What to buy at Trader Joe’s

The unconventional touches make shopping at Trader Joe's far different than shopping at a typical supermarket. Stores are smaller and selection is limited. Trader Joe's stocks just under 4, products, versus the 50, carried by a traditional grocer.

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However, you can find basics, from bread and milk to meats and produce. If you've never set foot inside one of Trader Joe's nearly locations, here are the shopping secrets you need to know before you make your first trip.

11 Trader Joe’s Hacks You Need to Know | The Everygirl

Getty Images. The smallest bag you could buy contained four or five bananas. One day while visiting the Sun City location, CEO Dan Bane observed an elderly customer examine a bag of bananas, then put it back on the shelf. Trader Joe's was founded in in Pasadena, Calif. It was acquired in by Aldi Nord, a German company that also operates Aldi grocery stores in Europe. Despite the corporate ties, the two chains have distinct marketing strategies.

Aldi is price-driven and undercuts competitors by selling cheaper private-label versions of the most popular items at traditional supermarkets, says Jon Springer, retail editor for Supermarket News. Trader Joe's also aims for affordability, but its driving force is uniqueness. It focuses on its own line of mostly prepackaged products in unusual flavor combinations that you won't find anywhere else. Most supermarket chains put select items on sale every week.

But at Trader Joe's, what you see is what you get when it comes to price , says Jeanette Pavini, a savings expert for Coupons. That means you won't find any Trader Joe's deals listed in your Sunday circulars. The grocer claims that because it already offers the lowest prices it can every day, there's no room for sales, specials or coupons. To test this claim, we compared the price of Speculoos Cookie Butter, one of Trader Joe's most popular items, with that of a similar cookie spread found at Whole Foods.

At a Trader Joe's we visited in the Washington, D. In , the grocer introduced its first private-label product: granola. The grocer says the heavy emphasis on store brands helps keep costs low because it buys direct from suppliers whenever possible no middleman markup and then passes the savings on to its customers. Health-conscious customers should know that the company claims all of its store-branded food and drinks are free of artificial flavors, artificial preservatives, synthetic colors and genetically modified GMO ingredients.

To find out whether Trader Joe's really does offer lower prices versus other stores, we visited one of its Washington, D. We looked at the cost of everyday essentials such as eggs and milk , and priced them against similar items available at Whole Foods, an upscale grocer, and Aldi, a discount supermarket. Aldi is known for its bargain prices on kitchen staples. It's easy to get attached to your favorite snack.

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Just be warned that at Trader Joe's those snacks might not be around forever. Or take a jar of curry sauce, throw in already-chopped veggies and chicken, simmer 10 minutes, and put it over frozen jasmine rice you've heated up.

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Hibshman likes to keep things healthy by mixing things up. If you've been to Trader Joe's late afternoon on a weekend you know it's a bit of a gong show. The best time to go, Gunn said, is first thing in the morning when they've opened, any day of the week. That is the best time to shop. You will have this amazing experience where everything is stocked perfectly, you can be one of few people there, have aisles to yourself, you can take your time.

Shopping in the evening, on the other hand, is not only a little more frenetic, but may mean the thing you are there to buy is sold out, she said. Trader Joe's bargain-priced Charles Shaw wine is legendary. But the great wine values don't stop there. Even wines you can buy elsewhere are priced well, she said.


None of this 'buy so many bottles and get a discount,' here. As with the rest of the store, prices are transparent, with no coupons or complicated sale pricing to contend with. So what's on the shopping list for these Trader Joe's super fans? Here are their favorites and mine:.

If you eat salad every day fresh herbs can give it a flavor boost and make it gourmet. These are awesome for meal prep — throw them in salad or soup, or saute in some salad dressing to have as a side item. They're very diverse to have in your pantry when you want to have whole grain nutrition to sprinkle into meals. It has great texture.

15 things all Trader Joe's employees know that most shoppers don't

Most of the produce you will find at Trader Joe's is pre-packaged, which can make it hard to buy exactly the amount of fruits and veggies you are looking for. However if you don't mind buying your apples in sets of six and the extra packaging that comes with it, many of Trader Joe's produce offerings are incredibly affordable. In fact, the bananas are famously just 19 cents a piece. Facebook Icon The letter F. Link icon An image of a chain link. It symobilizes a website link url. Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email.

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Packaging isn't important to the chain

Pinterest icon The letter "P" styled to look like a thumbtack pin. Stock up on all of the seasonal items you love before they're off the shelves for the year. Come ready-handed with coupons and reusable bags to make the most of your shopping experience. Private label reigns supreme Part of what sets Trader Joe's apart is the chain's private label, which has something of a cult-favorite status amongst shoppers. Know when to shop Given Trader Joe's cheap prices and one-of-a-kind product offerings, it's no wonder the store is frequently crowded.

Coupons are welcome While Trader Joe's does not offer sales or discounts on its private label products, penny-pinching shoppers can look for and use coupons at Trader Joe's. Stock up on seasonals Trader Joe's Not all of Trader Joe's products take up permanent residence on store shelves. Keep an eye out for contests Bringing your own bag isn't the only way you can attempt to win a free gift card. It may not be your produce go-to Trader Joe's is filled with plenty of inventive products and an overwhelming amount of options, but it may not be the best place to shop for fruits and veggies.

Trader Joe's Evergreen story Grocery shopping.