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Trader Joe's - I don't get it

Trader Joe's - I don't get it
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  • Post #241 - March 28th, 2014, 11:42 am
    Post #241 - March 28th, 2014, 11:42 am Post #241 - March 28th, 2014, 11:42 am
    I agree with sundevilpeg; I think Trader Joe's prices for perishables are extraordinary, but not the way the the author of that article means.
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #242 - April 16th, 2014, 2:51 pm
    Post #242 - April 16th, 2014, 2:51 pm Post #242 - April 16th, 2014, 2:51 pm
    Quirky, cult-like, aspirational, but affordable: The rise and rise of Trader Joe’s
    By Elaine Watson+, 15-Apr-2014

    If you want to see what success looks like in US grocery retailing, look no further than Trader Joe’s. Its unique combination of affordable prices, innovative private label items and gourmet, organic, and natural foods have helped drive sales per square foot to a jaw-dropping $1,723 versus an industry average of $521 (even Whole Foods can only manage $973), according to Packaged Facts estimates.


    http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Market ... ader-Joe-s

    There is an interesting comparative chart comparing Whole Foods and Trader Joes.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #243 - April 17th, 2014, 9:27 pm
    Post #243 - April 17th, 2014, 9:27 pm Post #243 - April 17th, 2014, 9:27 pm
    Hi- It is interesting that 47% of the shoppers at Trader Joe's make $100,000 or more. The article also mentioned that the store is gearing itself to single people and small families, and not large families.
  • Post #244 - April 18th, 2014, 8:39 am
    Post #244 - April 18th, 2014, 8:39 am Post #244 - April 18th, 2014, 8:39 am
    Things I've appreciated finding at Trader Joe's lately are bags of lightly salted cashews and almonds (containing about half the salt of regular--so a good compromise, taste- and health-wise, between salt-free and regular), and pistachio nutmeats (i.e., shelled pistachios). These are not easily found other places.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #245 - April 18th, 2014, 8:43 am
    Post #245 - April 18th, 2014, 8:43 am Post #245 - April 18th, 2014, 8:43 am
    riddlemay wrote:Things I've appreciated finding at Trader Joe's lately are bags of lightly salted cashews and almonds (containing about half the salt of regular--so a good compromise, taste- and health-wise, between salt-free and regular), and pistachio nutmeats (i.e., shelled pistachios). These are not easily found other places.

    Are the pistachios salted or unsalted? Costco carries large bags of shelled roasted+salted, but they're less useful for baklava.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #246 - April 18th, 2014, 9:53 am
    Post #246 - April 18th, 2014, 9:53 am Post #246 - April 18th, 2014, 9:53 am
    JoelF wrote:
    riddlemay wrote:Things I've appreciated finding at Trader Joe's lately are bags of lightly salted cashews and almonds (containing about half the salt of regular--so a good compromise, taste- and health-wise, between salt-free and regular), and pistachio nutmeats (i.e., shelled pistachios). These are not easily found other places.

    Are the pistachios salted or unsalted? Costco carries large bags of shelled roasted+salted, but they're less useful for baklava.

    The pistachios are unsalted. Because of that, when I combine them in a canister with Trader Joes' half-salt almonds and cashews, the resulting blend contains approx. 33% the amount of salt that would be in the equivalent mixture of "regular salt" nuts. (If my arithmetic is right.)
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #247 - April 18th, 2014, 12:27 pm
    Post #247 - April 18th, 2014, 12:27 pm Post #247 - April 18th, 2014, 12:27 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hi- It is interesting that 47% of the shoppers at Trader Joe's make $100,000 or more. The article also mentioned that the store is gearing itself to single people and small families, and not large families.


    Actually, the article says that while 46% of Trader Joe shoppers make $100,000+, an equal number make $25,000 to $99,000.
    "Life is a combination of magic and pasta." -- Federico Fellini

    "You're not going to like it in Chicago. The wind comes howling in from the lake. And there's practically no opera season at all--and the Lord only knows whether they've ever heard of lobster Newburg." --Charles Foster Kane, Citizen Kane.
  • Post #248 - April 19th, 2014, 3:11 pm
    Post #248 - April 19th, 2014, 3:11 pm Post #248 - April 19th, 2014, 3:11 pm
    riddlemay wrote:The pistachios are unsalted.

