Trader Joe’s vs. Ralphs (Which Grocery Is Cheaper?)

There are several Los Angeles rivalries, but Trader Joe’s vs. Ralphs is likely the most famous. Those who have a Ralphs club card know how well they might be rewarded in terms of pricing. However, Trader Joe’s does not accept credit cards, and the prices speak for themselves.

We researched which store has the better value – Trader Joe’s or Ralphs – since this is one competition we can finally settle using empirical shopping data.

Trader Joe’s vs. Ralphs in 2023 – Which Grocery Is Cheaper?

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Trader Joe’s and Ralphs appear to have little in common at first glance. However, after looking over a list of their things and their prices, it became evident that Trader Joe’s is the place to be. Even though some items are priced identically, don’t forget about Trader Joe’s brand quality.

Trader Joe’s should be your go-to for lower grocery spending unless you’re heading to Ralphs to buy a lifetime supply of Swiss Cheese and nothing else.

ItemTrader Joe’sRalphs
Gallon of Milk$2.99$2.49
Dozen white eggs$2.99 $4.29
16 oz Apple-smoked bacon $4.49 $6.99
Granny Smith Apples $0.69 $0.50
Bread $2.99 $2.99
Honey Nut Cheerios$1.99 $3.99
Orange Juice $2.99 $2.99
6-pack Sierra Nevada $7.99 $10.99
Bulleit Rye $22.99 $24.99
Tortilla Chips $3.29 $3.49
Chunky Salsa $1.99 $2.49
Meat Sauce $3.29 $3.19
Penne Pasta $0.99 $1.49
Applewood Roasted Turkey Breast $4.49 $6.49
Sliced Swiss Cheese $3.99 $2.49

What Is Trader Joe’s?

Trader Joe’s is a grocery store chain in the United States with headquarters in Monrovia, California. The chain has approximately 530 locations across the country.

Joe Coulombe, the company’s creator, is honored with the moniker Trader Joe’s. The company originated in 1958 as a chain of Pronto Market convenience stores in the Greater Los Angeles area. Coulombe believed that the initial Pronto Markets were too similar to 7-Eleven and that there would be too much rivalry.

Trader Joe’s offers about 4,000 items, with 80 percent bearing one of its brand names, compared to an average grocery store’s 50,000.

“Your neighborhood grocery shop,” according to Trader Joe’s. Gourmet foods, organic foods, vegetarian foods, uncommon frozen foods, imported foods, domestic and imported wine and beer (where local laws allow), and “alternative” food items such as vegan and vegetarian options are available.

Trader Joe’s had 530 stores in the United States as of January 19, 2021, with more being built regularly.  Trader Joe’s established 14 new locations across the U.S. in 2017. The majority of the properties were between 10,000 and 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2). With 183 stores open across the state, California has the most.

What Is Ralphs?


Ralphs is a Southern California-based supermarket business. It is the oldest chain west of the Mississippi River and is the largest Cincinnati-based Kroger subsidiary. Kroger also runs stores under Food for Less and Foods Co. labels in California.

George Albert Ralphs and his brother, Walter Benjamin Ralphs, started Ralphs Grocery Company in Los Angeles in 1873. In 1873, Ralphs partnered up with S. A. Francis to create the Ralphs & Francis store at 5th and Hill, and the company became Ralphs Bros. Grocers, specializing in produce. The rest is history.

Ralphs operated in Northern California until January 2006, when it announced the closure of all but one of their locations. The last Ralphs in northern California was given a 60-day notice to close in August 2006.

In August 2006, Ralphs completed arrangements to sell eleven (of the remaining thirteen) Cala-Bell Stores to Harley DeLano, the chain’s previous president.

Ralphs inaugurated a new 50,000-square-foot (4,600-square-meter) store on 9th and Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles on July 20, 2007. This was the city’s first full-service supermarket in 50 years.

Ralphs now competes against Albertsons (which includes Vons) and Stater Bros. “Fresh Food, Low Prices” is its slogan. Ralphs currently has the most market share in Southern California.

Who Are The Top Ten Grocers in The U.S.?

Retail Info Systems comes up with their Top Preferred Grocery Retailers list year after year. New lists require time to prepare, but they should be released in the middle of the year to summarize the previous year’s market.

This year, Amazon Fresh jumped ahead of 55 other retailers to take fifth place. Learn which retailers ranked first and second and the significant findings from 2023 ’s report.

  1. Amazon
  2. H-E-B
  3. Market Basket
  4. Wegmans
  5. Amazon Fresh
  6. Aldi
  7. Trader Joe’s
  8. Sam’s Club
  9. Costco
  10. Walmart Neighborhood Market
  11. Target
  12. Publix
  13. Walmart
  14. BJ’s Wholesale
  15. Fareway
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Ralphs ranked 36th according to Dunhumby’s newest edition of the U.S. Retailer Preference Index, which included additional data sources focused on eCommerce and omnichannel performance.

Price and quality are no longer head and shoulders above all other customer choice criteria in achieving superior, long-term sales growth and emotional connections with shoppers. Price is currently the most crucial factor, with Digital and Quality equal for second place.

Working at Trader Joe’s vs. Ralphs

With flexible working shifts, little responsibility, and a relatively easy learning curve, grocery stores are the answer for everyone, from teenagers looking for their first job to the elderly looking to get out of the house during the day.

In fact, except for cashier terminals, working in a grocery store today is essentially the same as it was 60 years ago.

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s first opened its doors in 1967 and has since expanded to over 400 locations across the United States. The company focuses on value pricing and purchases directly from suppliers to pass on the savings to its clients.

The pleasant atmosphere, twice-yearly wage reviews (starting pay is $10 per hour, by the way), fantastic health insurance, and significant potential for growth all attract people to work at Trader Joe’s.

Only Crew and Mate roles are filled externally out of the four categories of employees (in order of responsibility: Crew, Merchant, Mate, and Captain), resulting in an internal advancement rate of over 75%.


Ralphs now has a 3.7 out of 5-star rating based on over 1,214 anonymous employee ratings. Sixty-one percent of employees would suggest Ralphs to a friend, and 52 percent are optimistic about the company’s future. Over the previous year, this rating has risen by 16 percent.

According to an employee’s comment published on, “For someone with little to no prior work experience, Ralphs is a fantastic part-time employment. Although the income is average, you will meet some wonderful, kind employees along the way. The disadvantages of this job include the inflexibility of the hours and the rudeness of the management.”


Customers flock to Trader Joe’s because of its low prices. However, despite the low pricing, the quality is still excellent. Part of the explanation is because Trader Joe’s produces 80 percent of its items under its private label. Trader Joe’s can then pass on the savings to the customer.

Is Ralphs a good example? Ralph’s is definitely better than Vons or Whole Foods, and they’re about the same price – plus, they carry Boar’s Head meat at their deli counter.

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