’s may have returned many frozen chicken items due to concerns, making it even harder to find the orange chicken.

Alternative Orange Chicken Options

Even if you can’t find orange chicken for sale at Trader Joe’s, you have some alternative options. You might even find that you enjoy some of these options better than the one Trader Joe’s offers.

Here’s what you should consider:

Other Grocery Stores

Walmart, ALDI, and Costco all have frozen orange chicken similar to the one offered at Trader Joe’s. If you want to eat one closest to Trader Joe’s version, you should choose the one from Costco. 

InnovAsian from Walmart is another popular option for shoppers. It’s easy to make and tastes wonderful, although it’s not quite as sweet as the one from Trader Joe’s.

Online Retailers

Amazon carries many different types of orange chicken that you can try. Interestingly, they also offer Trader Joe’s orange chicken, so you can buy it from them instead and have it delivered right to you.

Giant Food Stores, Walmart, and Schwans, also have orange chicken that you can purchase in their online stores. It’s a good option if you can’t buy it in your local grocery store, although you’ll pay more with the shipping costs.

Homemade Orange Chicken Recipe

You can also make your own orange chicken at home. It’s fun cooking your own meals from scratch, and you might even like how it tastes more. The recipe is also super easy.

  1. Cut boneless chicken thighs or breasts into bite sizes pieces.
  2. Dip the chicken pieces into mixed eggs, then flour.
  3. Combine one cup of orange juice, half a cup of sugar, two tablespoons of white vinegar, and two tablespoons of soy sauce. Season with ginger, red chili flakes, and garlic.
  4. Pour the orange sauce mixture into a pan with high sides.
  5. Cook the sauce on medium-high heat, adding sprinkles of cornstarch and splashes of water to thicken it.
  6. Heat oil in a separate pan.
  7. Cook the chicken pieces for three minutes.
  8. Toss chicken with your orange sauce.
  9. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken Last in the Freezer?

Generally, you can expect Trader Joe’s frozen chicken to last about a year in your freezer if it’s unopened. If you open it, the chicken won’t remain good for quite that long, so check before eating it.

Is the Orange Chicken From Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked?

Trader Joe’s orange chicken is precooked, so all you need to do is heat it in the oven or microwave. Many people prefer using the oven because it makes their chicken crispier. You can also use an air fryer if you have one.

It should take less than 15 minutes for your Trader Joe’s orange chicken to be ready to eat.

Final Thoughts

In short, several issues could cause the Trader Joe’s orange chicken shortage. There are serious supply chain issues, product recalls, and high demand, making it hard for customers to get the product they want.

As the chicken shortage ends, you’ll have an easier time finding orange chicken at these grocery stores. But, until then, you might want to consider an alternative. In conclusion, Trader Joe’s orange chicken is one of their most popular products, making it difficult to find.

Other issues can make it even harder, depending on where the store you shop is. We recommend ordering online or making your own when you need to satisfy your cravings for this sweet and spicy orange chicken.


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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