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Trader Joe's vs Whole Foods???

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  • Trader Joe's vs Whole Foods???

    I am mega confused. Why is Trader Joe's significantly cheaper than Whole Foods but both carry organic fruit, veggies, chicken????


    I know the fruit is fresher at Whole Foods, but I can pick through and look for the fresh stuff at Trader's which is not always fresh!!!


    Are there levels of organic LOL or am I missing something????



    Thanks for answering my random question!!!

  • #2
    Whole Foods has a higher consistency of quality food imo. Especially with fruit. TJ is quite cheaper though but less selection. Sometimes I go to both since they are a few blocks from each other where I live. I avoid their bundled fruits like apples, pears as too often half the bag is bad and you can't easily tell from the outside.

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    • #3
      So they are both Organic hence healthy, except Whole Foods has fresher food than Traders????

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      • #4
        It used to be that Trader Joe's did not always carry the same items week-to-week. Something you really liked would disappear from the shelves never to be seen again. This still happens with some things. But that was one way they kept prices down in the past. Good deals on stuff that wouldn't always be there. Nowadays they are much larger so they can get good deals on things that will be around for a while because they can sell a lot of it. In other words, the prices are different based on normal retail pricing methods and not because there are special levels of organic (although Whole Foods kind of made up their own levels for some things.)
        Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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        • #5
          I looked at three links:

          Trader Joe's - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          Aldi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/bu...anted=all&_r=0

          Though I skimmed, it looks like Trader Joe's is a privately held company and is owned by the same German trust that owns Aldi. Whole Foods is a publicly traded company.

          My very biased answer: Once a company goes public, no matter how good it was before, it becomes a whore that answers to stockholders. It takes a lot of extraneous bullshit to be the prettiest most expensive whore on the block and that overhead results in higher prices. In addition, Germans are better business people than Americans - or more to the point, their business models are usually smarter.
          "Right is right, even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it." - St. Augustine

          B*tch-lite

          Who says back fat is a bad thing? Maybe on a hairy guy at the beach, but not on a crab.

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          • #6
            OH you guys are sooo helpful!!!!!

            My hubby thought that there were levels of organic because there is with meat. Grass fed, but corn finished, 100% grass fed, pure grain fed etc.....

            So what I am getting from this is Traders is privately owned, so can therefore set their own prices??? The organic fruit is 100 percent organic but is not as fresh as Whole Foods.

            Thats an easy fix since I can pick through the fruit at Traders.

            Sorry the hubby is a die hard organic freak LOL and my grocery bill is going up at Whole Foods. I am trying to lower my weekly bill by buying grass fed meat and pasteur fed organic eggs at Whole Foods, and my fruit and veggies and nuts and coffee at Traders.


            You guys are freaking awesome!!!!!!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kiwigal View Post
              So they are both Organic hence healthy, except Whole Foods has fresher food than Traders????
              Yes in my experience. If you buy a bag of apples half of them might be rotten at TJ - has happened to me several times. Whole Foods has better quality control on fresh produce. Something being organic does not mean it is fresh, etc.

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              • #8
                Ya, really different business models.

                Trader Joe's = save money on non-perishables like oil, vinegar, sauces, seasonings. Dairy items are also decent, but I find their meat and produce very meh.

                Whole Foods = good meat and produce, wide selection on everything else but it's all overpriced so I only grab what's unavailable elsewhere. Salad/deli bar is pretty sketchy.
                37//6'3"/185

                My peculiar nutrition glossary and shopping list

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                • #9
                  Whole Foods has a much larger selection. The meat at Trader Joe's is prepackaged. You can ask the meat counter guys at Whole Foods to slice the meat for you, and they will do it for free. I ask them to slice my meat whenever I need it sliced to make jerky.

                  Just because a company is publicly traded doesn't mean that they aren't able to "set their own prices."

                  Whole Foods is more expensive because the quality of their products is higher. They sell the best tasting sweet potatoes, and everything is always fresh.

