Comparing Trader Joe's Prices to Supermarket Prices
I've long been a Trader Joe's devotee and do most of my shopping there. I regularly get two bags of food for less than $50. At Ralph's, $50 buys less than a basketful.
Still, I run into people who think Trader Joe's is expensive. Why does it have this reputation? This is the place where you can get a case of wine for $24.99!
Sooooo, I decided to do a little research on the items I purchase most often and compare prices. I used my regular list and also threw in a few staples like milk and eggs (items I don't buy, but I figure most people do).
Altogether I looked at 20 items. Whenever possible I tried to compare products of the same size, if there was a difference I listed the grocery store first / then Trader Joe's.
I also deferred to the generic store brand (cheapest option) if offered. For example: the peanut butter is Ralph's Value brand - not Skippy or Jif. I also went with the cheapest (regular) supermarket price. If I found a sale item, it's noted.
Here are the results:
To buy all 20 items at a supermarket would cost $70.10.
To buy all 20 items at Trader Joe's would cost $49.80.
The 20 item count includes two different sizes of olive oil, so, if you take out the 500ml size it's:
Trader Joe's $46.31
The complete results are below - email subscribers may need to click through to view the google doc. Out of 20 items, Trader Joe's was cheaper for all but three things: peanut butter, apples and single-serving greek yogurt cups.
If you don't think the list was comprehensive enough, I'd be willing to research some additional products that show up regularly on your grocery list. Please leave a comment below. You can also read this checkbook.org post comparing Trader Joe's prices to supermarkets in Chicago area. This writer did a more comprehensive survey including items I didn't (such as meat).