What You Don’t Want to Buy at Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s offers up some great products and boasts a healthy living mission that’s backed by reasonable prices for you, the consumer. You should always stay up-to-date on the alternative health trends that make you healthier and happier. However, buying blindly at Trader Joe’s can cause misfortune and you may feel a bit down after purchasing a few of their selected “good deals.”

From the produce aisle, to the super-cheap wine rack, and even the flowers, try to make healthy choices at Trader Joe’s and avoid buying bargains on impulse.

Veggies and fruit

Sadly, Trader Joe’s has fallen short in the produce aisle with subpar veggies and fruit. Much of their produce is packaged with plastic — with little regard to the impact plastics have on the world. A 2009 study published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences states, “Biodegradable packaging materials are most suitable for single-use disposable applications where the post-consumer waste can be locally composted.”

Trader Joe’s has also been scrutinized for their lack of community awareness when bringing fresh veggies and fruit to your table. Not all veggies and fruit at Trader Joe’s are no good, but many remain critical of their packaging and sourcing.

Frozen fruit

Frozen fruit is definitely on the “do not buy” list. When looking at price, Trader Joe’s frozen fruit is packaged in small bags, so you are purchasing less for more.

Buying frozen fruit is often easier and you can store enough fruit in your freezer to make any number of smoothies. However, purchasing fresh, locally grown fruit is the optimal choice. Research conducted at Tufts University, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy found frozen foods may pack more calories, saturated fat and sodium. Frozen or not, always look at labels and make informed food choices when it comes to frozen foods in general.


A good reason to skip the sushi at Trader Joe’s is that it may not even be real fish. A great deal is not always a good one, and skipping the astonishingly cheap sushi at Trader Joe’s is recommended.

Imitation fish has been the topic of much discussion as most of the United States is eating imitation fish meat without even knowing it. Oceana, a nonprofit seafood watchdog, conducted research in 2013 and found that, “forty-four percent of all the retail outlets visited sold mislabeled fish.” The health implications for eating imitation fish are concerning. Imitation tuna contains 84 percent escolar, a fish known for causing digestive issues.

Two-Buck Chuck

shopping Two-Buck Chuck wine from Charles Shaw winery is a definite steal for the price, but as most items with a cheap price tag, skepticism and airing on the side of caution is recommended. Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck is most definitely on the “do not buy” list due to recent research that found high levels of arsenic in this bargain buy.

A recent lawsuit filed against multiple cheap wine distributors was based on the high arsenic levels found in their wine. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine found, “Arsenic exposure is associated with impaired lung function and the deleterious effect is evident at low- to moderate-dose range.” The price is not worth the risk, and doing your own research before buying any product you put into your body is advisable.


This may seem silly to some, but skipping Trader Joe’s freshly cut flowers will spare you a disappointment. There has been a lot of buzz recently about Trader Joe’s flowers not blooming and dying quickly. Buy freshly cut bouquets at your local farmers’ market instead — you will surely find more choices with less shortcomings.

Do you want cheap or healthy? Good purchasing decisions are essential, and cheap isn’t always best when it comes to a few of Trader Joe’s products. A smarter you is most definitely a happier you, so do some research before taking your next trip to Trader Joe’s. Filling your cart at Trader Joe’s should be based on informed buys with more bang for your buck and health!

—The Alternative Daily



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