Trader Joe’s and Aldi are both popular grocery chains known for their affordable products, but we wanted to know which is cheaper, Aldi or Trader Joe’s?
If you know anyone who shops at Trader Joe’s–or if you shop there yourself–you know that TJ’s shoppers tend to be TJ’s superfans. With unique store-brand items like Chocolate Hummus and their Everything but the Leftovers Seasoning Blend, it’s easy to see why.
And there are a ton more products under the Trader Joe’s private label that are secretly manufactured by your favorite name brands. So, with high quality and low prices, Traer Joe’s is a viable contender for Aldi.
Trader Joe’s claims that it can lower prices by buying in bulk quantities from reliable sellers. Meanwhile, despite being a chain, Aldi grocery stores can charge way less for certain items like fresh produce since they tend to buy locally. This saves on transportation and packaging costs, plus human power since employees don’t need to sift through and remove damaged goods.
So, we set out on a mission to uncover which store is really cheaper, Trader Joe’s or Aldi? We also wanted to know which store is better overall. We found out, and the results surprised us.
Comparison Methodology: How We Compared Aldi and Trader Joe’s
To compare Aldi and Trader Joe’s, we started by creating a master grocery list to shop at both stores. We explored 48 items across seven different categories, comparing the most similar items possible.
When comparing items, we followed these rules.
Shop for the cheapest items possible.
At Koopy.com, we’re all about saving money. And for this price comparison, we wanted a definitive answer on which store is cheaper–so we bought the cheapest options possible at both stores.
Compare the same or similar items.
Even though we wanted to compare the cheapest options, we also needed to compare items that were similar. That means not comparing organic items to non-organic items or items of vastly different quality.
Compare the same amount or weight.
We also kept things consistent by always comparing the same weight or amount. Trader Joe’s doesn’t sell loose produce by the pound, so for this section, we estimated prices for items like apples and peaches.
Then, we set out down the aisles to compare Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s Price Comparison Summary: What You Need to Know
At the end of our ultimate shopping trips at Trader Joe’s and Aldi, we discovered that Aldi is clearly cheaper than Trader Joe’s. But that cheapness comes at a cost.
|Organic Produce||$19.44||$17.52||$1.92 (9.88%)|
|Perishable Groceries||$16.28||$22.26||$5.98 (26.86%)|
|Non-Perishable Pantry Foods||$19.01||$27.10||$8.09 (29.85%)|
|Frozen Foods||$14.19||$16.95||$2.76 (16.28%)|
|Beverages & Packaged Snacks||$30.86||$28.97||$1.89 (6.12%)|
|Health and Beauty||$16.93||$16.61||$0.32 (1.89%)|
|Total Cart Price||$138.39||$165.01||$26.62 (16.13%)|
As you can see, Aldi had lower prices in four categories, while Trader Joe’s had lower prices in three categories. But, we ended up saving about $27 on our total cart after shopping at Aldi. That’s equivalent to using a 16%-off-your-entire-purchase coupon at Trader Joe’s–which seems like a great deal.
But, after uncovering more information about the shopping experience, we learned that these low prices will cost you convenience.
Here are a few things that might discourage people from shopping at Aldi instead of TJ’s, despite the low prices:
- Lower quality produce
- Less variety and unpredictable availability of produce
- Less organic options
- Fewer conveniences (you need to “pay” for a cart, pay for bags, and bag your own groceries)
- No frills or special products
If you’re curious about which store is better for you, explore each category for our findings–and check out our final thoughts at the end of the article, where we summarize the pros and cons of shopping at Aldi and Trader Joe’s.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Produce Price Comparison
First, we explore the produce aisle, where shoppers can find the fresh and nutritious foods that are staples of a healthy diet.