                  Edited to add: Disclaimer--I have a huge crush on John Mackey so anything I say is biased. I also want to work for Whole Foods when I grow up. <3

                  That said, in CA, TJ's is a great place to buy wine. They often have great bottles that are between $4 and $8.
                  Last edited by diene; 06-21-2013, 01:08 PM.

                  My journal

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                  • #10
                    We actually pretty much only buy meat at Whole Foods. At least, at the one closest to our house, we can get cuts of grass-fed beef for $5.49/pound… while Trader Joes only has grass-fed ground beef at $6.99/pound. To buy a quarter cow here, you’re paying about $4.80 per finished pound. We also see chicken hearts, chicken liver, and chicken feet there at good prices, too. Two weeks ago, we bought all their chicken hearts—all ten packages of them!. They also have duck eggs, which we buy when we can’t make it to our local co-op (Whole Foods duck eggs aren’t pastured, I believe.)

                    We like Joes for the cheep produce (especially bananas!), cheese, snacks, and frozen berries. They have the best price on kerrygold butter and almond butter around, too.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by diene View Post
                      Whole Foods has a much larger selection. The meat at Trader Joe's is prepackaged. You can ask the meat counter guys at Whole Foods to slice the meat for you, and they will do it for free. I ask them to slice my meat whenever I need it sliced to make jerky.

                      Just because a company is publicly traded doesn't mean that they aren't able to "set their own prices."

                      Whole Foods is more expensive because the quality of their products is higher. They sell the best tasting sweet potatoes, and everything is always fresh.

                      Edited to add: Disclaimer--I have a huge crush on John Mackey so anything I say is biased. I also want to work for Whole Foods when I grow up. <3

                      That said, in CA, TJ's is a great place to buy wine. They often have great bottles that are between $4 and $8.



                      UGH!!! I know. It goes back to the, "You get what you pay for." WE buy all of our meat at Whole Foods but I was trying to transition over to traders for everything else.

                      I'm still deciding whether to pay a large sum of money for extremely fresh food, OR hand pick everything at traders and deal with most of it not being fresh.

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                      • #12
                        We took a trip to TJ's last week and ended up throwing out almost all of the food. The quality was terrible even for the price.

                        The local co-op here has good prices on some things, just have to become familiar with the store to catch them. Joining a CSA or cow-share will save you more money. I'm ok going to the high-end grocery here to get some things, since they pay attention to quality. Asian groceries can have some good stuff too.

                        Really it comes down to what you cook and knowing the stores well.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ayumi View Post
                          We took a trip to TJ's last week and ended up throwing out almost all of the food. The quality was terrible even for the price.

                          The local co-op here has good prices on some things, just have to become familiar with the store to catch them. Joining a CSA or cow-share will save you more money. I'm ok going to the high-end grocery here to get some things, since they pay attention to quality. Asian groceries can have some good stuff too.

                          Really it comes down to what you cook and knowing the stores well.


                          Soo true!!!! GUess paying the little bit more is worth it in the end!!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ayumi View Post
                            We took a trip to TJ's last week and ended up throwing out almost all of the food. The quality was terrible even for the price.

                            The local co-op here has good prices on some things, just have to become familiar with the store to catch them. Joining a CSA or cow-share will save you more money. I'm ok going to the high-end grocery here to get some things, since they pay attention to quality. Asian groceries can have some good stuff too.

                            Really it comes down to what you cook and knowing the stores well.
                            Don't know which store you go to, but the TJ I frequent their checkout workers actually inspect all my produce/products for bruises, out of date or spoilage and if they find one, then they proceed to notify another worker to switch it out for a higher quality/fresh version.

                            I have also had no problems returning a couple "bad" products (peanut butter) without a hint of a problem. (Whole Food returns, not as pleasant an experience).

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                            • #15
                              I DO like the ends and pieces bacon at Trader Joe's. 2.99 for a pound of bacon? With big, ham-like chunks in there? Yes please. Decent eggs, well-priced nuts and great canned seafood keep us checking in there almost every weekend. It has something to offer the Primal on a budget.
                              Crohn's, doing SCD

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