7

votes

Special trip to Trader Joes/Whole Foods, what do I stock up on?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 24, 2012 at 11:33 PM

Going to to the "big city" tomorrow and thought I'd squeeze in a visit to Whole Foods and/or Trader Joes. Anything in particular there that I should stock up on that are otherwise hard to find in average grocery stores? I might just go marvel at the Kerrygold butter!

Or are they simply overhyped?

And what happens when it gets real in the Whole Foods parking lot?

EDIT: Semi-serious question: Who has better meats? I'm lucky enough to have my own farm-fresh beef and wild venison. I'd like a couple good pork roasts to make some carnitas from.

EDIT after the trip: Trader Joes... small, like a trendier Aldi's market, in that the selection seemed quite limited. Produce was unimpressive, next to no dairy or meat selection. Seemed like it was mostly dry pantry goods. I picked up almond meal (half price of what I pay locally), organic raw almonds (a few bucks cheaper than local), and a pound of Kerrygold. Whole Foods... good-sized with decent selection. Produce was better than Trader Joes, but not any better than I can get in more upscale markets in my medium-sized town. Much more dairy and meat, great selection too. Snagged some Icelandic butter to try (no Kerrygold at WF), some cheese. Picked up some pork for carnitas, a couple random things that looked good because I was heading home at this point. Neither store had sorghum syrup, much to my disappointment (I don't care if it's paleo or not, it's too awesome on pancakes.)

Overall the verdict? Trader Joes is hype. Whole Foods is decent.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on March 28, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Your a woman senneth? Looking for a good time?

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 27, 2012
at 09:52 PM

God, I get hit on everytime I step foot in whole foods. I am more eclectic than hipster (and am married). Its a double duty meat market!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:35 PM

@42, that definitely explains the Aldi's vibe I got. Not that it's a bad vibe, I used to shop on Aldi's exclusively. It's actually a European Aldi's vibe, American Aldi tends to be like a little Wal-Mart.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Well, I bought a pound of almond flour because I was so taken with the price! I buy no processed foods, so I naturally avoided the frozen section (plus it was packed to the brim with people buying their psuedo-health-food.)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:29 PM

The only hipsters were those working there. Trader Joes was packed with fat old ladies using walkers. Whole Foods was definitely a younger crowd, even saw a couple of rednecks in there, overheard them talking about what honey they wanted to buy and if it was organic or not. Funny.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Seemed like most folks in the store were congregated around the processed foods: frozen section, deli, dry goods. Produce was empty, meat and dairy as well.

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on March 25, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Funny, since TJ's is owned by the same family that owns Aldi. I buy basics there like butter, uncured bacon, unsweetened dried fruit, but not much else. Everything in a box, bag or in the freezer cases is probably not very good. The vacuum-flash-fried (in palm oil) bananas are addictive. they also have yuca (cassava) chips cooked in palm oil. Kerrygold is actually cheaper at Whole Foods, at least in Boston.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 25, 2012
at 03:38 PM

Ha! The TJ's by me is small so we all end of kind of "knowing" each other, the same clerks and staff so they are very aware of my eating habits, "all this is for YOU!?!?" and will alert to new things and such. A nice coffee, slowly going through the aisles = nerdy good times :)

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

(1071)

on March 25, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Good thing it's fun! Especially with the muzak.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 02:46 PM

I still can't believe that I'm going to a grocery store for fun. :P

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 01:45 PM

A lot of that I can get locally is sufficiently good quality, but I'll probably just peruse the whole store now.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on March 25, 2012
at 12:41 PM

You've been hooked up! I guess if for anything, at TJ's also look for wild dried mushroom packs, tomato paste in a tube, vanilla beans. WF has "sugar free/gluten free" fresh baked goods that are simple at about 5 nice ingredients. Grab one to munch while you stroll as you'll be there awhile. Oh! If they have 4-packs of Dogfish Head GF Tweasonale - grab it! Have fun :)

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on March 25, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Second on almond flour and stevia Whole foods is too expensive for me

35ba1f50dad25c85ac1aa2599fe5c5cb

(2485)

on March 25, 2012
at 02:04 AM

I love that video! And that used to be my local WF, so it particularly cracks me up.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 01:22 AM

Haha, looks like I'll be perusing the store for while some time with that list.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:52 AM

oh yeah applewood roast beef! I got a pound for lunch today!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:51 AM

* it comes in salted and unsalted varieties

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Smoking Goose, bookmarked! Maybe next time I go to Indy I'll be there on a Saturday.

78972387772c994caa78513a83978437

(2290)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:45 AM

+1 for this music video ;)

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:11 AM

I hope the almond flour price isn't too good, I'll be kicking myself for buying the pricey local stuff a couple weeks ago!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:03 AM

I did want to pick up some Kerrygold to see if it lives up to its hype, thanks for the price check on that!