|1 lb Red Grapes||$1.35||$3.24||$1.89 (58.33%)|
|1 lb Yellow Peaches||$1.85||$1.75||$0.1 (5.41%)|
|1 lb Gala Apples||$1.00||$3.00||$2 (66.67%)|
|6 Small Avocados||$3.54||$3.99||$0.45 (11.28%)|
|4 Cobs of Sweet Corn||$3.19||$3.99||$0.8 (20.05%)|
|1 Pineapple||$1.75||$2.99||$1.24 (41.47%)|
|1 lb Grape Tomatoes||$2.32||$2.49||$0.17 (6.83%)|
|1 lb Cauliflower||$2.65||$3.05||$0.4 (13.11%)|
|1 lb White Button Mushrooms||$1.77||$3.58||$1.81 (50.56%)|
|3 lb Bananas||$1.35||$1.71||$0.36 (21.05%)|
|10 oz Strawberries||$0.91||$5.81||$4.9 (84.34%)|
If you want low prices on produce, it’s good to know that Aldi offers fresh fruits and veggies at a fraction of the price of those at Trader Joe’s. At Aldi, the produce is nearly 40% cheaper–but it also doesn’t meet Trader Joe’s standards for quality.
At Aldi, it’s not uncommon to experience these inconveniences:
- Produce that’s soft, bruised, or wilted.
- Fruit flies buzzing around.
- Specific items being out of stock when you shop.
- Limited availability in general.
If you’re a spontaneous shopper that shops according to prices, quality, and availability, Aldi produce is a good buy. You can avoid any spoiled food and go for the freshest possible options.
But if you like to make a list and plan recipes, missing a vital ingredient could put a dent in your plans. And, if quality and freshness are important to you, Trader Joe’s may be a better option for produce, even though it’s more expensive.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Organic Produce Price Comparison
Trader Joe’s orients itself towards shoppers who want quality foods, and that includes organic produce. Aldi also has organic options, and here’s how the two compare.
|1 lb Organic Baby Spinach||$8.80||$3.05||$5.75 (65.34%)|
|1 lb Organic Spring Mix||$4.65||$6.37||$1.72 (27%)|
|1 Organic Romaine Heart||$1.13||$0.83||$0.3 (26.55%)|
|1 lb Organic Baby Carrots||$1.65||$1.29||$0.36 (21.82%)|
|1 Organic English Cucumber||$1.09||$2.49||$1.4 (56.22%)|
|6 oz Organic Blueberries||$2.12||$3.49||$1.37 (39.26%)|
This time, Trader Joe’s beat Aldi in the produce section. Organic produce at Trader Joe’s is about 10% less expensive than organic produce at Aldi, and it saved us about $2.
If you regularly shop organic for most of your produce, you’re probably wondering, who has more organic produce, Trader Joe’s or Aldi?
The answer to that question can vary depending on where you live. Because Aldi works with local farms to source produce, the prices and availability can change drastically based on the location of your Aldi supermarket.
But, in general, Trader Joe’s has more organic options than most Aldi locations. If you buy organic produce, Trader Joe’s is the way to go.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Perishable Groceries Price Comparison
We can’t live off produce alone (or we just don’t want to!), so next up, we have perishable groceries, like meat, dairy, and bread.
|Half Gallon 2% Milk (Friendly Farms vs. Trader Joe’s)||$1.73||$3.99||$2.26 (56.64%)|
|Dozen Large AA Eggs (Goldhen vs. Trader Joe’s)||$1.55||$1.49||$0.06 (3.87%)|
|20 oz 100% Whole Wheat Bread (L’oven Fresh vs. Trader Joe’s)||$1.65||$1.63||$0.02 (1.21%)|
|8.8 oz Salted Butter (Challenge Butter vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.11||$3.69||$1.58 (42.82%)|
|5 oz Plain Cottage Cheese (Friendly Farms vs. Trader Joe’s)||$0.40||$1.19||$0.79 (66.39%)|
|12 oz Shredded Lite Mozzarella Cheese (Friendly Farms vs. Trader Joe’s)||$3.00||$3.29||$0.29 (8.81%)|
|8 oz Grated Parmesan Cheese (Reggano vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.55||$2.99||$0.44 (14.72%)|
|64 oz Non-Dairy Oat Milk (Friendly Farms vs. Trader Joe’s)||$3.29||$3.99||$0.70 (17.54%)|
For this section, we saved about $6 by choosing Aldi instead of Trader Joe’s. Aldi beat TJ’s prices six out of eight times, which goes to show that Aldi is definitely cheaper.
