Is Trader Joe's a Healthy Alternative?


Does Trader Joe’s sell junk food?

No. Of course not. It is Trader Joe’s!  Joe wouldn’t steer you wrong. Joe is so nice!

Trader Joe’s has a great personality. I love the Hawaiian shirts the staff wear, the bell they ring for a price check, and their witty Fearless Flyer. They carry some fantastic products—Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are yes, WAY better than Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

But Trader Joe’s is, like any other business, a profit-driven entity. And any profit-driven entity that is selling food, sells profitable food. And sad but true, the food that is good for us, that we should all be buying lots and lots of, are fruits and vegetables. And they just aren’t where the money is.

The money is in sugar. And salt. And fat. So Trader Joe’s, like any other business, is smart to sell profitable things. A lot of them. They enjoy a reputation for being health-conscious, so their branding on their own versions of sugar, salt, and fat works for them - especially if these products come in healthy-looking, convenient packaging.

Over time, I have seen a pattern of patients being surprised that this food is not as healthy as they would like to think.

  • Yogurts

  • Honey Nut O’s

  • Granola

  • Dried Fruit

  • Probiotic Yogurt Smoothie

  • Frozen Burritos

I don’t blame Trader Joe’s for their business model. They have something that works well for them, and they sell some fabulous, healthy products that I enjoy. They have developed a great culture of customer service.

But like everywhere else, be careful of what you are buying. Check the label. Know how much sugar you want to be eating (or not).

Even at Trader Joe’s!