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Stores Like Trader Joe’s

The front of a Trader Joe's store.

The grocery store Trader Joe’s is known for its uniqueness and it’s harder to classify than other grocery stores. I’d consider it a discount health-food store, which is a unique category because many of the health-food stores in my area are upscale stores with high prices. Most of the food that Trader Joe’s sells isn’t available elsewhere either. Basically, this store keeps its health-food prices affordable by stocking private-label products. It is possible to shop that way at other premium health food stores that compete with Trader Joe’s if you’re looking for alternatives.

Whole Foods

While Whole Foods is typically considered one of the most expensive supermarkets and it sells premium health food from many prominent brands, it also has its own private-label brand called 365. Buying food with this label is similar to shopping at Trader Joe’s because the 365 products are designed to be more affordable than the other products in Whole Foods’ stores.

Since Trader Joe’s primarily sells private-label products, its store brand gives you more choices than the 365 brand does. This brand isn’t meant to replace everything in Whole Foods’ stores. Another thing that Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have in common is that they both hire artists to decorate individual stores and this makes each of their stores look more unique.


There’s a regional health-food chain in my area called Lassens. While it is popular with celebrities and many of its products are relatively costly, in general many shoppers go there because they’re concerned about their health, not because they want a store where they can show off their wealth. In my opinion, Lassens is still focused on selling health food for reasonable prices rather than creating an exclusive luxury shopping experience.

It’s likely that Lassens will still have higher prices than Trader Joe’s, like other Southern California health-food stores, but it also stocks health-food brands that aren’t available at Trader Joe’s as well.


If you’re familiar with stores like Albertsons, Vons, and Safeway, Pavilions is the upscale version of these stores. It sells more health food than other Albertsons stores but it also has higher prices. But Albertsons has a private-label grocery brand called Signature Select as well and merchandise from this brand is also available at Pavilions stores. So if you want to shop at this store and conserve your budget you can buy the private-label Signature Select products.

It’s probably more relevant for many shoppers that Trader Joe’s and Pavilions both sell health food because if you’re considering Pavilions your budget probably isn’t your main concern. It’s likely that Trader Joe’s will have lower prices than Pavilions, though.


You can also go to Sprouts to buy products such as organic produce and natural foods. Like other health-food stores in Southern California, Sprouts has higher prices than other grocery stores. It also sells lots of health-food staples like fruit juice and vitamins. And like other health-food stores, Sprouts sells products from major health-food brands that aren’t available at Trader Joe’s.

In recent years Sprouts has also become popular because of its $5 deli sandwiches and this also highlights a major difference between Sprouts and Trader Joe’s. Trader Joe’s sells lots of refrigerated specialty products but doesn’t have delis in its stores, unlike Sprouts and the other health-food stores.

Grocery Outlet

If your main concern is conserving your budget but you’re still interested in buying health food, Grocery Outlet might be your best option. It’s possible that you’ll see health food there for 80 percent less than what it costs at other health-food stores in Southern California, although Grocery Outlet’s discounts aren’t always that high.

Trader Joe’s also puts a lot of effort into curating its products. While it’s likely to have higher prices than Grocery Outlet, it’s also likely that any product you pick there will be delicious. Because of the way Grocery Outlet’s business model works, you might have to look around to find products you want there.

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