It was difficult to compare items like meat since many of the products offered at Trader Joe’s were organic or meatless, while Aldi offered a more conventional spread of meat options. Our takeaway, though, is that you’ll usually spend more money at Trader Joe’s for meat since your options are higher-quality or specialty products.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Non-Perishable Pantry Foods Price Comparison
It’s time to stock our pantries with foods from Aldi and Trader Joe’s. Which store will offer lower prices on non-perishable staples like rice, condiments, and oil?
|32 fl oz Hamburger Dill Chip Pickles (Great Gherkins vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.05||$5.98||$3.93 (65.72%)|
|5 oz Avocado Oil Spray (Simply Nature vs. Trader Joe’s)||$4.81||$3.49||$1.32 (27.44%)|
|16.9 oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Simply Nature vs. Trader Giotto’s)||$4.85||$7.99||$3.14 (39.3%)|
|2 lbs Organic White Rice (Simply Nature vs. Trader Joe’s)||$3.45||$4.49||$1.04 (23.16%)|
|12 oz Granola (Milville Oats and Honey vs. Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter)||$2.10||$3.49||$1.39 (39.83%)|
|20 oz Organic Ketchup (Simply Nature vs. Trader Joe’s||$1.75||$1.66||$0.09 (5.14%)|
Aldi won again! This time, the margin of savings was larger at nearly 30% and $8. So far, it’s looking like Aldi is the clear winner for lower prices–but that doesn’t necessarily mean better food.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Frozen Foods Price Comparison
Browsing the freezers, Trader Joe’s has a lot of unique, easy-to-make frozen foods–but they come at a premium price, so they’re not included here. Instead, we looked at a few household staples for the freezer from both TJ’s and Aldi.
Here’s what we found.
|16 oz Riced Cauliflower (Season’s Choice vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.79||$2.99||$0.2 (6.69%)|
|1 lb Frozen Broccoli||$1.27||$1.49||$0.22 (14.77%)|
|1 Frozen Pizza (Mama Cozzi’s vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.55||$4.49||$1.94 (43.21%)|
|16 oz Meatless Meatballs (Earth Grown vs. Trader Joe’s)||$4.29||$3.99||$0.3 (6.99%)|
|16 oz Non-Dairy Frozen Ice Cream (Earth Grown vs. Trader Joe’s)||$3.29||$3.99||$0.7 (17.54%)|
Aldi’s reigned supreme with the lowest prices again. Although Trader Joe’s has interesting finds, Aldi is the best store to buy frozen foods if your priority is saving money.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Beverages & Packaged Snacks Price Comparison
If you like saving money, one of the easiest ways to do it is to buy nothing from this category–or at least cut back. Beverages and packaged snacks can quickly run your grocery bill up.
Now, we look at whether Aldi or Trader Joe’s will charge you more for snacks and drinks.
