10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Trader Joe’s
We love Trader Joe's—but not all items make the cut for us.
Meat and Seafood
Trader Joe’s has great prices on many things (and some great samples!) but meat and seafood are not one of them. For instance, Trader Joe’s BBQ Cut Fresh Atlantic Salmon Fillets will set you back $9.99 per pound. Compare that to grocery stores like Fresh Thyme and Kroger, who regularly offer similar cuts of salmon for as low as $6.99 per pound.
You still need to take your vitamins. We’re advising you to buy ’em somewhere else, though. In general, vitamins at Trader Joe’s are more expensive than comparable offerings at other retailers, especially when looking closely at the package quantity and nutritional value.
While some grocery stores make sushi in-house, Trader Joe’s does not. This means it’s definitely not the freshest sushi you’ll ever eat. In fact, in 2019 Trader Joe’s recalled some of its ready-to-eat sushi meals and poke bowls after learning of possible listeria contamination. Not good.
While Trader Joe’s gets points for making their paper towels, facial tissue and toilet paper from recycled paper, they lose points for price, quality and performance. Dollar for dollar, their paper products will set you back more per roll than competing products, and they also lack the absorbency and softness of other brands.
Spices & Seasonings
It’s not that you shouldn’t buy spices from Trader Joe’s, it’s just that their selection is unreliable compared to other retailers. Outside of their stellar Everything But the Bagel Seasoning and a few other pantry staples, when it comes to dried spices, you might be out of luck at Trader Joe’s.
Sliced and Shredded Cheese
The price for whole blocks of specialty cheese may be the lowest around. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for sliced and shredded cheese. A 12-ounce package of Trader Joe’s Sliced Sharp Cheddar will cost you $3.99, whereas an eight-ounce package of cheddar slices at Aldi will only cost you $2.19.
Shoppers often cite that organic milk at Trader Joe’s has a closer expiration date than at other retailers and is priced higher, too. For instance, a half-gallon of Organic Whole Milk at Trader Joe’s will set you back $3.49 versus Kroger, where you can get a half-gallon for $3.29.
Yes, sliced fruit is a high-cost item no matter where you buy it. It’s the price of convenience. The prices for sliced fresh fruit at Trader Joe’s are comparable to other retailers, but shoppers often find that Trader Joe’s produce doesn’t last as long. It could be because they don’t slice fruit in-house like other grocers.
Broccoli & Cheddar Cheese Quiche
Just a quick glance at the nutrition label for this frozen food reveals it’s packed with 460 calories, 30 grams of fat, 160mg of cholesterol and 910mg of sodium. Yikes! You’re better off making some scrambled eggs at home with a handful of broccoli and a sprinkling of cheese. Here’s why most food at Trader Joe’s is so cheap.