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10 Items I Prefer to Buy at Trader Joe's

Updated on October 30, 2012

I shop at a lot of different places to get my groceries. I go to several different Farmer's Markets throughout the year. I get certain things from major chain grocery stores like Safeway. I go to local grocery stores (like Berkeley Bowl) now and then. I get a few rare items from specialty shops. And I'm even thinking about trying out Spud, the local organic grocery delivery service. The reason that I change up where I get my groceries is because there are certain things that are better at some places than at others.

Trader Joe's is one of the places that I shop. There are things that I don't like about shopping there (for one, it's always packed!) but there are certain items that are better there than anywhere else I might be able to get them so I keep on going back ...

Ten of the items I prefer to get at Trader Joe's than anywhere else are:

  1. Pre-sliced fruit. There are other places I'd prefer to get my fruit in general (like Farmers' Markets) but sometimes you want to get fruit that's already been sliced for you and is ready to go. Trader Joe's is the best place that I've found for there. Their sliced mango and sliced pineapple are both fresh and tasty and wonderful. They also have a great Berry Medley. Yum. Perfect for taking on picnics. :) Yum!
  2. Certain types of dried fruit. There are certain types of dried fruit that I love to get from Trader Joe's. In particular, I love their chili-spiced mango and chili-spiced pineapple. Their regular dried mango is really good too. There are other types of dried fruit that I'd rather get elsewhere (the dried apples at Berkeley Bowl can't be beat) but there are some that you just can't get better than what you get at Trader Joe's.
  3. Cereal. If I could only buy one thing at Trader Joe's for the rest of my life then it would definitely be their cereal. They have healthy, wonderful-tasting cereals. Better yet, the boxes of cereal here seem to be cheaper than anywhere else that you can get comparable types of cereal from. This is definitely a favorite buy for me.
  4. Frozen meals. I don't typically like to get frozen meals that you just microwave or bake and then they're ready to go. They usually don't taste as good as food that has been made fresh. However, if I'm going to buy frozen meals, I always go to Trader Joe's. Their single items, like burritos, are tasty and their other frozen meal packages are good, too. In fact, I don't think I've had a frozen meal from here that I didn't love.
  5. Hummus. For a really long time I thought that I didn't like hummus. Then I discovered that I just hadn't had good hummus yet. The first time that I had truly delicious hummus was when I got it from Trader Joe's. In particular, I like top get their three layer hummus but I'm also a fan of their white bean and basil hummus. 
  6. Chips. There is no denying that sometimes you get a craving for bad chips that just can't be satisfied unless you grab Cheetos or Ruffles (or at least, that's the case for me) but if I was just going to get chips to have around the house as an occasional snack then I'd go for the ones at Trader Joe's. It's their pita chips that I like best but they have a nice little selection that I've never gone wrong with.
  7. Spicy apple cider. I've had apple cider from a lot of different places because it's a favorite juice of mine. I've had it homemade from farms. I've had it from a number of grocery stores. But the one that they sell at Trader Joe's is actually my favorite. Hot or cold, it's delicious.
  8. Wine. I know I'm not the only one who prefers to buy wine at Trader Joe's. They've got a great selection, they have good prices and there's not so much here that it's tough to find what you want. I like their Reggiano Lambrusco personally but I've had several others from here that I've liked as well.
  9. Chocolate. Okay, truth be told I'd really prefer to get my chocolate from a chocolate shop. However, all of the chocolate shops that I really love in San Francisco are just too expensive for me to shop there except on super rare occasions. That's why if I get a chocolate craving then there's a good chance I'm going to go get a chocolate bar at Trader Joe's. Or their chocolate-covered fruit would work for me as well.
  10. Peanut butter filled pretzels. If I'm being honest I'm sure that you can get these at other places and they'd taste just as good. I just never think about getting them anywhere else. For some reason I always think about when I'm at Trader Joe's. Not only is it something I'd prefer to buy here; it's something I always get when I go.
What do you prefer to buy at Trader Joe's?


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  • Valene profile image

    Valene 4 years ago from Missouri

    We just got two Trader Joe's in the KC metro in the last year or two and I love them!! I agree with you about the cereal, it is cheaper than Whole Foods and the produce seems cheaper too.

  • imichelle profile image

    imichelle 5 years ago

    I love Trader Joes! It's like the Aldi of Whole Foods. I could spend an hour in their cheese section alone.

  • Dani Katarina profile image

    Dani Katarina 5 years ago from California

    I am obsessed with Trader Joe's! I absolutely love that place. I looooove their ready-to-go caesar salad. Its perfect for lunch!

  • goneonvaca profile image

    goneonvaca 7 years ago

    my son works there and sometimes brings me these delicious seed-covered cracker-chip thingies.

  • sheila b. profile image

    sheila b. 7 years ago

    I've never heard of Trader Joe's, didn't know what sort of store it is. Really expected some kind of gift shop. Enjoyed this article, though. I, too, find certain stores carry certain items I prefer. Right now I want some chocolate...

  • Disturbia profile image

    Disturbia 7 years ago

    I love Trader Joe's and shop there all the time. Thanks for your great hub!

  • Winsome profile image

    Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

    Great topic! Trader Joe's has great salads, nuts, pie crusts, chocolate (their sugar free dark is terrific for cooking), cheeses and fruit. Kathryn, fyi, my son, Jonathan is the wine buyer for Real Foods in SF and has gotten rave reviews on his picks. Four out of the Chronicle's top five wines from local suppliers were his. The fifth would have been his also, but the name mean't something crude in Japanese so they picked another one. =:)

  • kartika damon profile image

    kartika damon 7 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

    Excellent information! I have friends in California who get lots of organic foods at Trader Joes - the frozen organic dinners are way less expensive there along with other items.

  • Springboard profile image

    Springboard 7 years ago from Wisconsin

    Truly an interesting store. I've only been there a couple of times, and it has some interesting items you can't find as easily elsewhere. My wife likes the wines, though World Market has a pretty good wine selection as well.

  • festersporling1 profile image

    Daniel Christian 7 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

    I love TJ's. Haha. 2 Buck Chuck is the best. The yogurts are priced the same, yet are made with only real fruit and no RBST treated cows.

  • Delaney Boling profile image

    Delaney Boling 7 years ago

    Good hub Kathryn! I love shopping at Trader Joes for my cheeses and also for their great selection of beer, wine and spirits. Where else can you buy a bottle of award-winning merlot for $1.99? "Two-Buck Chuck" is just one of the many reasons I shop there. It's just a tad bit pricier than some of the other grocery stores, but the selection, the service and the overall fun atmosphere keeps me going back!

  • Ann Nonymous profile image

    Ann Nonymous 7 years ago from Virginia

    I love this store, and thankfully there is one about 3 or 4 minutes away from my house (depending on who is driving!) I too love their chips and cereal. They have such a friendly atmosphere, a great selection of healthy products and I really like it when they allow you to sample their newer products. Great Hub....Thanks for sharing, Kathryn!