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whole foods vs. trader joe's

or just tell me which one you like better. Thanks!!!  :D

I've only been to Whole Foods a couple times (years ago), and never Trader Joe's, but I'm pretty sure TJ's is less expensive, overall, and Whole Foods is really, really nice (not that TJ's isn't, I'm sure). I've also heard the produce at TJ's isn't that great, but I don't really know. Based on reviews, I know that TJ's has lots of great vegan products.

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Trader Joe's is great and has a lot of vegan friendly foods. Unfortunately, I can't buy just one lemon, or one tomato because they sell some produce by the bag or carton. But I like that they are smaller and I know where to go to get a few items and go.

I like Whole Foods because I can buy oatmeal, flours, sugars, rice, beans, nuts and other products by the bin. They have a really great selection of vegan hot and cold foods in their deli, bakery and restaurant sections.They also have an impressive display of veggie meats, non-dairy milks and gluten-free items. But the store is huge(the one near me is two levels with a separate escalator for shopping carts), and can be a bit overwhelming. It's hard to run in, buy one item and leave.
 

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oh wow..that's a tough one.

I love them both. TJ's is cheaper, but smaller and Whole Foods is just overwhelmingly awesome. If you are in college and likely living on a tight-ish budget I would check both out and maybe shop at both. I use TJ's for my tofu and jarred sauces and some other things, and Whole Foods for their fresh produce and such. Tofu at TJ's is cheap. I can get a big 19 oz package of organic tofu for a bit over a dollar. Their Indian jarred sauces are wonderful and their frozen veggie blends and rices are too.

Have fun exploring both!

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thanks guys!  ;)b thats gonna be really helpful when i go away and i dont have my mommy to tell me what to do. haha.  ::)

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Both have pluses and minuses.  Whole Foods has bulk items and non packaged produce plus rocking salad and hot food bars.  You can even get sushi or baked goods at most!  If you know you have $12 to spend only then TJ might be better for keeping your money in your pocket.  Less temptation to splurge even though they have great things (their olive tapenade is A-Maz-Ing! and lets not mention Tofurky slices or TJ brand meatless goodies) but I can restrain myself in a smaller store.

hahah

Hopefully that helps!

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I do about 80% of my food shopping at TJ's.  They're pretty inexpensive and great for things like tofu, soy/rice/almond milks, dried fruits, nuts, canned soups, fake meats, etc.  If you do a lot of cooking from recipes, TJ's can be frustrating because their selection is not great and the availability of a lot of their products varies.  They also do not carry a lot of things that you would expect a "normal" grocery store to have: my local store does not carry tomato paste, canned pineapple, most spices (I usually only see ginger, pepper and cumin), dried beans.  They only recently started carrying bread crumbs.  But I easily can get a week's worth of groceries for $25-30 at TJ's, probably less if I tried harder, so I am happy to shop there most weeks.  '

I "supplement" my TJ's shopping by buying things at the regular supermarket and WFs/health food stores. 

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I do about 80% of my food shopping at TJ's.  They're pretty inexpensive and great for things like tofu, soy/rice/almond milks, dried fruits, nuts, canned soups, fake meats, etc.  If you do a lot of cooking from recipes, TJ's can be frustrating because their selection is not great and the availability of a lot of their products varies.  They also do not carry a lot of things that you would expect a "normal" grocery store to have: my local store does not carry tomato paste, canned pineapple, most spices (I usually only see ginger, pepper and cumin), dried beans.  They only recently started carrying bread crumbs.  But I easily can get a week's worth of groceries for $25-30 at TJ's, probably less if I tried harder, so I am happy to shop there most weeks.  '

I "supplement" my TJ's shopping by buying things at the regular supermarket and WFs/health food stores. 

This ^

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I have not been to Whole Foods in a long time.
Try and stay out of such a tempting place because I spend to much when I go there.

TJ's is great for cheap food prices and other things.
Can't beat cruelty free shampoo for $2.50

There house brands for the most part are not Organic  :boooo:

The one thing I do not like at TJ's is there lack of specialty items like say Hemp or Oat milk.
If you eat lots of raw foods sometimes the place lacks fun things like sprouts.
The hummus they offer is delicious.
Rarely do I drink Soy or Rice milk.

Ok the sad news is I am only able to shop at either of these stores when traveling.
None close to me.

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Trader Joe's all the way! It's soo much cheaper, they have delicious chocolate soymilk, and their hummus doesn't taste like tacos! Whole Foods is more for fancy/special stuff, like different flavors of vegan ice cream, nutritional yeast, or vegan cheese (TJ's has Tofutti cream cheese, but that's their only vegan cheese).

General shopping tips: always always ALWAYS go with a list, and stick to the lists! Look for coupons online if you go to a regular grocery store, and check the price per ounce. Usually the price tag on the shelf has a little thing that says what the price per ounce is, and that's helpful in figuring out which is the better deal with different sized packages of the same thing. Eat snacks before you go to the store so you don't end up buying everything that sounds tasty.

Lucky you with both a Trader Joe's and Whole Foods by your school!

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Hands down, Whole Foods.  I like TJ's too, but the selection is fairly limited.  WF has bulk bins, and  produce that you can buy in any amount.  Most of TJ's stuff is pre-packaged and has to be bought that way.  I'm lucky enough to have both nearby but I go to WF way more often.  TJ's is mainly supplemental...

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Whole Foods is my idea of heaven.  An expensive heaven, but heaven nonetheless....

Trader Joe's is ok - I usually get the same things every time I go (Soy-Nuggets, Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Spread, Raw Cashews, and wine)

Whole Foods is the only place around me that sells all of my substitutes....(Tofutti, Veganaise, Yves, tempeh, seitan, nut yeast, you get the point)
I usually only go once every month or so.....thank God its far enough away from me that I can't go everyday or I'd be an even poorer and fatter little girl....

