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 for our complete market basket of items were about four percent higher than Cub’s.
  • For produce, Trader Joe’s prices for the items it carried were about two percent higher than Cub’s.
  • For meat, Trader Joe’s prices were about 13 percent higher than Cub’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 36 percent lower than Cub’s for our full market basket including comparable national-brand items. But these savings come with a downside: Aldi was rated relatively low on many aspects of quality—but not as low as Walmart.

Unfortunately, many Trader Joe’s and Aldi 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, and Aldi carried only 59 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 Cub.