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 the same as Safeway’s and were about seven percent higher than Giant’s.
  • For produce, Trader Joe’s prices for the items it carried were about 10 percent lower than the Giant/Safeway average.
  • For meat, Trader Joe’s prices were about 20 percent higher than the Giant/Safeway average.

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 45 percent lower than the Giant/Safeway average 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 Giant or Safeway for “overall quality.”

Unfortunately, many Trader Joe’s and Aldi shoppers will also have to shop at conventional supermarkets. Trader Joe’s had only 41 percent of the items in our market basket in stock, and Aldi carried only 53 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.