Whole Foods vs. Trader Joe’s Pricing

04.5.2017 | Wednesday

After 3 rounds of Whole 30 and a year of Paleo, I started tracking my spending and noticed that I was spending quite a bit on food every month, especially in comparison to the days of “regular food”.  My average is about $600 per month, but March was a record high of $900 (I was experimenting with treats and had 2 dinner parties). The $600 includes 1-2 breakfasts, 1 post-workout shake, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners daily – 7 days a week with about 3-4 lunches and 2-3 dinners out per month. This is about $20 per day on average.


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I’m in the habit of reading all labels and only buying Whole 30 compliant items (which often times are more expensive). I shop exclusively at Whole Foods because it is the closest store to me. For this experiment I started comparing items between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s only. I have no interest in shopping at huge stores like Safeway, and places like Costco are unfair in comparison because you buy in higher bulk which essentially means more upfront and doesn’t take into account any potential waste.

I started this list organically looking at the prices of things I was buying in the past week. It isn’t complete yet, but this is an idea of some of the items I buy on a weekly basis and/or always have stocked in the pantry. All items are the Whole 30 approved versions, and are compared to an item with equal weight/measurement/ingredients list. There are likely cheaper versions of some items, but that isn’t what this is about. I’ve organized by items I should be purchasing at each store.


As I mentioned, the closest Trader Joe’s is about 15 minutes away, but is right next to my yoga studio. So I have to think a little further in advance, create a list and stop in after class, but with the price differences, it is worth it.

TRADER JOES: Whole Foods Trade Joe’s Measurement
Bananas $0.79 $0.49 Per Pound
Green Beans $3.99 $2.99 1 lb
Fresh Basil $3.99 $2.99 1 clamshell
Russet Potato $1.19 0.49 Each
Russet Potato (bag) $3.99 $3.29 5lb Bag
Sweet Potato 0.99 0.79 Each
Sweet Potato (bag) $3.99 $1.79 2lb bag
Yellow Onions $1.69 0.59 Each
Chicken Breast $4.49 $2.69 per pound
Ground Turkey Breast $7.49 $4.49 Per Pound
Prosciutto $6.99 $3.99 4 ounces
Almond Butter $7.49 $6.99 1 jar
Almond Flour $12.99 $7.49 1lb bag
Coconut Cream $3.99 $2.29 1 can
Coconut Flour $5.39 $2.99 1 lb bag
Coconut Milk $2.29 $1.29 1 can
Coconut Oil $6.99 $5.49 1 jar
Coconut Sugar $5.99 $3.99 1lb bag
Olive Oil $6.99 $5.99 Liter
Olive Oil Spray $4.99 $2.99 5 ounce
Maple Syrup (Sm) $7.99 $4.99 12 ounce
Maple Syrup (Lg) $18.99 $15.99 32 ounce
Cauliflower Rice (frozen) $2.29 $1.99 1 bag
Eggs – Cheapest 12 Pack $3.69 $1.59 12 pack
Raw Almond Bag $6.99 $5.99 1lb bag
Cottage Cheese $4.49 $1.49 Medium


For me, it will always be easier to shop at Whole Foods so while things are a little more expensive, it is worth it to be able to drop in and buy these items here. I find the produce at Whole Foods to be better quality than Trader Joes, so I’m happy to spend a little more to get better produce.

WHOLE FOODS: Whole Foods Trade Joe’s Measurement
Asparagus $3.99 $3.99 1 bunch
Avocado $1.99 $1.79 Each
Brussel Sprouts $2.99 $2.25 Per Pound
Cauliflower $2.69 $2.99 1 head
Honeycrisp Apple $1.99 $1.29 each
Zucchini $2.99 $2.49 Per Pound
Bone In Pork Chop $7.99 $6.99 Per Pound
Free Range Eggs (12 pack) $3.69 $3.99 1 dozen eggs
Kombucha (GT Daves) $2.99 $2.99 Synergy
Brie Triple Cream $6.99 $6.99 per pound
Frozen Cauliflower Florets $1.99 NONE 1 bag
Eggs – Free Range 18 $5.49 NONE 18 eggs

In conclusion I have found that staple items, pantry items and items with a longer shelf life (potatoes, onions, etc.) should be purchased at Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods will be for items I can’t find at Trader Joe’s (like the frozen cauliflower I use for my post-workout protein shake)  fresh produce, and things I prefer the taste of (like the type of almond butter I love) from Whole Foods.

I’m trying this out and will report back with exact numbers at the end of the month.