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—for example, price per ounce.)

The figure below shows the results of these comparisons:

  • Trader Joe’s prices were about seven percent higher than Fred Meyer’s, about the same as QFC’s prices, and about two percent lower than Albertsons’ and Safeway’s.
  • For produce, Trader Joe’s prices for the items it carried were about 11 percent lower than the big-chain average.
  • For meat, Trader Joe’s prices were about nine percent higher than the big-chain average.

Unfortunately, many Trader Joe’s shoppers will also have to shop at conventional supermarkets. Trader Joe’s had only 43 percent of the items in our market basket in stock.

How Do Trader Joe’s Prices Compare?

The graph below shows how much more expensive or less expensive Trader Joe’s prices were compared to average prices of comparable items at Albertsons, Fred Meyer, QFC, and Safeway.