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Sahadi's vs. Trader Joe's: bulk prices

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So we recently started shopping at Sahadi's (I'm obsessed), and my first discovery upon trying it out was how cheap the bulk nuts and dry goods are there. Up until that point we had been buying most of that stuff at Trader Joe's, supplementing from Whole Foods or Union Market for the fancier stuff that TJs didn't carry.

I've tried to do some informal comparisons of the prices at the two places, and from what I can tell thus far it seems like Sahadi's is cheaper on pretty much everything bulk. My question is, has anyone else looked into this and discovered any ingredients that are actually cheaper at Trader Joe's? I will have to keep doing my own research as well but wanted to see if anyone had any insights that I can take with me on my next shop...thanks in advance!

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  1. nope. sahadi's is as inexpensive as it gets, for just about everything.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rose water

      That's what I thought. So hard to get out of the mindset of getting all of that stuff at TJ's, since I've been doing that for years. The best part is how close they are to each other (and my apartment), so I can start at Sahadi's and then move to TJ's to supplement anything Sahadi's doesn't have.

    2. If the prices are comparable I will always choose the local shop every single time.

      1. I love Sahadi's. I love their bulk section too. if I lived closer it would be a place I shop several times a week.

        If I have any quibble with it, it's that sometimes I only want 1 or 2 bulk things. But when I get there and get my number, I'm like 42 numbers away and the wait will be quite long.

        I do sort of wish they made it a little easier for people who just want to pick up a half quart of olives and be on their way... Sort of like their coffee section.

        3 Replies
        1. re: egit

          getting yelled at for trying to fill your own olive container is a sahadis first timer right-of-passage.

          in the context of this thread ill say its not like TJs has an express lane and i often go elsewhere even though i know im paying more . . . to avoid the stress of that line (i know it moves quickly but it stresses me out).

          1. re: egit

            Side note, we tried their coffee and were not at all impressed. It was practically undrinkable -- I think we got some sort of house blend, not sure if the other varieties are better. It was certainly cheap, but not worth it for the quality. Am I missing something?

            1. re: arielleeve

              Hmm. I usually get their Italian or French roasts, and I'm happy enough with them. I suppose true coffee geeks would say you can hide bad beans with a darker roast. But I tend to like darker roasted coffee.

          2. Just to add to the mix, I find the prices for a few bulk items at Perelandra (the health food store on Remsen just off of Court Sreet) to be better than Trader Joe's and maybe even Sahadi's. And, if you care about such things, they're organic to boot.

            The items I buy at Perelandra are:

            -- Chia Seeds (definitely cheaper than Trader Joe's, I don't think it's available at Sahadi's)

            -- Oatmeal (old fashioned, not quick oat)

            -- Steel cut oats (Definitely much cheaper than Trader Joe's)

            -- Raisins (how can you have a toddler without having raisins?)

            8 Replies
            1. re: Peter

              I suspect if you are buying oatmeal or raisins, or nuts for that matter, the prices at costco are better than either. Im not going to say their nuts are reliably as fresh as Sahadi's but they are serviceable. I just got a big bag of Italian farro there last week at a fraction of the cost elsewhere and items like quinoa are also avaialble.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Wait... hang on. I don't mean to thread-jack, but did you get the farro at costco or at Sahadi's?

                I looked for it at Sahadi's just last week and I didn't see any.

                1. re: egit

                  When I was at Sahadi's most recently, I only saw instant cook Farro. Not regular. I never end up buying farro because I can only ever find it in fancy bags, never bulk. I've seen a farro bulk bin at Whole Foods on the L.E.S, but it's empty every time I check. I haven't yet tried Fairway.

                  1. re: arielleeve

                    Fairway definitely has it in their bulk section. Last time I was there about 2-3 weeks ago I got some. I should have gotten more because it's nice not to pay $12/lb or whatever it is at Union Markup or Whole Paycheck.

                    Since I don't have a car, a trip to Fairway is a rare event for me.

                  2. re: egit

                    Farro is NOT available at Sahadi but IS available in bulk at Perelandra. And again, the price is great. Something like $2.79 or $3.79 a pound. I don't recall exactly but I do recall it being a fraction of the price of the only farro they sold at Whole Foods, which was a fancy bagged variety at over $10/lb.

                    1. re: Peter

                      It's been a while since I was last at Sahadi's but I've definitely bought farro there. In the bags with the lentils and things right when you walk in the door.

                    2. re: egit

                      costco. Its hard to believe Sahadi does not have packaged farro on their shelves in the packaged version but Ive never looked for it there.

                  3. re: Peter

                    IIRC, Perelandra's bulk bins are in a refrigerated room and you can help yourself. That's a definite plus IMO.

                  4. Wait, so does Sahadi's have cashew halves and pieces for less than $4.99/lb? I find that to be the best deal on nuts at TJ's. That item was gone from TJ's for a while, but fortunately it came back.

                    I don't get over to downtown Brooklyn as often as I'd like, but for cheaper cashew pieces, I'd make a special detour. Also, the ones at TJ's are not always quite as fresh as I'd like, though quite serviceable. Maybe Sahadi's has better ones?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ike

                      Last time I went to the two places, I did a more thorough comparison. Trader Joe's seemed to be cheaper on every single nut and most dried fruits, the exception being peanuts which were .50 less per pound at Sahadi's than at TJ's. I was pretty surprised, because I usually end up spending a lot less at Sahadi's, but I think it's because being bulk I end up buying less of a product at a time. That said, I go through nuts quickly (store them in freezer) so I don't mind buying a larger quantity to save some money. I also will say, I find the Trader Joe's nuts to be better than the ones at Sahadi's. I find the Sahadi's ones to have a lot of loose crumbs at the bottom of the bag, and they just don't taste as fresh as what's at TJ's.

