3 groceries you should always buy at Trader Joe's instead of Aldi

Grocery chain, Trader Joe's, is made popular with its selection of gourmet, vegetarian and organic food options.
Melissa Renwick | Toronto Star | Getty Images

Aldi is known for its rock-bottom prices, and when it comes to most grocery staples, the German-based retailer is tough to beat.

But not always. Trader Joe's offers some great competition, typically coming in only pennies higher than Aldi on almost all of its grocery prices. And on several items, Trader Joe's not only wins on price, the retailer also offers a much better selection than Aldi.

CNBC Make It compared prices of Northern New Jersey locations of Trader Joe's and Aldi. New Jersey liquor laws do not allow in-store alcohol sales, so we weren't able to put wine prices to the test.

Beyond wine, here's what you should always be stocking up on at Trader Joe's.

Fancy cheese

Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

Trader Joe's not only stocks a wide variety of specialty and imported cheeses, the California-based chain sells varieties at prices that won't break your budget (unless of course you buy them all at once).

Trader Joe's prices even beat budget retailer Aldi. Trader Joe's sells crumbled feta cheese in a 6-ounce package for $2.69, and an organic crumbled version for $3.49. Aldi's regular and organic crumbled feta sells for 10 cents and 17 cents more per ounce.

Trader Joe's also offers a lot of unique cheeses that you can't find elsewhere. Its Unexpected Cheddar Cheese regularly earns praise and it's only $3.99 for a 7-ounce package. The cheese was even voted a favorite in the chain's annual customer choice survey.

If you're looking for more basic cheeses, however, head to Aldi. The chain's shredded cheeses, including mild cheddar and mozzarella, as well as blocks of Monterey Jack and Swiss are practically a steal.


Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

If you're serious about snacking, then head to Trader Joe's to pick up almonds, cashews and peanuts. In the nuts department, Trader Joe's beats Aldi on both selection and price.

Trader Joe's offers 16-ounce packages of organic raw almonds and cashews for $4.99 and $7.99, respectively. Aldi sells 10-ounce packages of raw organic almonds for $8.89 and 14-ounce package of raw organic cashews for $7.99.

Olive oil

Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

When it comes to olive oil, Trader Joe's has a proven track record, says John Karolefski, grocery store analyst and editor of Grocery Stories.

Independent consumer testing organization ConsumerLabs analyzed 10 popular olive oils to see which provides the best quality and value. It named Trader Joe's $7.49 premium, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil as one of the top three, beating out more expensive brands like Colavita and Newman's Own.

Even better, Trader Joe's prices are winners, too. A basic bottle of extra virgin olive oil from Aldi is $3.89 for a 16.9-fluid-ounce bottle, which is a pretty good price. But Trader Joe's sells a 33.8-fluid ounce bottle for $6.49 — double the size without doubling the cost.

Trader Joe's also has a strong premium selection. It sells a 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil for $5.99 for a 16.9-fluid ounce bottle. Aldi sells a non-organic premium Italian extra virgin olive oil for $7.99 under its Specially Selected brand.

There were over a dozen varieties of olive oil to choose from at Trader Joe's Northern New Jersey location, compared to just three types — basic, premium and organic — at Aldi's.

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