Why I Don't Shop at Trader Joe's Anymore
Just to be clear, I used to LOVE Trader Joe's. I still go there occasionally to get certain products that come in glass. However, there are some important no-no's that have stopped me from continuing to spend my grocery budget at TJ's.
1. TOO MUCH PACKAGING. As someone who cares about the environment, buying groceries from Trader Joe's really screws with my morals. Everything is covered in plastic. Really! Nearly every single thing at TJ's is covered in freaking plastic. Why do they need to wrap broccoli in it? By going to other grocery stores with unpackaged produce, or simply making my weekly farmer's market run, I'm able to reduce my waste and avoid using single-use-but-stays-on-earth-forever plastic.
2. WASTED MONEY. While Trader Joe's seems to be cheaper than other grocery stores, I end up buying so many products that I don't need. Seasonal products are a huge part of this, and I find that TJ's is way great at marketing these impulse buys. On one trip to the store I left with 4 different pumpkin/fall food special products that I had absolutely no need for, and ended up not even liking. Save your money, avoid these TJ's pitfalls.
3. PROCESSED FOODS. Yes, Trader Joe's has an extensive produce section, but they have so many processed products, and they're strategically placed so that you're more likely to buy them. This is smart for their business, but it's not great for my health. By not shopping at TJ's I've found myself eating way more fruits and vegetables, and eating far more intuitively because I'm not constantly tempted by sugary or salty snacks.
4. NO BULK OPTIONS. Not only is there no bulk section where you can buy the quantity you need in your own container, but there are no bulk-buy options; you're only able to buy very small quantities of rice, beans, pasta, etc. By forcing us to buy such small quantities they're making us pay for packaging that is detrimental to the environment. No thanks!
5. FOOD WASTE. Contrary to #4, I find that the produce products are sold in larger quantities than I can consume, causing me to throw away unnecessary amounts of food and therefore money. These products are already wasting so much plastic, I don't need them also wasting food that could be used to feed someone who needs it.
So, where should we shop instead?
Now that I no longer shop at Trader Joe's, I make a weekly trip to the Farmer's Market, where I can get to know the wonderful people who make my food. Anything that I can't find there I get at Whole Foods Market, where I'm able to buy in bulk in my own container. In doing so I'm avoiding creating any kind of waste, and I'm able to save money by only buying exactly what I need (at cheaper prices!). Yes, I said I save money by eating healthier! Let me know in the comments below where you shop.