|5.5 oz Pre-Popped Kettle Corn (Simply Nature vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.01||$2.29||$0.28 (12.23%)|
|32 oz White Corn Tortilla Chips (Pueblo Lindo vs. Trader Joe’s)||$4.58||$3.49||$1.09 (23.8%)|
|6 oz Potato Chips (Clancy’s Original vs. Trader Joe’)||$1.01||$2.29||$1.28 (55.9%)|
|2.64 oz Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Bar (Moser Roth vs. Trader Joe’s)||$1.31||$1.99||$0.68 (34.17%)|
|32 oz Ready to Drink Cold Brew Coffee (Califa Farms vs. Trader Joe’s)||$4.12||$4.99||$0.87 (17.43%)|
|12 12 oz Cans of Flavored Sparkling Water (PurAqua vs. Trader Joe’s)||$2.85||$4.94||$2.09 (42.31%)|
|750 ml Red Blend Wine (Apothic vs. Organic Charles Shaw)||$7.99||$3.99||$4.00 (50.06%)|
|6 12 oz Cans of Beer (Wild Range IPA vs. Boatswain Double IPA)||$6.99||$4.99||$2.00 (28.61%)|
For the snacks and drinks section, Trader Joe’s total cart price beat Aldi’s by about $2.
However, Aldi had lower prices for five items, while TJ’s only had lower prices for three. One bottle of Trader Joe’s infamous “Two Buck Chuck” tipped the scales by $4, while a 6-pack of beer helped us save another $2, making this a win for Trader Joe’s.
If alcohol wasn’t on the list, this would be another savings win for Aldi. So, if you rarely or never buy booze, Aldi is better for snacks and beverages–but if you enjoy wine weekly, switching to Charles Shaw could save you big.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Health and Beauty Items Price Comparison
Aldi and Trader Joe’s are food stores first, but they do carry some personal care products. In the health and beauty section, we found that Aldi and Trader Joe’s are pretty even.
|16 oz Liquid Body Wash (Lacura Deep Moisture vs. Trader Joe’s Citrus Refresh)||$2.39||$2.99||$0.6 (20.07%)|
|6 oz 50 SPF Spray Sunscreen (Lacura vs. Trader Joe’s)||$4.75||$5.99||$1.24 (20.7%)|
|8.8 oz Bar Soap (Trader Joe’s Almond Ginger Oatmeal Exfoliant)||$4.82||$2.99||$1.83 (37.97%)|
|3.2 oz Hair Serum Oil (Aussie Miracle Moist Hydration Oil with Jojoba Oil vs. Trader Joe’s Shea Butter & Coconut Oil)||$4.97||$4.64||$0.33 (6.64%)|
Trader Joe’s won the health and beauty section with the lowest cart price, but don’t go running to TJ’s for your shampoo just yet. It only beat Aldi’s by 32 cents, and both stores had limited options with high prices in this category.
Comparing personal care products at Aldi and Trader Joe’s was difficult since both suppliers have limited options in this department. Since both retailers are grocery stores first, they don’t sell many health and beauty products–that means prices are higher than competitor stores like Walmart or Target, and the items available are limited and niche.
So, we don’t recommend shopping at either Aldi or Trader Joe’s for your personal care products.
Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: Services and Public Perception Comparison
When it comes to prices, it’s clear that Aldi is the winner. But choosing a regular grocery store is about more than just prices for most people. Here’s how the stores compare regarding their services and public perception.
