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Why Are Trader Joe’s Portions So Small? (Explained)

why are trader joes portions so small

Are you a fan of Trader Joe’s? Most customers love the grocery chain for their bright, colorful stores and extremely helpful staff. Not to mention the variety of interesting food delicacies with quirky names that you won’t find elsewhere!

However, customers frequently complain that Trader Joe’s portions are smaller as compared to other stores which can be inconvenient. There could be lots of factors behind why Trader Joe’s carries smaller portions of its food products.

One, to cut down on costs. Two, this gives customers greater control over how much they eat and allows them to limit their portions more effectively if they want to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Let’s discuss all of these in detail!

Possible Reasons for the Small Portion Sizes at Trader Joe’s

Annoyed by the small portions at Trader Joe’s that seem unnecessary and uneconomical? There could be plenty of reasons behind them.

First of all, selling smaller portions at the same price as compared to other stores is profitable for the brand and could be a type of cost-saving measure. 

Another reason why Trader Joe’s might keep smaller portion sizes is to promote healthy eating and make portion control easier for their customers.

If you’re looking into losing weight or just want to eat healthier by reducing the size of your food portions (especially those guilty pleasures!) this might be beneficial for you. Smaller portions also mean that you waste less food and actually end up saving money.

Last but not the least, one more possibility why Trader Joe’s offers smaller portions in comparison to other stores is that they want to provide a more extensive variety of food in the limited space they have available. As a result, they are able to offer a wider range of products to their customers.

Impact of Small Portion Sizes at Trader Joe’s


Although it might be surprising for some, Trader Joe’s smaller portions have their advantages. First of all, it is easier to maintain healthy eating habits and stay in control of your diet with smaller food portions.

This decreases the chances of overeating and makes helps you control your food intake and keep count of calories if you are on a diet.

Secondly, having less food in a package decreases the chances of food wastage since you are more likely to consume all of whatever you buy.

Buying bigger packages of food might mean that you’re getting more value for your money but it could also mean that more food gets wasted. Surprisingly, this could be more costly in the long run! 

This is especially true for fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables that are expensive and go bad quickly unless consumed within a short period.

Trader Joe’s smaller portions also allow you to try new products without worrying about wasting a lot of food if you don’t like them. Since part of Trader Joe’s charm is the interesting and unique food items it offers, this is particularly useful!


This one’s a no-brainer—small portions mean that you’ll have to shop more frequently, which can be a nuisance if you live at some distance from the store or find it hard to take out the time for shopping trips every day.

Secondly, since most of Trader Joe’s portions for their ready-made meals are for 1-2 persons, you’ll probably have to buy quite a few if you have a large family to feed or want to stock up.

Another problem with having smaller portions is that the cost of packaging adds up and you end up paying slightly more for the same amount of product. Additionally, excessive packaging creates a lot of plastic waste that is harmful to the environment.

Comparison to Other Grocery Stores

As compared to other grocery stores, Trader Joe’s usually has smaller or similar portion sizes when it comes to ready-made meals. However, the exact quantity and cost vary from item to item and are difficult to compare since Trader Joe’s sells mostly own-brand products. 

These variations mean that you’ll have to compare each individual product at different stores to get an idea of which is cheaper or has a larger portion size.

For example, a portion of Trader Joe’s BBQ Teriyaki Chicken comes in a pack of 21 oz, and a similar Chicken Teriyaki Bowl at Whole foods is 14 oz. However, Trader Joe’s has smaller portion sizes in other products.

The real difference is noticeable when it comes to buying in bulk. That is where stores such as Whole Foods and Costco are clear winners as Trader Joe’s carries just a few products in bulk.

On the other hand, other grocery stores not only offer customers lots of variety and choices in different products but also sell many products in bulk.

For example, you can stock up on grains and dry fruits from Whole Foods by buying in bulk. This allows you to save quite a bit of money!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the portion size of Trader Joe’s ready-to-eat meals?

Most Trader Joe’s ready-to-eat meals are meant for 1-3 persons, although it varies from product to product.

Is Trader Joe’s expensive?

Trader Joe’s is actually known for being relatively cheaper than other grocery stores offering similar products, and is one of the primary reasons why a lot of people love to shop at Trade Joe’s.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, Trader Joe’s smaller portion sizes can be due to a variety of reasons. First of all, it could be a type of cost-saving measure taken by the brand.

Another way of looking at it is that this is a way to help people stay in control of the amount of food they eat by limiting the portion size. It also results in less food wastage overall especially when it comes to fresh produce.

On the other hand, smaller portion sizes can be pretty annoying and inconvenient if you are shopping for a large family. They also mean you have to shop more frequently which can be difficult if you have a hectic schedule. 


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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