With more than 4,700 locations across the US, Walmart has long had a monopoly over its rivals. According to Progressive Grocer, it has consistently outperformed rival grocery shops in terms of sales over the past two years.
Trader Joe’s is the underdog on a scale of comparison. But with more than 400 locations, the grocery shop with a nautical theme has developed a devoted following across America.
We set out research to compare prices at both retail stores and factored in costs at big-box retailer Walmart to answer the question – “Walmart vs. Trader Joe’s – which is better and cheaper?”
Walmart vs. Trader Joe’s – Which Is Better and Cheaper in 2023?
Prices at Trader Joe’s are roughly 30% higher than at Walmart. Both Walmart and Trader Joe’s have a significant assortment of organic food storage options. Trader Joe’s offers a wider variety of organic goods, albeit at a higher cost.
Background of Walmart and Trader Joe’s
Sam Walton established the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962. Walmart has grown to be the biggest store in the US. Its supercenters have changed what it means to be convenient for shoppers and what it means to be a “one-stop-shop.”
So much that its innovative idea of “Every Day Low Prices” has become a popular worldwide trend.
Walmart has made it easy for families to make the right decisions, especially when they are on a tight budget but still want to buy healthy foods. People can stock up on healthy food at reasonable prices at Walmart.
Its Food & Celebrations Center helps people figure out what they want to eat. They can look up recipes and learn how to eat well. They can also make their money go further and get ready for events or parties. Walmart stores have always aimed to help people save money and live better.
Trader Joe’s is a chain of grocery stores in the US. Its main office is in Monrovia, California, in the Greater Los Angeles area. Half of its 418 specialty stores are in this state, too. The southern part of California is where most of its stores are located.
It also has locations in 38 other states. Joe Coulombe made this retail wonderland happen. Theo Albrecht, the owner of ALDI, has owned it for the past 35 years. Last year this retail player did very well and made $12 billion in sales.
Walmart vs. Trader Joe’s – Which Is The Better Store For Grocery Shopping?
A report from the Insider narrated how shoppers noticed how Trader Joe’s could threaten Walmart’s dominance in grocery. On a visit to both Walmart and Trader Joe’s, they were surprised when the smaller chain beat out the superstore in terms of design and overall experience.
Walmart Shopping Experience
Compared to Trader Joe’s, you will encounter a holding area for shopping carts that prepares you for the superstore’s extensive choices. However, even before entering the store, you will run into containers overflowing with fruits like watermelon.
You will be at the center of the activity in a few more steps. The Walmart supermarket aisles and displays took up a sizable portion of the store.
Produce comes first. Although the displays were unremarkable and had a no-frills feel, almost every item was readily available in large quantities. Despite the straightforward setup, Walmart advertises an “Every Day Low Price” on most things.
Some vegetables are so inexpensive that you wouldn’t believe how cheap they are. Walmart has thus far done a great job when it comes to produce. The options were vast, affordable, and fresh.
Walmart also had a sizable bakery section. You will discover freshly baked pieces of bread, pastries, cookies, and cupcakes for sale. The hot food area – although the meal was hot and smelled well, its arrangement made a bare cafeteria come to mind. But, there was a sizable menu.
Moreover, Walmart had everything from beef to fish.
As you move through the aisles of packaged foods, you will observe how typical they were for a Walmart superstore. They excelled at carrying the name brands that most consumers are familiar with, from the snacks to the sauces.
Overall, though, Walmart appears to be deficient in healthier selections, which could give rival retailers like Trader Joe’s an advantage.
When you walk into a Trader Joe’s store, you’ll be impressed by its eco-friendly policies, low prices, and friendly layout. Trader Joe’s is a better place to buy groceries than Walmart. The watermelons will also be the first thing that catches your eye, just like at Walmart.
As soon as you enter the busy store, you’ll pause to admire the lovely flowers on display, as if welcoming your arrival.
Although Trader Joe’s is smaller than Walmart, the store has ample room to accommodate the influx of shoppers. Despite the crowd, the store’s serene environment resulted from the light blue walls and wooden shelving.
You’ll be exposed to various things that improved the store’s nautical concept through all of your senses. Shopping at Trader Joe’s evoked memories of visiting a trading post at the heart of a busy port, from the wooden boxes holding the vegetables to the broken bell indicating a client needing assistance.
Even the living spaces of the employees were furnished to fit the store’s motif. Members of the Trader Joe’s “staff” are those who work there.
The produce section was typical overall. Although the prices were slightly higher overall, the goods appeared to be approximately as fresh as those at Walmart.
Due to the chain’s recent decision to stop using plastic packaging on specific items, you can get some garlic on sale for just $0.49 per head. The company wants to use less plastic while simultaneously making some products more affordable.
There were surprisingly many Trader Joe’s-branded goods, despite the selection being clearly more constrained than at Walmart. Although the flavor of their cookies was probably comparable to Oreos or other similar sweets, something is endearing about the Trader Joe’s packaging that will entice you to try them.
