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, bulk seeds at Whole Foods and peanut butter at Target. Maybe you’ve wondered though, is Trader Joe’s expensive? In this deep dive we find out. We conducted a price comparison between Target vs. Trader Joe’s. We’ve price-compared two grocery stores that are more focused on healthy eating, Trader Joe’s and Target.
Trader Joe’s vs. Target Comparison Breakdown
I went into Target and Trader Joe’s on several different occasions during the spring/summer and compared the prices of our team’s favorite items as well as many staples. I wanted to find out if Trader Joe’s is expensive or as budget-friendly as Target.
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.”
- 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
“The heart of the Simply Balanced brand is that it’s great-tasting, wholesome food with simple and recognizable ingredients.”
- 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
So, Is Trader Joe’s Expensive?
As you can see from the price list and research, Trader Joe’s seems to win out over Target when it comes to price. I would not categorize Trader Joe’s as expensive.
Compared to Trader Joe’s, Target offers more 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 vs. Trader Joe’s
- 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 vs. Target
- 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.
And if you love Trader Joe’s, you’ll love our Trader Joe’s week-long meal plan and grocery list!