How do Trader Joe’s and ALDI’s Prices Compare to Other Grocery Stores’?
Last updated in September 2018
Trader Joe’s earns high accolades from its customers for our survey question on “overall quality”—74 percent rated it “superior.” That’s a more favorable score than what customers gave most other area chains. But since the market basket we used for our price survey is largely consists of national-brand products, and since Trader Joe’s offers mainly its own brands, we couldn’t compare its prices using our standard price survey. Instead, we had to shop Trader Joe’s using a special survey that included the same fresh produce, meats, and dairy items included in our standard survey, comparing the national-brand items on our list with the prices of Trader Joe’s store brands. (When comparing prices, we used per-unit pricing—for example, price per ounce.)
The figure below shows the results of these comparisons:
- Overall, Trader Joe’s prices were about 17 percent lower than the average prices we found at surveyed area stores; its prices were about the same as Market Basket’s, 16 percent lower than Stop & Shop’s, and 20 percent lower than Shaw’s.
- For produce, Trader Joe’s prices were 16 percent lower than the average prices at all surveyed stores.
- For meat, Trader Joe’s prices were about one percent higher than average.
We also shopped ALDI using the same method we used to compare Trader Joe’s prices. ALDI is a discounter that, like Trader Joe’s, mostly carries its own brands instead of national-brand products, and so far has opened only a few stores in the Boston area.
ALDI’s prices were an astounding 40 percent lower than the all-store average for our full market basket including comparable national-brand items. But these savings come with a downside: although we haven’t yet received enough ratings for ALDI to report quality scores for it, in other metro areas where we publish Checkbook ALDI rates middle-of-the-pack on many aspects of quality.
Unfortunately, many shoppers at both of these unique chains will also have to shop at conventional supermarkets: Each carried fewer than half of the items in our market basket.