Since the market basket we used for our price survey is largely made up of national-brand products, and since Trader Joe’s offers mainly its own brands, we couldn’t include it in our full standard price survey. Instead, we shopped 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.)

The figure below shows the results of these comparisons:

  • Trader Joe’s prices were about two percent lower than Acme’s and about five percent higher than Giant’s.
  • For produce, Trader Joe’s prices for the items it carried were about 25 percent lower than Acme’s.
  • For meat, Trader Joe’s prices were about five percent higher than Acme’s.

We also shopped Aldi using the same method we used to compare Trader Joe’s prices. As shown on the figure below, Aldi’s prices were an astounding 42 percent lower than Acme’s for our full market basket including comparable national-brand items. And these savings don’t appear to come with a huge downside: Although Aldi didn’t receive high ratings from its customers for quality, it was rated higher overall than most of its much-higher-priced competition.

Unfortunately, many Trader Joe’s and Aldi shoppers will also have to shop at conventional supermarkets. Trader Joe’s had only 40 percent of the items in our market basket in stock, and Aldi carried only 60 percent.

How Do Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s Prices Compare?

The graphs below show how much more expensive or less expensive Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s prices were compared to average prices of comparable items at Acme.