Are you looking for a Trader Joe’s in Hawaii? Here’s everything you need to know!
So you’re wondering if Hawaii has Trader Joe’s. Maybe you’re hoping to get your favorite snacks (peanut butter-filled pretzels or elote chips, anyone?) or perhaps you’re looking for some new island-inspired Trader Joe’s treats. Regardless of your reason, keep on reading to find out more about Trader Joe’s in Hawaii.
Is There Trader Joe’s in Hawaii?
No, there aren’t any Trader Joe’s in Hawaii. To be extra clear, there aren’t any Trader Joe’s on Maui, Oahu, the Big Island, Kauai, or any of the smaller islands.
Since Hawaii is a chain of islands, it often takes us a lot longer to get the popular stores and restaurants found in the continental U.S., so it’s really not all that surprising to locals. (I still remember when we didn’t have Target!)
That said, there are quite a few states in the U.S. that don’t have Trader Joe’s, including Alaska, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Hawaii isn’t alone!
Why Aren’t There Any Trader Joe’s in Hawaii?
Since Trader Joe’s hasn’t had any official press release regarding stores in Hawaii, this is all speculation. But the obvious answer is money.
Opening any sort of business in Hawaii is difficult. The cost of rent and supplies is much higher than most other places in the U.S. On top of that, Trader Joe’s would have to ship all of its goods from the mainland – including its frozen goods – which would cost a pretty penny.
Trader Joe’s prides itself on being an affordable company that uses good ingredients. If they were to come to Hawaii, their profit margins likely wouldn’t allow them to keep doing what they do best.
What Kinds of Things Do Hawaii Locals Buy from Trader Joe’s?
Despite the fact that there isn’t a Trader Joe’s in Hawaii, Hawaii locals go all out for Trader Joe’s snacks and treats. Whenever we go to the mainland, we stock up! Speculoos cookie butter, dark chocolate peanut butter cups, Hawaiian mochi cake mix, and Everything but the Bagel seasoning are just a few local favorites.
Where Can I Go Instead of Trader Joe’s in Hawaii?
While we don’t have anything quite as fun and funky as Trader Joe’s and their snacks (you’re not going to find pumpkin spice hummus here), local island food and Hawaiian cuisine in general are pretty out-of-the-box for most visitors.
In other words, a trip to most grocery stores in the islands will have fun finds for you to enjoy. But be prepared for a bit of a price bump, especially in comparison to mainland Trader Joe’s locations.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Costcos in different areas carry slightly different items. This is usually most obvious in the snack sections, but you can really see it everywhere when comparing Hawaii Costcos to continental U.S. Costcos.
In the fruits and veggies, you’ll find things like apple bananas, lychee, and bok choi. In the refrigerated and prepared foods, you’ll can grab poke, kimchi, poi, and even beautiful Hawaiian flower leis.
Then there’s the beloved snack section. There, you can find everything from hurricane popcorn (a popcorn topping with Japanese rice crackers and seaweed) to li hing mui mangos (dried mangos topped with a sweet, spicy, sour powder). And all of that’s just the beginning!
Foodland might be the biggest local grocery store in Hawaii. If I had to pick, I’d say Foodland is the closest grocery store option to Trader Joe’s in Hawaii. They’re not really all that similar, but you can find easy-to-prepare meals, fun snacks, and good quality ingredients at both Foodland and Trader Joe’s.
Malama Market only has locations on Oahu and the Big Island, but this local grocery store is quite a treat! While the prices are high, it’s still a great place to pop in and peruse. Odds are, you’ll leave with a poke bowl or spam musubi.
Down to Earth
Down to Earth is less of a Trader Joe’s and more of a Whole Foods, but it’s still a cool grocery store experience. It’s a great grocery store if you’ve got a vegan or vegetarian person in your group.
Island Country Markets
With locations in Ko Olina, Kapaa, and Waikiki, Island Country Markets is more of a visitor-focused grocery store, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This particular grocery store shows tourists all of the best local bites to try with its hot dishes, including Korean fried chicken, Filipino pork adobo, and Japanese-inspired ube pancakes.
H Mart is an Asian grocery store, which means if you have an interesting Asian treat in mind, you can probably find it here. Green tea Kit-Kat? Done. The Japanese version of Hi-Chew known as Puchao? You got it! A spectacular variety of instant ramen bowls? That’s here too.
Don Quijote is more like the Asian version of Walmart than anything else. But you can find some cool snacks and ingredients here as well. You’ll even find Hawaii classics like chocolate covered macadamia nuts and Kona coffee.
Do you have any other questions about grocery stores or Trader Joe’s in Hawaii? Leave them in the comments below!
Want to save this article for later? Pin this post!