    A minor correction to my above. I was in Trader Joe's again today, and the pistachio nutmeats are available unsalted and salted.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #249 - February 3rd, 2016, 9:54 am
    Post #249 - February 3rd, 2016, 9:54 am Post #249 - February 3rd, 2016, 9:54 am
    Funny piece about Trader Joe's that has a lot of truth behind it:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/food ... joe_s.html
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #250 - February 3rd, 2016, 12:46 pm
    Post #250 - February 3rd, 2016, 12:46 pm Post #250 - February 3rd, 2016, 12:46 pm
    So in my experience my local TJ's is actually faster than my local Jewel. My Jewel is understaffed with poorly trained or just unenthusiastic checkers that makes lines move incredibly slow.

    However, I really don't get what people buy at TJ's. It seems like a lot of people's primary grocery store which is insane. Yes their selection of pumpkin flavored items is unparalleled, but when it comes to things to compose a meal their selection is limited, often overpriced and their produce quality is incredibly variable. If you are buying meat at TJ's it is very likely you are doing it wrong.

    TJ's is great for sniping things. The nuts, the spices (if I don't want to get to an actual spice shop), fresh herbs (so expensive at Jewel), occasionally unique produce etc. But as a general purpose grocery store it is untenable unless you eat nothing but snacks and prepared meals.
  • Post #251 - February 27th, 2016, 7:13 pm
    Post #251 - February 27th, 2016, 7:13 pm Post #251 - February 27th, 2016, 7:13 pm
    ..And the Unibroue Vintage Ale. I have cases of the 75cL bottles down in the beer cellar for both 2014 & 2015. It is an amazing beer, which will work for both beer trades, or for gifts to people who allegedly do not enjoy craft beer. :wink:
    Read a Beer Advocate thread of the 2014 product.
    Valuable links for survival, without the monetization attempt: http://74.115.231.54/~pudgym29/bookmark4.html
  • Post #252 - February 28th, 2016, 10:02 pm
    Post #252 - February 28th, 2016, 10:02 pm Post #252 - February 28th, 2016, 10:02 pm
    goat gouda and goat brie, great quality and cheap price, especially the brie.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #253 - December 3rd, 2020, 8:33 pm
    Post #253 - December 3rd, 2020, 8:33 pm Post #253 - December 3rd, 2020, 8:33 pm
    I sat in on the Zoom Chicago culinary Historians meeting with the person who wrote a book about Trader Joe's. There were several people there who wished that TJ's would do delivery, but they have approached them about it, and were told that they were never going to do delivery.

    Several people said that the store was more geared towards people that are not into cooking, and I agree. I have been there twice since the pandemic started, and they have the best COVID precautions out of any of the stores in the Chicago area, but I don't get turned on by the store because I am not into convenience food, and there is too much in the way of cookies and other unhealthy stuff.
  • Post #254 - December 4th, 2020, 8:10 am
    Post #254 - December 4th, 2020, 8:10 am Post #254 - December 4th, 2020, 8:10 am
    I agree they have the best and most consistent Covid precautions I have seen. But I wouldn't underrate Trader Joe's for its staples: milk, eggs, butter, nuts, dried fruit, flour, sugar, pasta, beer, wine, olive oil, chicken, etc. In other words, I wouldn't necessarily say it's for people who don't like to cook, per se, but for those that don't like to cook all the time or like/need convenience food and snacks around the house (for example, anyone with kids or, say, mostly stuck or working at home for some reason, like during a pandemic), I think it's great. Pot stickers, paella, pad Thai, naan, tikka ... they have all sorts of high quality items we as a family like to have around, plus a host of other surprises (from excellent personal/beauty care products to intriguing global offerings, like Israeli feta or French cultured butter), and while they do have a lot of cookies and other desserts, who doesn't?

    They also have a no-questions-asked return policy, which is icing on the (don't eat the!) cake.
  • Post #255 - December 4th, 2020, 9:09 am
    Post #255 - December 4th, 2020, 9:09 am Post #255 - December 4th, 2020, 9:09 am
    Hi,

    If you wish to catch last night's discussion, you have choices:

    Watch via Facebook.

    Or you can listen via podcast.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #256 - December 4th, 2020, 11:34 am
    Post #256 - December 4th, 2020, 11:34 am Post #256 - December 4th, 2020, 11:34 am
    TJ is also lower in price for several items that we enjoy: bagged arugula; bagged nuts and mixes; and, particularly, both St. Andre and the heavenly Delice de Bourgogne (triple cream) cheeses. Often, the prices for the two cheeses are 50% - 66% of the same product at other stores and both are regularly available at TJ.

