7 Worst Deals at Trader Joe's Right Now
Trader Joe's is not only recognized for its cult-fave products (you haven't lived until you've tried those Chili Lime Rolled Tortilla Chips), but also its budget-friendly pricing—even amid the nation's inflation problem.
While your beloved TJ's is able to keep costs low for a number of reasons, its choice to sell directly from the supplier is a key component. According to The Daily Meal, 80% of products are sold from the store's own low-cost private label. While this has probably saved you a lot of money, especially of late, that's not to say everything you'll find in the aisles is worth its price tag.
Good news for you: these trusty experts—that is, Trader Joe's super fans on Reddit—have sussed out the grocer's worst deals. Here's what you should avoid buying at TJ's, according to shoppers.
While the price will obviously vary based on specifically what and how much you're buying, Reddit users were quick to call out the chain's meat for being overpriced. "Meats, [in my opinion], I buy those elsewhere," one shopper wrote. Others chimed in, saying, "first thought was meat!" and "For what it is, [the meat] is generally overpriced."
Let's break down some examples. The All Natural Pasture Raised Heirloom Ground Chicken is $6.99 a pound, while ground chicken at Walmart will run you just $3.64, according to the retailers' websites. Similarly, TJ's Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage is priced at $6.49 and a similar chicken sausage product at Walmart is $5.12.
"I priced corned beef today [for] $35 [and] went to Schnucks and paid $14 for a better cut," one person wrote. "Their fresh turkey at Thanksgiving is horribly overpriced in comparison to local butcher/meat shops that offer [the] same thing."
While Trader Joe's stock largely doesn't include name brands, the retailer does sell Spindrift sparkling water—at an added price. According to one shopper on Reddit, it costs $2 more than at Target. Another user echoed this sentiment on the platform, saying, "They've raised the price of Spindrift Sparkling Water to $7.99 from $5.99. I can get it at my supermarket for $1.50 less."
It's not just the carnivores out here complaining about overpriced products at TJ's. It's the pescetarians too. "Their shrimps low key piss me off lol," one shopper wrote on Reddit. "I usually buy the 'large' shrimp for $10 a pack. The shrimp are honestly pretty damn small and barely have anything in the pack." The same user, however, found large shrimp for $8 a pack at Walmart.
While you might think you're getting a deal on mixed greens, you should take a better look at package sizing. It might not actually be the case. "Where I'm located, cereal and their bagged mixed greens salad both appear well priced, but the portions are tiny so when you do the math they're actually quite pricey," a user wrote on Reddit.
Fruits & veggies
Trader Joe's doesn't have the best reputation for its produce. Redditors complain about both the price and quality. "Their produce is absolutely terrible quality AND overpriced," one user wrote on the social media platform. Another added, "Ugh I buy produce from there in a pinch bc they're closer than the other grocers, but it seriously expires sooo fast."
The price difference isn't always drastic between stores, but it exists for sure. Sugar snap peas at Trader Joe's are $2.99 while Walmart is selling them for $2.54. Oh, and a 6-ounce pack of portobello mushrooms? That'll run you $3.49 at TJ's, but only $3.17 at Walmart, where you'll also get an extra two ounces.
"Most fresh fruits and vegetables I find for 1/2 the price at aldi," another Reddit user advised.
One thing remained consistent across the Reddit forum: users' dissatisfaction with the bakery section. Countless customers chimed on the subject, claiming things go bad too fast and the quality just isn't worth the price. "[The] bread pretty much molds on the drive home. Such a waste," one TJ's fan wrote. "Don't buy any of the bakery stuff… already made bread, cookies, cakes, tortillas etc unless you plan to eat them immediately," another added. "There are a few exceptions to this but they either mold very quickly or dry out and become rock hard."
The proof is in the pricing too. For context: Walmart's brioche-style buns are $3.42 while Trader Joe's is selling a similar brioche bun pack for $3.99.
Like the chicken, beef is also looking pricey as of late at Trader Joe's. Case in point: a Reddit user spent $20 on a 4-ounce cut of teriyaki beef recently. Another said that corned beef was cheaper at Schnucks too.
"I'm lucky enough to have an actual butcher shop nearby that's cheaper on meat and everything tastes better/fresher," another shopper noted. "They recently had ground beef for $2.99 a pound on sale and they ground it that morning. I'm absolutely not getting deals like that at TJs lol."