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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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What I wouldn't do for a T.J.'s in Hawaii. After all Hawaii is their theme, you'd think there could be a store here. I loved reading everyone's favorites. Great article.


02/09/2011 - 5:49pm

Kalamata olives, roasted red and yellow peppers, beer, wine, low fat cheese, capers, frozen uncooked shrimp, tortillas, yogurt, peanut butter, nuts, raisins, extra virgin olive oil.


02/09/2011 - 12:16pm

I too must disagree with the produce critique, at least with respect to the peaches. I bought a box containing a dozen peaches that were absolutely delicious!!! I've also bought bulk blueberries that were perfectly find. Finally, I love TJ's hand made 100% whole wheat tortillas, nonfat French vanilla yogurt, 50% reduced salt pistachios, and reduced guilt wheat crisps.


02/09/2011 - 11:52am

Pet products! High quality cat food (dry and canned) at much lower than pet store prices, great prices on brand name treats like Charlie Bears for dogs.


02/09/2011 - 9:03am

I don't know if these are good bargains, but I like all the dried fruit packets at Trader Joe's.


02/09/2011 - 8:41am

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.


02/09/2011 - 7:47am

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.


02/08/2011 - 10:20pm

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.


02/08/2011 - 8:58pm

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.


02/08/2011 - 6:03pm

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.


02/08/2011 - 4:43pm

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