    If you have ever eaten a slice of lightly-toasted WF Cranberry-Walnut bread slathered with DdB and topped with fresh berries, then you already know why it makes sense to stop at both stores.
  • Post #257 - December 4th, 2020, 2:21 pm
    Post #257 - December 4th, 2020, 2:21 pm Post #257 - December 4th, 2020, 2:21 pm
    Hi all!

    I'm the person from the TJ Zoom session and loved hearing about all the Chicago area markets.

    Cathy just told me about LTH. I feel like a new world of food friends has come before me! (I live in Oakland, CA, and I haven't seen such interesting posts since the e-gullet days.)

    Yet as I eat my lunch made with lamb merguez sausage from a local butcher, walnut oil from Whole Foods, pine nuts and oranges from Trader, I thought I'd share what staples I turn to from Trader Joe's rather Costco or the abundance of other great markets we have.

    1. toasted pine nuts (which are my pandemic indulgence on salads) - although I just bought a huge untoasted bag from Costco.
    2. blue cheese and feta for crumbling on salads
    3. tahini
    4. organic peanut butter
    5. blue corn chips with quinoa (there are a ton in the bag and they seem relatively healthy...when I can resist those little, thick curled organic corn chips?)
    6. dairy and eggs
    7. bagged carrots
    8. frozen organic spinach
    9. palak paneer frozen meal
    10. sun block lotion - which I think they don't have right now even though Calif. has ample sun!

    I definitely impulse-buy the imported triple-creme cheeses for those long, sheltering nights. :)

    I also think TJ has done something I've never seen anyone else do with their 1 ounce pre-packed cashews, almonds, and trail mix. That is such an easy, smart idea and I keep them in my back packs, car, etc. and always bring when traveling.

    (You just can't beat Costco for raw nuts and coffee as well as massive hunks of cheese and salamis.)


    I'd love to hear your must-haves in case there's something new I should try!
  • Post #258 - December 4th, 2020, 4:14 pm
    Post #258 - December 4th, 2020, 4:14 pm Post #258 - December 4th, 2020, 4:14 pm
    We are still not entering stores, so it's easy to list what we're missing from TJs, which for my money does very well by foodie home cooks:

    Cheap salt crystal and pepper grinders
    Pre-cut butternut squash for instant Ottolenghi preps
    the aforementioned toasted pine nuts
    inexpensive walnut halves & pieces
    generous fresh herb packages and whole herb plants
    packaged non-button mushroom varieties without rusting/spotting/mold (Amazon/WF can't get this right for delivery)
    red peppers for under $4 per pepper
    bulk citrus
    Endive and radicchio assortment
    canned dolmades and tuna
    canned beans
    $1+ marinated olive pouches with citrus
    frozen chocolate croissants
    full fat yogurt, sour cream, creme fraiche, buttermilk in smaller containers
    small form factor / price balsamic and oils (avocado, sesame, olive, truffle)
    absurdly low-priced cooking vermouth, bourbon, sherry, vodka for sauces and pies
    soyrizo and tofu stockup under $2 per package
    corn chips, popped dill popcorn, kettle chips
    dark chocolate
    hand and dish soap
    small natural sponges

    We've always done better elsewhere on proteins (especially fresh and frozen seafood), breads, fruit, cheeses and deli, name brand beverages and condiments, and most non-nut baking supplies, but for pantry stockup and some more durable vegetables, herbs, soy products and citrus I think TJ was regularly a 40% savings for us every other week for the same needs.

    I don't at all get the unhealthy stuff comment when every Jewel, Mariano's, and Pete's is loaded with HFCS, artificial sweeteners, palm oil, and trans fats and most (admittedly abundant) TJ snacks eschew them. I doubt any foodie chef is using one store or source for everything, so in the balance of picking and choosing I'm missing them at the moment (and / but am not yet moved to send a personal shopper there for us).
  • Post #259 - December 4th, 2020, 6:33 pm
    Post #259 - December 4th, 2020, 6:33 pm Post #259 - December 4th, 2020, 6:33 pm
    My handful of favorite TJs items:

    Dijon mustard
    Cornichons
    Frozen Chinese dumplings
    Bars of dark and white chocolate for baking (I prefer chopping up bars of chocolate to using chocolate chips)
    White whole wheat flour
    Joe Os (even better than the Cheerios they're copying)

    Giovanna
    Last edited by Giovanna on December 4th, 2020, 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    =o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=o=

    "Enjoy every sandwich."

