Aldi Versus Trader Joe’s: Which Should You Shop At To Save The Most Money?

Aldi and Trader Joe's are about equal in terms of pricing, but if you want access to some of the best consumer food products opt to shop at Trader Joe's.

By Trista Sobeck | Published

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Where do you shop for groceries? It is a big box store or your local supermarket? Do you hit up Walmart or do you prefer to go to a high-end boulangerie? Or, perhaps you love going to Trader Joe’s (which always feels like an affordable but a bit decadent treat. Or, maybe your choice is your newest Aldi where you are geared up and ready to save save save! But if you choose Aldi or Trader Joe’s how much can you actually save? Which one should you choose if you have a choice between the two? Let’s find out.

Aldi is actually the most popular supermarket chain in the country. Trader Joe’s comes in at #2. That does not automatically mean that Aldi is going to be less expensive than Trader Joe’s. In fact, a recent study in CNET says that the two brands are very similar in quality and savings. Although it does depend on what you are purchasing. The study in question only focused on food and not household accessories like dish detergent or personal hygiene products. 

The study targeted 40 of the most popular food products that are found at both Aldi and Trader Joe’s. The person running the study tried to find similar products to each other and also focused on packaging size. In the end, it was discovered that it was pretty much a toss-up. All items came within $5 of each other. And what’s more, Trader Joe’s on its own beat standard grocery store prices by about 35 percent! 

If you have to choose between the two, go for the one that is close to where you live. The prices are really that comparable. If you can save 5 bucks on gas, do so. Just try skipping your local grocery or even Walmart run that day. You will probably be pleasantly surprised. 

How can these two smaller chains save you money? What is their secret? Well, Trader Joe’s is actually a trader. It deals directly with the manufacturers and growers instead of the brokers and distributors like the larger chains do. Trader Joe’s has efficiently cut out the middle man saving you cash. 

Aldi, on the other hand, has relationships with larger brands and creates “brand labels” that are essentially Aldi store brands. In addition, Aldi and Trader Joe’s carry a lot fewer SKUs so it doesn’t have to keep track of tons of products. Aldi is free of bells and whistles and feels more like a warehouse. Whereas Trader Joe’s has hand-drawn signs and tropical shirts. 

However, only at Trader Joe’s can you get some of the best consumer food products around. Winners from Trader Joe’s included the brand’s rolled Chili and Lime Flavored Tortilla Chips and Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice. And as always, Trader Joe’s is a great place to pick up some cheese. Great prices, wonderful quality. 

Trader Joe’s is known for its careful consideration of gluten-free and ethically sourced food choices. You can also purchase organic fruits and vegetables in both locations. However, Trader Joe’s will more than likely have more of an assortment.