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11 Answers

6
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on March 25, 2012
at 03:23 AM

Hipster women phone numbers.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:29 PM

The only hipsters were those working there. Trader Joes was packed with fat old ladies using walkers. Whole Foods was definitely a younger crowd, even saw a couple of rednecks in there, overheard them talking about what honey they wanted to buy and if it was organic or not. Funny.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on March 27, 2012
at 09:52 PM

God, I get hit on everytime I step foot in whole foods. I am more eclectic than hipster (and am married). Its a double duty meat market!

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on March 28, 2012
at 12:47 AM

Your a woman senneth? Looking for a good time?

4
4d6aa1a676240b15dc569ff8ade0500f

(2546)

on March 25, 2012
at 01:45 AM

kerry gold

cans of tuna, sardines in olive oil, wild alaskan salmon

raw crunch almond butter

unsweetened cacao powder

fair trade coffee

jasmine rice blend

organic stocks

olives

sundried tomatoes in olive oil

almond flour and/or other whole raw nuts

uncured bacon

curry tuna packets

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 01:45 PM

A lot of that I can get locally is sufficiently good quality, but I'll probably just peruse the whole store now.

4
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 25, 2012
at 12:26 AM

My Trader Joe's shopping list:

  • smoked salmon and Applewood Farms roast deli beef (these are my emergency foods. THey keep pretty well and if I'm having a bad day and don't have time to cook, they are pretty healthy and good)
  • pre-cooked beets
  • lettuce sometimes if I don't have time to go to the farmer's market
  • wine for cooking or drinking
  • gorgonzola cheese
  • Kerrygold
  • nuts, which are pretty cheap, though I don't eat tons of them

For Whole Foods

  • Ken's Oil, which should be avail in most Midwest WF. It's an olive oil with herbs and fresh garlic in the refrigerated section that I put on salads.
  • meat, their meat is better than TJ, though not as good as a locavore butcher. In Indiana you should check out Smoking Goose.
  • Hail Merry raw vegan pies are my main cheat lately. Not too sweet, but pretty good.
  • Really good citrus
  • Really good mushrooms in season

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Smoking Goose, bookmarked! Maybe next time I go to Indy I'll be there on a Saturday.

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:52 AM

oh yeah applewood roast beef! I got a pound for lunch today!

3
Medium avatar

(1240)

on March 25, 2012
at 06:19 AM

Whole Foods Market

  • grass fed ground beef
  • frozen wild Alaskan salmon
  • canned red sockeye salmon (they have a pink version that's cheaper, but the red is much tastier)
  • 365 organic coconut milk - the price beats what I find in most other stores for conventional
  • 365 organic diced tomatoes - the price beats what I find in most other stores for conventional
  • 365 organic extra virgin coconut oil
  • 365 unsweetened almond milk
  • 365 organic frozen kale and mixed greens
  • 365 organic frozen wild blueberries - these are much tastier than the conventional option
  • Hail Mary's chocolate macaroons
  • Vital Farms pastured eggs
  • bulk spices

Be sure to grab a sales flyer and a Whole Deal book for coupons.

Trader Joe's

  • Crown Prince smoked oysters
  • canned crab meat

I bought their raw crunchy almond butter three times. The first time it was delicious, and I was psyched to find it at such a good price. The next two times I bought it it was rancid within a few days of purchase, so I haven't bought it since.

3
D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

on March 25, 2012
at 12:56 AM

Honestly, the only thing I regularly buy at Whole Foods anymore since going paleo is nutritional yeast from the bulk bin, which I do not even eat that much of. If I'm in the area and in need of a quick "mobile" lunch, I can usually find something acceptable at their hot/salad bar, though (be warned that it can get pricey). Sometimes they have good sales on produce or meat, so be sure to find out what promotions your location is holding.

I primarily shop at Trader Joe's because I am a cheapskate who can't get to the farmer's market on the weekends and anything I could buy at Whole Foods or even a regular grocery store, I can get for way cheaper just by crossing the road to TJ's. I can't think of many things that I buy at Trader Joe's that you'll have difficulty finding in the average American grocery store nowadays, but the price difference is significant enough that what I buy there is worth mentioning if you're able to stock up. I recommend their:

Extra virgin olive oil
Organic virgin coconut oil (it has more of a neutral flavor, but it's good for cooking and really cheap)
Organic apple cider vinegar
Organic canned tomato products
Unsalted sardines in spring water
Unsweetened cocoa powder
Pure bourbon vanilla extract
Raw, unsalted almond butter
Sea salt
Organic applesauce
Organic carrots
Organic lettuce
Organic celery
Various fresh herbs
Organic grassfed ground beef (I basically live off of inexpensive organ meats and don't buy this anymore, but it's still tasty and a decent price, though I'm miffed that they raised it 50 cents recently)
Organic frozen spinach
Organic frozen strawberries
Organic frozen raspberries
French green beans (the beans themselves are really, really small and these are great for eating frozen on a hot day)
Organic extra large eggs (not as good as fresh-from-the-farm eggs, obviously, but sooo cheeeeap)
Raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
Raw, unsalted pepitas
Organic raisins
Organic pure stevia
Golden flax seeds
Frozen fish, especially the cheap frozen cod pieces
Things I don't eat/buy but have heard good things about include their smoked salmon, dairy selection, almonds and macadamia nuts.

