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What to buy and what to skip at Trader Joe’s

By Lisa Gosselin, February 7, 2011 - 12:18pm

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Thanks to all of you who sent in your recommendations for this blog. We love to hear about what your favorite shopping items are.

Anonymous

02/07/2011 - 5:14pm

Death by Sausage - tasty pre-cooked chicken sausage at over 800mg sodium per serving!

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 4:32pm

I don't think our local Trader Joe's sells produce by the pound. The asparagus may have been a better deal than you thought. I have only tried one thing that I haven't liked and it was a limited edition wine.

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 4:38pm

I'm living in Jordan and I would kill for Trader Joe's jars of roasted peppers and their pitted olives. Also, they have great fat free cottage cheese. They used to have Cabot's and I don't know whose it is now. The unique items I buy there are dried chicken pet snacks for my cats (recommended by a vet) and STROOPWAFELS, the famous Dutch cookie. I'm married to someone Dutch and this is the only place to get them without ordering them online. Prices beat the Amsterdam airport. You're right about the produce and the meat, though I buy bags of arugula.

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 5:27pm

I'm waiting on Memphis, TN to get a Trader Joe's. My Nashville & St. Louis friends have great things to say about them! BTW, the international grocery chain is Aldi, not Aldo- that is a shoe store. We have numerous Aldi groceries and one Aldo. :)

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 5:35pm

I find TJ's has really good deals on bags of organic produce, especially pears and apples. A 5 lb bag runs me $3.99. If I can even find it in a local grocery store they are over $6. So I disagree with whoever said the produce isn't up to par. The cheeses are also fantastic and all TJ-brand cheese is free of hormones (rBST).
Favorite tasties: sea salt dark chocolate almonds are to DIE for; also love the frozen veggie burritos, peanut butter (also a good deal for organic), and lowfat granola.

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 5:43pm

Being a vegetarian, there are several veggie items that are must-haves at TJs: meatless meatball, corndogs, chicken tenders, burgers. I also love their soy cheese. Dairy, bread, and hummus are great buys. Lite coconut milk @ .99, capers @ 2.29, Pam-like spray @ 2.29. I love TJs.

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 7:03pm

Not all the produce is a pass - they often have organic red bell peppers at a reasonable price. During off season for my local bell peppers, these are a real treat! I've bought good eggplants there, individually. And the organic sweet potatoes are a good buy.

I also love some of their salsas - the Peach salsa and the Pineapple salsa in jars, and the mango papaya salsa in the refrigerator case are wonderful.

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 9:58pm

The produce, at least here in L.A., has improved in the last few years. Zucchini, bok choy, bell peppers, baby broccoli and berries are all consistently good and cheaper than at regular grocery stores. And their tomatoes are better quality and far cheaper. It's true the meat isn't always stellar, but the top sirloin (very low in fat) is consistently good, and for convenience I like the frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast that can be cooked from frozen. Cheese, wine and flowers are the best deals by far. My only problem is that nearly ALL of TJ's products are heavily packaged, creating an enormous amount of unnecessary waste. I hope someday they'll explore bulk items and un-packaged produce.

Anonymous

02/08/2011 - 11:20pm

Skip the fish except the salmon & packaged smoked salmon that is wild caught. Most of the other fish is from other countries. That is how they keep the price down.

Anonymous

02/09/2011 - 8:47am

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