Since taking some heat from Greenpeace in 2010 for selling non-sustainable seafood, Trader Joe's has begun the process of greening all of the merchandise on its shelves. In large part, they have been successful. But while incredibly affordable, Trader Joe's is not, maybe, as eco-conscious as it could be. More recently, they've has taken some heat for not sourcing enough local produce.
The story of Trader Joe's might inform the future of grocery store chains. In the age of digital media and the 24-hour news cycle, consumers and watchdog groups have tremendous agency with which to manipulate demand at supermarkets. In 2010, Trader Joes had no choice but to change the products on their shelves -- consumers pick what they want to buy. As long as consumers remain interested in sustainable and local sourcing, that is the direction the industry will go.
It seems there is some hope on the horizon of our food system after all.
Teach Us, Trader Joes: Demanding Socially Responsible Food from The Atlantic