                    2. So after my last visit I did do a little comparison, since I went to both stores on the same day. A few things I discovered to be cheaper at TJ's:

                      1) coconut milk
                      2) Almond flour
                      3) tomato paste
                      4) dried peaches (the ones at TJ's are white, the ones at Sahadi's are regular)

                      Also, I didn't see walnut pieces at Sahadi's, only halves or wholes, and I like buying them in pieces for baking, so I think I will continue to get them at TJ's. The rest of the nuts were actually pretty close in price at both places. The oatmeal was definitely cheaper at Sahadi's.

                      1. Sahadi's has in the last half decade, sold out to the mass market concept.

                        I do recommend Oriental Pastry and Grocery (170 Atlantic Ave), they are across the street.

                        This place for olives is unbeatable. There are other items for the kitchen there too. I recommend a visit.

                        Of course, it does not have the quesi-supermarket feel that today's Sahadi's has, so there is some supermarket items you will not find at Oriental.

                        None the less, for a fair share of one's grocery shopping, such as coffee, oils, spices, bulk items from olives to dates, cereals, etc, etc., you will be surprised at the selection. As well as items specific to the diet of the Middle East and Mediterranean.

                        He has been serving the same customers with minimal changes to the quality of service, for a long time.

                        If you like the expanded Sahadi's, continue to shop there, to get such things as Hummus etc. and industrialized processed food products, such as milk.

                        Even back in the 'Sahadi's smaller days', living in the area, I bought all bulk items and oils etc, at Oriental, while hummus, was about all I went to Sahadi's for, for good reason. Their hummus is excellent.

                        Trader Joe's is just like walking into Catholic Mass, in 5th century AD Europe. I do not recommend it.

                        "Two small traditional stores on the south side of the street, Oriental Pastry and Grocery and Malko Karkanni Brothers, are good places to start. Despite their size, you could spend an hour in each, asking about the different varieties of bulgur, sampling a free chunk of sweet halvah or salty fresh cheese, wondering what in the world the seaweed-like stuff in a jar marked “Fancy Green Zaatar,” and even stumbling over familiar products that seem way out of place (like Aunt Jemima pancake mix, for example). "-nyt (November 18, 2007)

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: jonkyo

                          I think that Sahadi's stock , prices and especially turnover in their bulk area is excellent. Really hasnot changed in the 30+ years we have been shopping there. I frankly cant see your point about mass market, just because they expanded the store and have a successful business despite mounting competition. .They do a lot of their own importation and wholesale to others.

                          I guess I missed the milk..

                          1. re: jen kalb

                            By playing devil's advocate, I hope to stir interest in the store across the street, which is an excellent shop.

                            That is all.

                            Though visiting after so many years, there was no nostalgia, due to the expansion and remodeling.

                          2. re: jonkyo

                            If they were selling out to the mass market concept they would be open on Sunday. Perhaps they are attending Catholic mass.

                            1. re: psnative

                              I have tried mass marketing at Catholic masses, and it just does not work (jest). They are communists. Especially those in the monastery.

                              I love the commie feel when I go to them for retreats. I bring mass marketed products though, to munch on.

                              1. re: psnative

                                Sahadi was and is a true local market...for a few pennies one way or the other why not patronize them...they are family owned...
                                A big corporation like TJ or WF could sell everything for 1 cent per pound and survive...then where does a family owned business like Sahadi go?
                                TJ & Wf...only concerned about market share and bottom line...not about you and me...If I am wrong...present specific , factual data to prove me in correct....after all they are public corporations...
                                Remember the local pharmacy?...where are they now...(Walgreens...Rite-Aide)

                                1. re: PHREDDY

                                  While there's no doubt TJ's is a big business, it is not a public company as you claim. It is 100% owned by the Albrecht family trust. It's a family business just like Sahadi, just bigger.
                                  Why do you want to penalize a family that employs 10,000's of people and pays them a pretty fair wage?
                                  Keeping it food related, people seem to like their products too.

                                  1. re: el jefe

                                    I am sorry about the "public" company snafu, but a trust is a legal entity not a person anymore, employed by big business to avoid taxes. We all know you are taxed from the time you are born, until after you die, the same with big businesses. It is the trust that owns the company, and could be any individual or other comapny, not even a relation. (ie: Hershey).

                                    Nonetheless when such a large powerful company makes an entry into an area, they have the ability to control and mold the market place they cater to. It is a fact, you loose your choices. As an example just think about the local bakery. Where I grew us in the Floral Park / Glen Oaks area in the 1960's there were 5 bakeries that come to mind that my family patronized. Today, I only know of one left. The supermarkets have their own bakery departments and basically put them out of business. There are numerous threads here about bakeries where people have discussed this issue.
                                    My point is, pay a few cents more and maintain your freedom of choice. Support your local business.

                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                      More to the point, whether a publicly trader company or a large private corporation held by a trust, either way all the bottom line profit leaves Brooklyn and ends up... somewhere else (uin this case, apparently Germany.)

                                      I prefer to spend my dollars, when reasonable, at locally owned businesses os the profit stays in the local economy.

                                  2. re: PHREDDY

                                    Yes, the local pharmacies do exist, but in areas, that have not succumb to the vagaries the result in sterile homogenized so called gentrification.

                                    They are Bushwich, Woodhaven, Hesidic areas from Boro Park and the like, to Chinatowns, and Washington Heights. These are all places that side by side with the local pharmacies, contain the chain stores such as you refer.

                                    I still prefer the Sahadis before. What they have done is expanded to address in one kind of business fashion, the changing population of the neighborhood. Some businesses seek to exploit changing demographics, while others niche base is so niche, they, they do not suffer.