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The TJ's in nashville is really small, I like what they do have but I go to WF's when I need specific things.  What I can get at TJ's is pretty cheap like some cool frozen veggie friendly meals, pb, soy and almond milk, etc.
WF's is the only place I can find nut. yeast, and I love their bulk section

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I do about 80% of my food shopping at TJ's.  They're pretty inexpensive and great for things like tofu, soy/rice/almond milks, dried fruits, nuts, canned soups, fake meats, etc.  If you do a lot of cooking from recipes, TJ's can be frustrating because their selection is not great and the availability of a lot of their products varies.  They also do not carry a lot of things that you would expect a "normal" grocery store to have: my local store does not carry tomato paste, canned pineapple, most spices (I usually only see ginger, pepper and cumin), dried beans.  They only recently started carrying bread crumbs.  But I easily can get a week's worth of groceries for $25-30 at TJ's, probably less if I tried harder, so I am happy to shop there most weeks.  '

I "supplement" my TJ's shopping by buying things at the regular supermarket and WFs/health food stores. 

This ^

This ^

I go to TJs first, and whatever I can't get there I get at Whole Foods or a regular store. And yeah, the produce is sometimes not great, and a bit inconvenient because much of it is prepackaged. However, their apples are good (and sold individually), as is the basil (cheap!), of course avocados, and generally the strawberries if they're in season. I wouldn't recommend the tomatoes or peaches/peach-type things (I go to a farmer's market for mine), and all the refrigerated produce (broccoli, salad mix, cut sweet potato, etc) is awesome.
Whole Foods is generally more expensive, as a result of their huge selection. Since TJs has really limited shelf space, they only stock items that sell really well (that's why new items tend to disappear), and place orders for all the stores in the region in one order (so they get a better price from distributors/manufacturers), AND they use their own label on some typically brand-name products (notably frozen Amy's stuff & Imagine soups). But of course that means the downside to TJs is limited selection, tiny store(for a grocery store)/not a whole lot of back stock (things run out) and notoriously terrible parking lots (the limited space makes rent cheaper). I used to work there  ^-^ and I like that about them too... every one who works there does some of everything, versus Whole Foods who has several different departments with different staff (and apparently the different departments compete against each other?  :o)

Also... I was told by customers sometimes that Whole Food's paper bags are sturdier. If that makes any difference to you  ;D

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I'm not sure I agree that Whole Foods is really expensive. I suppose it depends on what you buy, or how much time you spend there.

Purchasing oatmeal, rice, lentils and other foods in bulk by the bin at Whole Foods  is cheaper than packaged products. Also, Earth Balance, some non-dairy milks and the 365 brand products are comparable or less in price than your major supermarket. Whole Foods also has a far more impressive selection of greens ... kale, chard and other green varieties, than most supermarkets. I have purchased kale and collard greens on sale there sometimes.

Having said that, there are some items that I buy regularly at Trader Joe's because they cost less than Whole Foods, such as tofu, sauces, bread, the $1.99 Indian food(when I'm to tired to cook) and the 19-cent bananas.

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nuts are usually cheaper at trader joes, but i did find that pine nuts & peanuts are both cheaper at whole foods - (the ziploc bag packages with the plainish green labels - not the kinds in tubs or canisters)

plus bonus points to whole foods for selling nutritional yeast.. bulk stuff in general.. and whole wheat pastry flour.. and discounts when you buy cases of things like clif bars.. and they carry instant vegan gravy mix packets for when im lazy.. and getting all the holiday varieties of soymilk..

bonus points back to tjs for cheaper peanut butter.. and tofu.. and gimme lean.. and chocolate cherry soy ice cream.. and frozen artichoke hearts & multi colored pepper strips.. and cheap vegan mayp.. cheap toothpaste..  pasta sauce..  the raffle tickets for bringing in your own shopping bag (which i still have not won yet).. oh - and definitely cheap wine!  boo for them for discontinuing their flax pasta though - lame!

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I hit up both, they are down the street from each other. I really utilize the wf bulk section, buying copious amount of steel cut oatmeal,  wheatberries, dry beans, legumes and nuts. I buy their 5lb bag of organic carrots, organic apples on sale. Food is expensive, especially wf on certain items. Their coffee and tea is 20% or more over tj or puerto rico.
I am thinking I am very frugal, oatmeal and wheatberries are $1.19/lb. I try not to buy items over $1.25/lb. Aside from raw nuts and seeds, btw sunflower seeds are the cheapest at wfs. The thai brown jasmine rice at tj ends up being a little over $1.10/lb. The 4 ct bag or organic avocado are both $3.99 at either wfs and tjs  Currently most of my fresh greens come from a korean market near my house, their prices are very good and I would rather support local business, even cheaper but a bike ride away is the indian market, where its unbelievable how cheap produce is. Huge bunches of spinach (sagg)$ 1 and massive bunches of cilantro 2/$1, cauliflower is typically $2.
Every four days or so I end up at one of them...

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For the record, I love both. But today I saw the most recent edition of Consumer Reports, TJ's was one of the most affordable national grocery store chains, while Whole Foods was the most expensive.  No big surprise there for anybody who frequents both I guess.

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I don't completely understand the testimonies about Whole Foods being so expensive. I buy by the bin and it's so much cheaper than in other grocery stores and even Trader Joe's sometimes.

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With no easy access to either a TJs or a WF, I say the local co-op is better.  My one experience with TJs they didn't even sell raw lentils.  I had to buy the disgusting freeze packaged kind with all the extra preservatives.  And there was no bulk food section.  It may have been just the TJs I went to was small and I'll definitely stop at a TJs or WF if I see one, but my experience says the co-op is superior.

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