    -Warren Zevon
  • Post #260 - December 4th, 2020, 6:34 pm
    Post #260 - December 4th, 2020, 6:34 pm Post #260 - December 4th, 2020, 6:34 pm
    Yes the snacks may be healthier than what you get at Jewel or Mariano's, but they still have lots of calories, and as someone who is trying to lose some weight, I am trying to avoid them. Somebody told me this summer that Trader Joe's had baked tortilla chips, but when I went to the store, they did not carry them, and I tried another bag of tortilla chips that had the least amount of fat, and I did not care for them. I only eat them when I make my own salsa in late summer, early fall. I used to buy Tostito's baked tortilla chips at Jewel, but the company quit making them during the pandemic, and Jewel does not carry them right now.

    I do buy frozen yogurt at Jewel, but I would rather have that than cookies.
  • Post #261 - December 5th, 2020, 8:57 am
    Post #261 - December 5th, 2020, 8:57 am Post #261 - December 5th, 2020, 8:57 am
    One thing I do buy at Trader Joe's is their Greek olive oil. It is $8.99 for a large bottle. Somebody who has a website on olive oil, recommends this olive oil. He has there is a lot of adulterated olive oil on the market.
  • Post #262 - December 16th, 2020, 5:25 am
    Post #262 - December 16th, 2020, 5:25 am Post #262 - December 16th, 2020, 5:25 am
    I was just in Trader Joe's yesterday, and I bought some parmesan cheese there for $6.99 a pound. Does anybody know its country of origin? I did not see it on the label. I assume for that price it is not Italian. They used to have some parmesan from Argentina. I wonder if it is from there, or if it is domestic? BTW- I noticed that Trader Joe's now allows you to bring your own bags.
  • Post #263 - December 25th, 2020, 4:36 pm
    Post #263 - December 25th, 2020, 4:36 pm Post #263 - December 25th, 2020, 4:36 pm
    seebee wrote:Ok - for you three.
    I'm NOT an avid TJ's shopper. Last time I was in one was probably early summer. If you happen to find yourself in one, find the tubs of clear plastic cookies. I usually find them lined up in shelves along the top of the freezer cases. Triple Ginger Snaps. Try them. Another thing if you dig swet nut things: Honey Sesame Cashews in the whole dried fruit/nut section. I'll stand behind these products as being rock solid. Like i said, I'm no huge fan or anything. You can walk out of there with something decent with those two things- if you ever have to be in one again.


    Tried the ginger snaps based on this post and love them. Thanks.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata
  • Post #264 - December 25th, 2020, 7:59 pm
    Post #264 - December 25th, 2020, 7:59 pm Post #264 - December 25th, 2020, 7:59 pm
    I agree that the triple ginger snaps are excellent.

    Among the other things I like and actually look for are the TJ's elote chips (a little spicy), sweet potato tortilla chips, Latin-style black bean soup with chipotle, the cheddar/gruyere cheese (TJ's own), and Dark Chocolate Lover's Chocolate Bar (85% cacao from Colombia--intense, not very sweet but very satisfying). Aside from being good, these items are generally reliably available (I often fall in love with things that turn out to have been a special purchase and are never seen again). Other than that, I browse and see what catches my eye.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #265 - February 5th, 2021, 9:58 am
    Post #265 - February 5th, 2021, 9:58 am Post #265 - February 5th, 2021, 9:58 am
    The neighbor, who appreciates food but does not have much time to cook, ~hearts~ Trader Joe's, she is a frequent flyer. The bride occasionally accompanies her to TJ's. All this by way of saying I've gone from a soft no to liking a few things from TJ.

    Most surprisingly Trader Joe's soup dumplings. $2.99 for a pack of 6, tastier than 80% of restaurants in Chicagoland. (tallest midget territory)

    Trader Joe's Joe Joe's Slims cookies, a crisper tastier thinner Oreo, I bought two boxes, wish I had bought ten, should have only bought one. :)

    Another snack I've been digging, not from TJ's, is dry roasted Edamame. Crispy, crunchy, lots of roughage, mildly addictive, sold in large format, snack packs and everything in-between. We split a case of snack packs with the neighbor, almost out and not tired of them yet. I plan on ordering more.

    Snacks, count me a Fan!
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #266 - February 5th, 2021, 11:26 am
    Post #266 - February 5th, 2021, 11:26 am Post #266 - February 5th, 2021, 11:26 am
    I went to Trader Joe's in Vernon Hills yesterday afternoon. First time in a year I had been in a TJ's. Primarily motivated by our dwindling stock of everyday-priced wines, which is partly a consequence of the cancellation of Wollersheim's Case Club days this fall.

