From Joe-Joe's sandwich cookies to Joe's O's cereal, Trader Joe's is known for selling various items that are nearly identical to major name-brand products. While some shoppers have labeled these as "knockoffs" or "dupes," others have crowned TJ's products as the clear winners over their household-name counterparts.
Despite many Trader Joe's items bearing a striking resemblance to the big brands, the grocery chain doesn't openly discuss its suppliers. However, there is still enough proof to pinpoint the brands that have supplied some TJ's products over the years, such as Wonderful Pistachios and ConAgra Foods.
Regardless of the supplier, opting for store brands like Trader Joe's can be an effective way to save some money. Plus, many shoppers even prefer them. Here are some Trader Joe's "dupes" that customers claim to be just as good—or even better—than the leading brands.
Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips
Frequently compared to Takis Fuego, this Trader Joe's snack is a crowd-pleaser among shoppers, recently winning the "Favorite Snack" and "Favorite Overall" categories in this year's Customer Choice Awards.
On Amazon, multiple people shared their preference for the Trader Joe's chips, with one calling them "ten times tastier than takis." Additionally, several customers noted that Takis are spicier than TJ's chips, which appears to be a common perception among consumers, according to the blog Aisle of Shame.
Another selling point of Trader Joe's Chili & Lime Flavored Rolled Corn Tortilla Chips is that unlike Takis, which contain artificial colors like Red 40 and Yellow 6, TJ's uses vegetable juice concentrate, paprika extract, turmeric extract, and beta carotene to give the chips their vibrant hue. Additionally, you can score a nine-ounce bag of the Trader Joe's snack for $2.99, while the cheapest 9.9-ounce bag of Takis appears to be available at Walmart for $3.78.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
This sweet treat has received so much love from customers over the years that Trader Joe's inducted it into its Product Hall of Fame in January. Last month, one Reddit user started a thread about the peanut butter-chocolate item, calling it "way better than Reese's." Another Redditor wrote that the product is "the most special thing at Trader Joe's."
Squiggly Knife Cut Style Noodles
These ruffly-edged air-dried noodles were first spotted in Trader Joe's stores back in January—and they've continued to be a hit for months. Scalpers have even resold the item for up to $20, according to a Feb. 24 editorial in the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Since the launch of Trader Joe's Squiggly Knife Cut Style Noodles, social media users have often compared the product to celebrity chef David Chang's own Momofuku brand of air-dried noodles. Both products are made in Taiwan. Some Reddit users have speculated they may even share the same manufacturer. Momofuku's five-count packages are $11.99 on Target's website, while the Trader Joe's four-count variety is only $4.99.
Among the rave reviews of the product, many shoppers have expressed that the sauce included in the package is somewhat bland. In typical TikTok user fashion, countless TJ's customers have shared how they elevate the noodles, with content creator Jasmine Pak adding minced garlic, chili crisp, and reserved noodle water to the sauce. Pak then topped the dish with a fried egg, scallions, and sesame seeds.
Daily Facial Sunscreen
Last June, Trader Joe's released its Daily Facial Sunscreen, which was quickly dubbed a "dupe" of the cult-favorite Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen. Both products are oil-free, SPF 40, have an "invisible" clear appearance (though their coloring is slightly different), and share similar ingredient lists. This includes four chemical UV blocking agents, which Shape noted were "in slightly different percentages."
Aside from the minor differences in the sunscreens' formulas, the biggest distinction seems to be the price. While both items come in 1.7-fluid ounce packages, Trader Joe's Daily Facial Sunscreen sells for $8.99. The Supergoop sunscreen clocks in at $38.
"…Tbh, I love it more than Supergoops Unseen Sunscreen, which I thought this would be a dupe for but no, it's BETTER! No greasy/sticky feeling and it's absorbed almost instantly!" one customer wrote on Trader Joe's Instagram post from last summer. "…It makes the skin feel so smooth after applying and doesn't leave any white cast," another one added.