|Shipping & Delivery||Aldi does not offer shipping, but they will personally deliver orders to your home. Online prices for grocery delivery are higher to compensate for the costs of a personal shopper. You can also shop Aldi on Instacart.||Trader Joe’s does not offer in-house shipping or delivery to consumers, but customers can use third-party services like Postmates and Instacart for grocery delivery.|
|Curbside Pickup||Aldi charges a fee for same-day curbside pickup when you order through their website or Instacart.||Trader Joe’s does not offer curbside pickup to customers, but you can receive grocery pickup through Instacart.|
|Item Quality||While the packaged goods are of good quality, the produce at Aldi is known for being below average. It’s not unusual to find wilted greens or bruised fruits.||Trader Joe’s food is usually high quality, and that includes meat and produce. But the meat tends to be much more expensive compared to other grocers.|
|Variety||Some Aldi locations can force you to make choices like a giant bag of potatoes or no potatoes at all. And, if you’re picky about what you buy, the limited options at Aldi might be a problem for you. It’s not uncommon for them to be missing the specific ingredients you’re looking for.||Trader Joe’s is known for their quirky and unique options–but sometimes that means there aren’t any “regular” options. That means you could end up paying more for flavors or quality you didn’t ask for.|
|Organic Options||Aldi does offer some organic options, but there were many foods we couldn’t find organic varieties for.||Trader Joe’s offers way more organic options to consumers. Their focus on organics sometimes means that there are no non-organic options, though. For customers, that means higher prices for a higher quality of items you may not have wanted.|
|Return Policy||Aldi has a “Twice as Nice Guarantee,” which will replace your product and refund you the cost. However, non-food items, alcohol, and some brands are not covered by this return policy.||Trader Joe’s offers a lenient return policy, where you can return any item, with or without a receipt, in any condition, even if it’s partially eaten.|
|Customer Service||Trader Joe’s is renowned for hiring the best employees. At TJ’s, you’ll meet people who are kind, friendly, and eager to help you. If you’re wondering why Trader Joe’s crew members are nice, just take a look at their good benefits and pay. TJ’s definitely beats Aldi when it comes to outstanding customer service. They also offer free samples!||Customer service is largely variable based on the store location you shop at–and even the shift of employees you’re working with. But overall, Aldi and Walmart have poor reviews on Trustpilot, with Aldi has negative reviews for customer services, with a mere two stars.|
FAQs About Aldi and Trader Joe’s
Who owns Aldi and Trader Joe’s?
Although Aldi and Trader Joe’s ownership groups in the US have a shared history, Aldi and Trader Joe’s are not technically sibling companies (or even cousin companies). Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud both operate under the Aldi brand, but they are separate independent entities, originally ran by two brothers who disagreed and chose to split the Aldi company. Aldi Sud runs operations in the United States, while Aldi Nord owns Trader Joe’s.
When did Aldi buy Trader Joe’s?
Aldi Nord acquired the US brand Trader Joe’s in 1979, 21 years after the first Trader Joe’s location opened in Pasadena. However, Aldi and Trader Joe’s operate independently, which accounts for their differences. To learn more about the similarities and differences between Trader Joe’s and Aldi, including which store is better, check out Koopy.com’s ultimate price comparison.
Which is cheaper, Trader Joe’s or Aldi?
Aldi is cheaper than Trader Joe’s. In our ultimate price comparison, we found that Aldi is about 16% cheaper than Trader Joe’s. But the savings might not actually be worth it. For a full lineup on how Aldi and Trader Joe’s compare, check out Koopy.com’s price guide.
How much more expensive is Trader Joe’s than Aldi?
Trader Joe’s is up to 36% more expensive than Aldi, depending on what you buy. Overall, we found that Trader Joe’s is about 16% more expensive than Aldi, but the amount of savings varies according to which department you shop. To see how much you can save, check out Koopy.com’s price comparison.
Final Thoughts: Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s
No matter how you look at it, shopping at Trader Joe’s is more expensive than shopping at Aldi. With the price cut, though, you also lose out on some conveniences.
Aldi is better if:
- You want lower prices, no matter what.
- You don’t mind if certain foods are out of stock.
- You’re a spontaneous shopper who shops according to price, availability, and quality.
- You don’t usually buy organic foods.
- You often get grocery pickup or delivery.
- You usually carry quarters to pay for the carts.
- You like bringing reusable bags.
- You don’t mind bagging your own groceries.
On the other hand, you might prefer Trader Joe’s if:
- You’re willing to pay more for a higher-quality experience.
- You often shop for organic foods.
- You want a store that offers a reliable selection of high-quality, fresh produce.
- You enjoy the quirky and unique TJ’s brand products.
- You never or rarely get groceries delivered or picked up.
Whether you shop at Trader Joe’s or Aldi, there are still ways to save more money when shopping. To learn more about how to keep your money in your pockets, check out Koopy.com’s savings blog!