    The anti-Covid theater at TJ's is a little off-putting. There was an employee manually operating the electric entrance door like a clumsy version of Tiffany's on Michigan Av. When I strode up to the checkout counter clear shield, I was brusquely told to "Stand on the flower!" several feet back in the line, the place that at most stores would be the on-deck circle. I'm all in favor of generous personal space but this made it impossible to see the prices as they rang up. Guess either there are never pricing errors or the customers are so well-heeled that they don't care.

    I said that this was my first time in a TJ's in a while. But I had been in their parking lot earlier in the week. There was a line of about a dozen waiting to get in. Puzzling to me, because there were at most a couple dozen cars in the lot and the store footprint seemed like it would be rated for roughly a hundred customers. I had been to a Dollar Tree earlier in the day with a limit of 68. Figured I had come at the wrong moment and the cheap wine could wait for another day.

    All that aside, I left with 7 bottles of wine for $37 without stooping to Charles Shaw. That's well under what I could have done at Costco or Aldi without Winking Owl. And I've had good luck with TJ's Portuguese vinho verde and roses before. Not exactly vinho verde weather here, but one can always hope.
  • Post #267 - February 5th, 2021, 6:18 pm
    Post #267 - February 5th, 2021, 6:18 pm Post #267 - February 5th, 2021, 6:18 pm
    I go to TJs every 3 to 6 weeks for selective shopping. They have some decent everyday wines in the $5 to $7 range if you shop carefully.

    Three items are notable for what they do no have in them. Both almond and peanut butter use only dry roasted unblanched nuts (plus salt for the salted versions). No palm oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil or emulsifiers. Those ingredients are endemic in the usual supermarket brands. Flavor is better without the extraneous saturated fats although you do need to stir well as the oil separates. The orange marmalade does not have any HFCS to mess up the orange flavor.

    I agree with the comments upthread about the Greek Kalamata olive oil.

    They are a good place to buy sharp Cheddar cheese at a reasonable price as they normally have several variations. Emmenthaler is a good bet when they have it (supply is erratic).

    The private label #2 and #4 unbleached paper cone coffee filters are a bargain at $1.99 for a 100-count package with quality equal to Melitta.

    With the exception of the mushroom ravioli and spinach-ricotta ravioli, the frozen foods we buy are simple: petit pois (not the big peas), French filet green beans, sliced leeks (infrequently available), tuna steaks and swordfish steaks.
  • Post #268 - February 5th, 2021, 9:36 pm
    Post #268 - February 5th, 2021, 9:36 pm Post #268 - February 5th, 2021, 9:36 pm
    tjr wrote:...The anti-Covid theater at TJ's is a little off-putting. There was an employee manually operating the electric entrance door like a clumsy version of Tiffany's on Michigan Av. When I strode up to the checkout counter clear shield, I was brusquely told to "Stand on the flower!" several feet back in the line, the place that at most stores would be the on-deck circle. I'm all in favor of generous personal space but this made it impossible to see the prices as they rang up. Guess either there are never pricing errors or the customers are so well-heeled that they don't care...


    Ironically, it is precisely for those reasons that TJ's--at least for the time being--is the only store I'll enter. They eschewed online ordering/pickup from the git-go, and from last March they stuck to their guns on number of patrons at a time. No nod-nod-wink-wink bending the rules crap to make an extra buck. And TJ's customers like myself truly appreciate it.

    As I said in another thread, I rotate between Mariano's and Jewel for online ordering & pickup only, and get staples there.
  • Post #269 - February 5th, 2021, 11:23 pm
    Post #269 - February 5th, 2021, 11:23 pm Post #269 - February 5th, 2021, 11:23 pm
    I can count on one hand the number of times since last March that I've been inside buildings that weren't my own house. That's because there are just too many variables in play for me to feel comfortable doing so. Even if a business really cares about enforcing safety guidelines, they can't control all those variables. That TJ's (or any place, for that matter) is actually adhering to their rules comforts me. I'd find the alternative far more distressing. For some of us and our connections, it could literally be a matter of life and death.

    I've never been a regular TJ's shopper but reading/hearing accounts here and elsewhere of how they're handling the situation casts them in a very favorable light for me.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #270 - February 6th, 2021, 7:21 am
    Post #270 - February 6th, 2021, 7:21 am Post #270 - February 6th, 2021, 7:21 am
    Ronnie, as I said in another thread, you can pretty much guarantee few people in a Trader Joe's by (are we north of 60 years of age?) shopping 8AM-9AM on Wednesdays or Sundays, at least at the TJ's Vernon Hills. Never have been more than 15 customers in the store at a time when I've been there.

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