Trader Joe’s vs. Target: A Grocery Comparison

Food: Kitchen Tips

By: // September 1, 2016


If you’re anything like me and several of our Get Healthy U team members, you have about five different grocery stores you go to on a regular basis and know exactly what to get at which store… coconut oil at Costco, dark chocolate at Trader Joe’s, bulk seeds at Whole Foods and peanut butter at Target. But have you ever done a deep-dive price comparison between your favorite grocery stores? Now you don’t have to. We’ve price-compared two grocery stores that are more focused on healthy eating but still have good prices, namely Trader Joe’s and Super Target.

The Deets: Trader Joe’s vs. Target Comparison Breakdown

I went into Target and Trader Joe’s on several different occasions during the spring/summer of 2016 and compared the prices of our team’s favorite items as well as many staples. As many know, Trader Joe’s is committed to providing clean label products to its consumers and in response to a growing demand for such products, Target has also responded with it’s launch of its exclusive line, Simply Balanced (which we love!). For the sake of this comparison, the Simply Balanced brand was used whenever possible as a price comparison. When the Simply Balanced brand wasn’t available, other healthy brands were used where applicable.

Related: Top 25 Finds at Trader Joe’s

Trader’s Joe’s Brand Statement

“Trader Joe’s private label products promise great quality fare for exceptional, everyday prices. We taste everything before we put our name on it and offer only what we feel is extraordinary.”

This includes:

  • No artificial ingredients
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No MSG
  • No GMOs
  • No trans fat
  • No added hormones to any pork or poultry
  • Grass-fed, no antibiotic, nitrate-free meat offerings
  • Colors derivatives from only naturally available products
  • Quality ingredients

Related: Top 25 Finds at Trader Joe’s 

Simply Balanced Brand Statement

“The heart of the Simply Balanced brand is that it’s great-tasting, wholesome food with simple and recognizable ingredients.”

This includes:

  • No GMOs
  • No artificial flavors, colors and preservatives
  • No added trans fat
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • Certified organic product offerings
  • Responsibly sourced, fair and direct trade offerings
  • Animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones or treated with synthetic rBST
  • Kosher offerings
  • A lengthy list of prohibited ingredients

Trader Joe's vs. Target - both offer healthy options, but which one wins out on price? And what are the best things to buy at each place?

Trader Joe's vs. Target - both offer healthy options, but which one wins out on price? And what are the best things to buy at each place?

Trader Joe's vs. Target - both offer healthy options, but which one wins out on price? And what are the best things to buy at each place?

Trader Joe's vs. Target - both offer healthy options, but which one wins out on price? And what are the best things to buy at each place?

Trader Joe's vs. Target - both offer healthy options, but which one wins out on price? And what are the best things to buy at each place?

As you can see, Trader Joe’s seems to win out over Target when it comes to price. However, Target also offers certain discounts such as their Redcard and Cartwheel which can bring prices down. Target also offers more coupons than Trader Joe’s does and offers more variety, just look at the yogurt shelf. Trader Joe’s on the other hand is constantly rolling out new, unique and seasonal products that you’ll not find anywhere else such as cookie butter and uncured bacon jam (eww or yum?). Still, there seems to be certain things we will always love at Target and at Trader Joe’s alike.

What To Buy At Target

  • Simply Balanced Creamy Peanut Butter: Though Trader Joe’s wins out this price comparison, we like the texture and flavor of Target’s brand much better. Just be sure to mix is really well when you first open it to incorporate everything together and then refrigerate!
  • Tortillas: After going to many grocery stores to find tortillas that do not use trans fat, Target came back with the best tasting and longest lasting ones. Trader Joes’ tortillas don’t use trans fats either but go bad a lot more quickly.
  • Grass-Fed Ground Beef: Beating out Trader Joe’s just slightly when it comes to the price, we like getting our grass-fed beef from Target; plus, Target has more options when it comes to fat content (90% lean/85% lean/80% lean, etc.).
  • Simply Balanced Quinoa: Though Trader Joe’s and Target’s price comparison it the same when it comes to price by size, we like getting a bigger portion at Target so we don’t have to buy it as often!

What To Buy At Trader Joe’s

  • There’s so many TJ’s products we love and our list is always evolving, but if you want to see some of our team’s favorites, check out our top 25 finds at Trader Joe’s.

So what’s the verdict? We wish we could tell you to only go to one grocery store and everything would be cheaper, the best quality and taste great. But that’s just not the case. Each store has unique things to offer and we love them both for that reason! My general rule of thumb: if I know exactly what I’m going to make on any given week and need more staple ingredients than “meal ideas,” I’m headed to Target (or Hy-vee!). If I’m open to new, unique products, “ready-to-serve” options and meal ideas, you’ll find me at Trader Joe’s. Happy shopping!

And if you love Trader Joe’s, you’ll love our Trader Joe’s week-long meal plan and grocery list!

READ THIS NEXT: The Best Things To Buy (And Skip) at Whole Foods


Printed from GetHealthyU.com

4 Comments


on January 16, 2017 at 10:05 AM Reply

Thanks so much! That saves me a lot of effort keeping track of prices :)


on September 13, 2016 at 9:57 AM Reply

Another reason to shop at Trader Joe's for me is the staff which creates a huge positive environment at Trader Joe's. The philosophy and Mission of Trader Joe's goes with the people they hire lifestyle. The staff employees at Target are not a reflection of the healthy outdoorsy people. Again this is only what I see within my Target and Trader Joe's I can definitely relate more to the employees at Trader Joe's


on September 8, 2016 at 6:20 AM Reply

Thank you for the comparison. Love Trader Joe's, but it's quite a trip to get there. Happy to see Target has comparable items close to home.


on September 4, 2016 at 8:29 PM Reply

Thank you for the comparison, very surprised that Trader joes is a better value. You are so right, the Tj's tortillas go bad fast. Target is a convenient option but I do love TJ's



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