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Trader Joe's or Whole Foods???

Hello all,
My parents are in sunny Arizona right now, and close to Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, which we don't have in my province.
Does anyone have any favorite things that can only be found in either of these stores, and that I should ask them to bring home? Any advice would be much appreciated!

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  1. can you tell us where you're located, so we can get a better idea of what not be available to you locally? Or types of things you might be interested in, just to give us a sense of your tastes?

    1. My mom likes me to bring her TJ's packaged nuts when I come from the west coast to visit Florida. They have an enormous selection: raw and roasted, salted and unsalted, whole and sliced, etc. She especially likes their pistachios. Everything at TJ's is much more reasonable than at Whole Foods, and since Whole Foods stopped carrying their bulk items in bins, I find no reason to shop there (even though I can easily walk there, and have to drive to Trader Joe's).

      1. There is no debate in my mind- Trader Joes is far superior in variety, quality, service, and price. The one thing WF does offer which is nice is their hot/cold bars that are good for lunch.

        As far as recommendations, there are several board postings with long lists of items for TJs that you can really only get there. Please take a look.

        1. Ask them to bring you some unsweetend dried pineapple rings.

          2 Replies
          1. re: maestra

            TJ's dark chocolate covered edamame. I'm on my third carton. We also just got the ginger spread in (it's apparently a fall item) and it's yummy. Others here seem to like the pumpkin butter, although I think it's a tad sweet.

            1. re: brendastarlet

              That dark chocolate edamame is something, isn't it? We bought it last time because it was in the Fearless Flyer (I was trying to pilot the cart around and read the flyer at the same time, heh). Really odd sounding but actually quite good.

          2. I'm partial to WF, as the one in my area is fantastic. Their produce is outstanding & they do try to source locally if possible. They also have a lot of hard to find items I don't see anywhere else. TJ's produce is usually pretty sad - but they're great for frozen foods & organic dairy & eggs. The other bonus for TJ's is that they're much nicer on the wallet than WF.

            2 Replies
            1. re: amanda3571

              tj's is cheaper, it's the ONLY thing they have over WF. that said, check them both out if you can, there are treasures to be found at both places!

              1. re: TBird

                I agree TBird--there are things at both WF and TJ's that are on my list. I go to TJ's more often simply because it's closer to my house.

            2. Mochi ice cream in Trader Joe's is the best so my vote is TJ's!

              1. At TJ, some fun things...poppy seed tortilla chips, honey-mustard wonton skin chips, candy-coated sunflower seeds, honey-sesame coated almonds and cashews.

                Will let you know if I find anything else after I explore a brand new TJ here in NY tomorrow after work.

                  1. The biggest difference is that Whole Foods sells real food, TJ's sells mostly processed, chemical filled junk.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Leper

                      I am astonished by the Whole Foods attitude. Because they overpaid, everything must be more natural and fresh! Try buying similar products at TJ's and compare ingredient lists if you want the truth.

                      1. re: Leper

                        That is not correct, there are a good many organic items and many others which are clean at TJ. There are a few items on WF shelves that could be a bit cleaner. Take a closer look at TJ, you will be surprised.

                        1. re: Leper

                          That's SO not true! Annie4399, please try to get to both TJ's and WF's. They both have great things, but are different animals. I personally like the bread selections at TJ's better, as well as the nuts and dried fruits. The vitamins are very good, as all most all their juices. WF's is alot more expensive, but have a much better fresh fruit, veggies and meats selection. I go to both when I have the time, as I like both.

                        2. TJ is not only a bargain, it's clever. Products they offer that I haven't seen anywhere else (and that would travel---I'm not counting their superb frozen foods) include: 1) Peach Sauce (imported from France, VERY peachy, good on everything from ice cream to waffles; 2) Mandarin Orange Chef Sauce (add a couple of spoonfuls to stir-fried chicken breast, plus a little red pepper, and you instantly have the Orange Chicken of Chinese restaurants; 3) Ginger Spread (smear on pork or chicken before baking---or just eat it on hot buttered toast; 4) Simmer Sauces in many flavors---add to stir-fried meat or vegetables for very quick dinner. To appreciate TJ's you need imagination. To appreciate Whole Foods all you need is money.

                          1. TJ's
                            -Pumpkin Butter
                            -Dark Chocolate w/ Liquid Espresso Center
                            -Bavarian Beer Cheese, if refrigerated products are an option
                            -Honey Wheat Pretzel Sticks
                            -NEW Rice Crspy Bars!!!!
                            -Jo-Jo's
                            -Chocolate Caramel Tart cookies

                            WF
                            -Bragg's amno acids (cheapest here)
                            -Kelp Noodles
                            -360 Fat Free Balsamic Vinegarette