Hope that was helpful, and if not then I enjoyed getting gleeful over my shopping list anyway.

Edit: Oh, and WF has the better meats, definitely.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 01:22 AM

Haha, looks like I'll be perusing the store for while some time with that list.

D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

(1071)

on March 25, 2012
at 03:05 PM

Good thing it's fun! Especially with the muzak.

2
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on March 25, 2012
at 12:02 AM

For Trader Joes...

If you use almond flour at all, I'd get the Trader Joe's brand (it's in the nut section, not the flour section). Theirs is insanely cheap.

If you use stevia, they have an awesome one.

If you use mustard, buy all they have of their dijon mustard because it's amazing. (It's known around our house as "the good mustard")

As for Whole Foods, I'd go to the refrigerated prepared foods section and try their Kale with Tahini and Garlic. Delicious. I think I could live off that stuff.

293ba4c95d190bc616b27d85b10d705a

(661)

on March 25, 2012
at 02:18 AM

Second on almond flour and stevia Whole foods is too expensive for me

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:11 AM

I hope the almond flour price isn't too good, I'll be kicking myself for buying the pricey local stuff a couple weeks ago!

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:32 PM

Well, I bought a pound of almond flour because I was so taken with the price! I buy no processed foods, so I naturally avoided the frozen section (plus it was packed to the brim with people buying their psuedo-health-food.)

1
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on March 25, 2012
at 09:11 PM

I'm new here. Des Moines, IA just got a Trader Joe's about a year ago and we will be getting a Whole Foods soon (yay!). One thing I can't live without are the skinless chicken sausages. They come in different flavors, I like apple best. Currently, I'm visiting in Pacific Palisades and I found that the Whole Foods brand, "Lou's Famous", has slightly more protein than the Trader Joe's brand. Another thing I like to stock up on is high quality dark chocolate. Many of the other items can often be found in the specialty sections of most grocery stores.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Seemed like most folks in the store were congregated around the processed foods: frozen section, deli, dry goods. Produce was empty, meat and dairy as well.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 25, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Meats are better at whole foods. Kerrygold butter is on sale for 2.79 at my whole foods. Napa Valley olive oil in fruity is good if you like a stronger taste. Top notch as well.

1
A115b8aa3c375f10d5bde0c0d06b6143

on March 25, 2012
at 03:50 AM

My Trader Joe's List

  • Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • Vanilla unsweetened almond milk (best store-made almond milk IMO)
  • Grass-fed ground beef (1 lb.) for $5.99
  • Nuts, if you eat them (oh, how badly I wish TJ's wasabi almonds were made without canola oil...)
  • Canned sardines
  • Canned wild salmon - huge can for $2.99
  • I love their fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Coconut milk (lite) for $0.99
  • Coconut oil (if you can find it!!!!) for $5.99
  • Stevia
  • Almond meal, if you use it
  • EVOO
  • OK selection of commonly used spices... most for $1.99

Whole Foods

  • Macadamia nuts (raw, unsalted)
  • Coconut chips and shredded coconut
  • Bison
  • Fresh wild salmon
  • 100% chocolate

Meats and produce definitely better at WF.

1
10f2288b00292d97ead2a566af4f72fb

on March 25, 2012
at 01:17 AM

KerryGold is worth every penny! Not all TJ's have grassfed ground beef, but if you find it - score!! There is a huge difference in TJ's almond meal and Bob''s Red Mill Almond flour. The kind you find at Whole Foods is blanched, which means the peel has been removed. This kind makes lighter, fluffier baked goods. However, some recipes don't require that, like Paleo pancakes, and TJ's almond meal works just fine. Since it is usually a $6 difference between bags, I only use the blanched almond flour for recipes that specifically call for it. Paleo cookies rock with almond flour, they taste like rocks with almond meal ;-) Whole Foods definitely has a better meat selection, but Trader Joes has good frozen seafood section.

1
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 24, 2012
at 11:51 PM

I curse the whole foods parking lot! Today was even more ridiculous than usual!

Trader Joe's tends to have the cheapest Kerrygold. Whole Foods should have that, along with some other grass-fed butter options organic valley, smjor (iceland), and plugra (NZ)which are all a bit different but all good/

I like getting frozen blueberries/raspberries from trader joes, and mine also has grass-fed lamb steaks from NZ which are pretty awesome and always have some good marrow in the bone.

Whole foods should also have the main coast kelp granules, which I really like. While you're in the condiment section you can also find coconut butter and/or coconut manna.

Both places will have some good salt options, himalayan, etc

And if you're feeling extra crazy, my favorite indulgence (sadly) are a certain trader joes potato chip... they're just potatos/olive oil/sea salt.

Have fun!

64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:51 AM

* it comes in salted and unsalted varieties

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on March 25, 2012
at 12:03 AM

I did want to pick up some Kerrygold to see if it lives up to its hype, thanks for the price check on that!

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