The frozen food section of a SE Portland Trader Joe’s. This popular grocery store is known for its delicious and affordable meal options. Photo by Wren Helzer-Florer.

Generation Z (1995-2012) is one of the busiest, most goal-oriented generations yet. With a never slowing educational and occupational environment, they must be constantly hustling. Robert Bornstein, a psychology professor at Adelphi University, believes that “Busyness is a young person’s game,” one that they are ready to win. This motivation is coming at a cost.
In a world where students brag about how little sleep they get or how many meals they didn’t have time for, the world’s rising leaders aren’t taking care of themselves. This, in combination with unaffordable healthy options, contributes to rising obesity rates. Obesity has more than tripled since the 70’s. States are struggling to figure out how to solve this internal crisis.

There is a simple solution that is quick, affordable, and healthy: Trader Joe’s Frozen foods. They produce over eighty percent of their sold products, all of which are GMO free. By producing food under their own name, Trader Joe’s didn’t have to spend money on additional shipping and business fees. Instead of taking the extra money, Trader Joe’s chose to put it in the costumer’s pocket. They reduced prices and by doing so reduced economic stress on their customer. This is a clear goal on their website: “[Producing our own products] cut our costs and saved you money. Still does. And that’s important, because ‘Value’ is a concept we take very seriously. And by ‘Value,’ we mean great everyday prices on all of our great products — no sales, no gimmicks, no clubs to join, no special cards to swipe.”

Customers can enter their store and feel as if they are getting the insider deal without any work necessary.

While Trader Joe’s has great fresh foods, it’s the frozen food section that seems appealing to young busy-bodies. A shoe box worth of baked sweet potato fries are 3.99, while other organic companies like Blue Ridge Organics sell the same size for six dollars. A family-size bag of brown rice stir fry costs 2.99. It cooks in five minutes, and there is little room for mistakes. Actually there are two places. One may forget to add the olive oil to the pan beforehand, instead using water. Secondly you may add the whole bag as opposed to the two cups recommended. If you add both mistakes together, speaking from experience, it still tastes fantastic. Other fast options don’t have the same advantages. While it is speedy, take out will give you half the amount for three to five times the cost. Both items provide invaluable simple carbs that provide quick clean energy and nutrients. They break down easily and won’t stick on your gut!

Low prices and healthy options don’t only appeal to busy entrepreneurs, they also appeal to families. With over half of Franklin students being on the Free and Reduced Lunch Program, Trader Joe’s creates an amazing option for families of every income. Parents no longer need to pick what they have to compromise. Speed, health and affordability can all be picked up in one trip to their local TJ’s. This creates an empowered generation of young people who are creating change while being well fed.

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