Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods?

Which is Better – Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods Market?


We recently posed this question to the community and received a multitude of replies from all directions. The general gist was that Whole Foods Market (WFM) has better quality food and that Trader Joe’s (TJ) has better prices. These are, of course, generalizations.

WFM has over 350 locations across the US, compared to just over 400 for TJ. Over half of Trader Joe’s stores are in California though. Both chains had about 12 Billion dollars in revenue last year. TJ’s is owned by Aldi, a German based global discount supermarket chain.

Whole Foods publishes a list of unacceptable ingredients that is very much in line with the Fooducate’s philosophy. You won’t find foods with artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils, or artificial dyes at WFM.

Trader Joe’s claims the following for all products under the “Trader Joe’s” brand name (which is a large percentage of food sold there): “The finest quality, natural ingredients.”  NO artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, NO MSG, NO added Trans Fats.

All Trader Joe’s branded foods are non-GMO. The same is true for Whole Foods Market’s 365 brand. But both retailer still sell food with genetically modified ingredients. Last year, WFM announced that, by 2018, all products sold in its stores would need to be labeled for GMO content.

When it comes to organic food, both TJ and WFM have a large selection of items. WFM has a larger selection of organic produce, but sometimes the prices do seem extremely high.

At Whole Foods Market, items are typically priced higher than similar products at Trader Joe’s. Here is a  comparison from earlier this year.

Hopefully the above information provides you some more ammo to make a decision. There are of course other options. On one end, you have farmers markets, their produce has a much better taste than anything that has been sitting on a shelf, even at Whole Foods Market. Way on the other end of the size spectrum, did you know that Walmart is the biggest organic player in the US today? With the predictable low prices.

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