Discover new brands with a local’s guide on Trader Joe’s

Discover new brands with a local’s guide on Trader Joe’s
Source: Wikimedia Commons, Sikander Iqbal

With more than 500 stores scattered across the United States, Trader Joe’s is becoming a popular grocery store with a near cult-like following. We’ve got you covered with our local’s guide on Trader Joe’s if you’re looking to jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the best this unique US grocer has to offer.

What is so special about Trader Joe’s?

If you’re trying to shop for an empty pantry or fridge at home, Trader Joe’s may be one of the best options out of the many grocery stores available. Offering healthy alternatives at consistent prices, Trader Joe’s specializes in a curated selection of products (many of which are private label) at lower-than-average prices. What Aldi is to most major grocery stores, Trader Joe’s is to Whole Foods.

While most grocery stores pique shopper’s interests with weekly sales, Trader Joe’s has none due to the low prices they already offer daily. Next time you’re stocking up on produce and goods for the household, consider a visit to Trader Joe’s to explore the many treasured products they have stashed on each aisle. You can consult this local’s guide to Trader Joe’s when devising your plan of attack.

Hand-selected brands at low prices

If you’re new to Trader Joe’s, grab a cart and make time to peruse each aisle closely. Trader Joe’s offers many new flavors and brand names you don’t usually see at other stores. You’ll come to find that sometimes the things you aren’t looking for end up being the best items in your cart.

For starters, there’s usually a wide selection of low-priced flowers, edible arrangements and house plants on display when you first walk into the store. Orchids, varietal succulents, newly planted basil or parsley, house fiddle leafs and more are just between US$5-10. If you’re ever in need of a quick bouquet or some table settings for a low price and don’t have time to hit up your local nursery, Trader Joe’s is the spot. After stocking up on greenery, you’re going to want to explore the fresh produce aisle.

With a wide variety of organic vegetables and fruit, the produce section of Trader Joe’s is known for things like US$0.19 bananas and mini varieties of fruits like baby avocado, cabbage and mixed apples. You’ll notice big bags of organic variety greens and salads of all sorts as well as trending items like riced cauliflower and bagged butternut squash.

Salad fans will love the variety of premade salad kits like the lemon arugula basil kit (which is a store favorite) and other ready-to-go options like the kale chicken Caesar salad and the Latin-inspired southwest blend mixed with corn and black beans.

Because Trader Joe’s is a small company with lesser-known brand names, you’ll find a ton of new healthy and organic snacks and dry foods that you wouldn’t normally see at other stores. Brands like “Walks into A Bar” or Trader Joe’s own Fiberful Granola Bars are healthy snacks you may not have heard of, but they contain the same amount of nutritional value at lower prices than mainstream brands. Trader Joe’s appeals to a health-conscious demographic, so the choices for healthy snacks, cereals and chips are plentiful. Medleys of different nuts and seeds as well as a whole row of assorted dried fruits are on display.

Trader Joe’s is also known for the quality and variety of their frozen products, so people come staggering in and stockpiling their carts with frozen food. After scanning over everything, you’ll notice they have each segment organized by cuisine. Everything from Indian and Italian to American and Chinese foods are available. Special hot items include their Mandarin orange chicken and frozen appetizers like pork gyoza and vegetable samosas. If you’re feeling up for an Italian dinner, try their mushroom-filled ravioli that pairs well with the kale chicken Caesar salad you snagged earlier in the produce aisle. Round the whole dinner off with a bottle of their famous “Two Buck Chuck,” a surprisingly decent wine at a ridiculously low price.

If you have more room in your cart after piling in all the necessities, try grabbing random products that catch your eye or that sound appealing to you. New products like nondairy oat fudge bars or some of the most popular items like their dark chocolate peanut butter cups will leave you wanting to experiment with more spontaneous picks.

Wondering what something tastes like or don’t know what to try out? Ask an employee for a recommendation or a sample of something. You may just find a new favorite while exploring the many options of Trader Joe’s.

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