Are Trader Joe’s Prices Really More Expensive?

August 14, 2017

One of the things I hear from friends most often is, “Gab, I want to shop at Trader Joe’s, but I don’t want to spend more money!” It’s a big misconception that Trader Joe’s products come at a higher price than than regular grocery stores. Many people assume Trader Joe’s products are along the same price point as Whole Foods. While there are certainly some items that may be the same, Business Insider reported, “our Whole Foods basket was about $30 more expensive than our basket at Trader Joe’s.”

If you’ve been into a TJ’s store, you’ll notice that every single product is under the Trader Joe’s label. Trader Joe’s buys each product in bulk from suppliers and then labels and distributes it themselves. POPSUGAR reported, “This enables Trader Joe’s to use a competitive bidding system with suppliers and go with the lowest bid.” TJ’s keeps silent on where they are getting their products, but there are taste tests to prove that many of their products are sold for significantly more money at regular grocery stores under brand names. Just look at this comparison from the Huffington Post!

Gourmet Gab Trader Joe's

Many bargain shoppers love Aldi for it’s incredibly low prices. Guess what? “Trader Joe’s is owned by Germany-based Aldi Nord, which operates Aldi stores in much of Europe. A separate company owns Aldi locations in the U.S.,” says Mike Timmermann. This makes sense because of the similar experience and  reasonable prices both stores offer. Even though Aldi will save even a few more dollars on groceries, I prefer to pay that small difference at Trader Joe’s because I love the cheerful, spirited and well-branded experience. Every Trader Joe’s store is marked with Hawaiian t-shirts, chatty employees, samples of the food and clever paintings on the walls. Don’t like a product you tried? Bring it back to Trader Joe’s for a full refund. Talk about a killer return policy and a way to ensure you aren’t wasting money on products you don’t like!

Another reason the store is able to save consumers money – the spends zero dollars on advertising! Relying on world of mouth has served Trader Joe’s well. People like me are writing blog posts, posting on social media and spreading the word about their love of Trader Joe’s for free. Blogs like What’s Good at Trader Joe’s and Instagram accounts like Trader Joe’s Insider have huge followings just based on their content around Trader Joe’s products. Speaking of Instagram, Trader Joe’s just finally started an account in March! 

Next time you’re making a grocery list or driving and see a Trader Joe’s, stop in to explore their products. You can do a comparison yourself and see how much you’ll actually save on groceries! If you’re feeling intimidated about going into the store for the first time, know that the employees are always willing to help and give recommendations. You can also read all about my monthly Trader Joe’s favorites here.

Love food. Love self. Love life.


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