Many Trader Joe’s goods resembled name-brand goods, although they appeared to be priced lower. This is so that there is no go-between in the supply chain, like with Trader Joe’s.
You won’t get this kind of supermarket happiness at Walmart, but you will find it with their product packaging, distinctive tastes, and affordable prices.
Trader Joe’s was cute in almost every way. However, they take healthy eating seriously, so you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a wide range of kosher chicken selections in the meat and poultry area.
There is nothing that compares to shopping at Trader Joe’s. The pleasant and individualized experience was preferable to that at Walmart, thanks to the affordable prices, store-name products, and charming thematic decor.
Despite the superstore’s competitive pricing and extensive assortment, if this experience is any indication, Trader Joe’s may have ultimately won you over.
Walmart vs. Trader Joe’s – Which Is Cheaper
Trader Joe’s is known for deals like its “Two Buck Chuck” wine that can’t be found anywhere else. But between Walmart and Trader Joe’s, it was the most expensive place to shop. No matter where you lived, the popular supermarket chain usually had the most expensive food.
Some things, like bananas, milk, and cheese, were priced about the same as at the other stores we looked at. However, bread and chicken made the bill at Trader Joe’s much higher than at the other stores.
Trader Joe’s was much more expensive than other grocery stores for several everyday items. For example, the average price for 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts was almost $19. At Walmart, it was more than twice as much.
A five-pound bag of flour and a loaf of white bread cost almost twice as much at Trader Joe’s as they did at Walmart.
|Extra Virgin Olive||$7.99||$12.50|
|Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 3 lbs.||$8.92||$18.8|
|Sugar, 4 lbs.||$2.08||$6.99|
|Flour, 5 lbs.||$1.59||$2.99|
|White bread, 1 loaf||$0.93||$1.72|
|1 Gallon Whole Milk||$3.52||$4.19|
|A dozen Large Eggs||$2.55||$1.99|
|1 loaf of white bread||$0.93||$1.99|
|52 oz of Orange Juice||$3.68||$2.49|
Are Items Like Eggs Cost More At Walmart?
Walmart charges more for some things, including eggs. But at other stores, certain things were quite costly. For instance, Walmart had the priciest eggs in each location, even more expensive than Trader Joe’s, which was the priciest grocery store overall.
According to Francesco D’Acunta (assistant professor of finance at Boston College and co-author of the paper “How Grocery Prices Influence Consumers’ Inflation Expectations,”) for a retailer that prides itself on low prices, dramatically raising the price of a highly “visible” item like eggs might seem like an odd choice.
However, when media coverage of price increases is intense, buyers may chalk up the higher price point to inflation and be less likely to comparison shop or criticize the company. The idea of punishing the business for raising prices is nonexistent, according to D’Acunta, because costs are rising everywhere people go.
What Grocery Items Should You Get At Walmart?
Walmart may not be as famous as Trader Joe’s or have as many loyal customers, but it is the place to shop if you want to spend as little money as possible.
Walmart is the biggest grocery store chain in the country, which is one reason why their prices are so low. When Walmart’s team meets with vendors, they can be very tough negotiators because they are so big.
But just because something has the best price doesn’t mean it’s the best quality or the best choice for you. So, what should you write down? Experts recommend these seven products for shopping.
- Name-brand pantry staples
- Great Value spices
- Other Great Value look-alikes
- Name-brand cereals
- Equate brand products
- Kitchen and household essentials
What Products Should You Avoid Buying At Walmart?
You can almost always find a good or competitive deal on groceries at Walmart, but some things are better bought elsewhere unless you think otherwise (or have an awesome coupon).
- Maple Syrup
- Organic milk
- Rotisserie Chickens
What Items Should You Get At Trader Joe’s?
Trader Joe’s is great to find cheap specialty and frozen items, wine, cheese, flowers, and some grocery staples. Here are the things that you’ll probably always find cheaper at Trader Joe’s.
- Frozen pizza
- Prepared food
- Olive oil
- Dried fruit
- Ice cream
What Products Should You Avoid Buying At Trader Joe’s?
According to Dunnhumby’s annual Retailer Preference Index, consumers have chosen Trader Joe’s as the best American grocery store for the second consecutive year. That’s partly due to Trader Joe’s emphasis on excellent customer service.
The company stands out from the competition thanks to its abundance of deals and unique merchandise you won’t find anyplace else.
But you can end yourself paying more for such specialty items than for some other necessities.
Save your money on these six Trader Joe’s items that are not worthwhile purchases.
- Meat and seafood
- Frozen sides
- Certain cereals and snacks
- Organic milk
With the variety of options available to consumers, it can be difficult to determine where to buy groceries for the best value these days.
According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Walmart emerged as the victor, which also examined Target, a rival in the retail sector, as well as the supermarkets Kroger and Publix and the specialty shops Trader Joe’s, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Amazon-owned Whole Foods.