If you’re like me, then you try to incorporate as much organic food into your diet as possible. Organic food has been shown to be more nutritious, more flavorful, and safer to consume due to the absence of harmful pesticides. Certified organic foods are also guaranteed to be non-GMO, according to organic certification standards.
But a common yet persistent misconception is that all food sold at Trader Joe’s is organic. While this would be amazing… it’s simply not true.
While Trader Joe’s does boast that all of the ingredients used in their foods are non-GMO, most of the food they sell is not organic. In fact, there’s even some controversy around their non-GMO claims, which you can read about here in this deep dive from The Food Babe. According to her extensive research, there’s valid reason to suspect that TJ’s might not be as GMO-free as we’ve been led to believe.
Is TJ’s Food Really Organic?
Because of this GMO controversy, some TJ’s shoppers have expressed concern that Trader Joe’s could be mislabeling organic foods as well. Thankfully, there probably isn’t much to worry about on that front considering the fact that businesses can be sued for large sums of money for mislabeling non-organic foods as organic.
But if you want to make sure the food you’re buying at Trader Joe’s is certified organic, look for a certified organic label on the packaging. This usually looks like a small green and white circle with the words “USDA Organic.”
You can find certified organic options in almost every section at Trader Joe’s, from baking ingredients, to seasonings and toppings, to dairy products, meat, and more. Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s does not currently carry any organic baby food options, despite growing interest from customers.
Now, let’s dive in to my top picks for the organic foods you should definitely consider snagging next time you’re at Trader Joe’s,
The Top 5 Organic Food Deals At Trader Joe’s
These five items are available at amazing prices when compared to similar items sold elsewhere.
Organic Dry Roasted Cashews
If you’re a fan of high-quality cashews and other specialty nuts, then you’re probably familiar with how expensive they can be. According to Nuts.com, organic cashews average in price at about $15 per pound in the US.
At Trader Joe’s, you can find this 1-lb bag of certified organic dry roasted cashews for just $8.99, which is a major steal.
I always throw a bag of this into my cart any time I’m at TJ’s because the price and quality just can’t be beat.
Organic Cold-Pressed Green Juice
Another organic item that usually comes with a steep price tag is juice. Especially if you’re a fan of green juice and other vegetable juices, then you definitely know that this is not a cheap commodity.
Thankfully, a massive 32-ounce bottle of organic cold-pressed green juice at Trader Joe’s is priced at just $5.99, which is basically unheard of for high-quality green juice. Check out my review of all of Trader Joe’s green juice options here.
Eggs are obviously a hot topic in the US right now due to the historically unprecedented egg shortage sweeping the nation. The shortage is driving egg prices through the roof and causing many shoppers to rethink their egg consumption all together.
Amidst all of this, Trader Joe’s has managed to keep their egg prices at a reasonable level, even for their organic and pasture-raised options. Right now, you can buy a dozen organic eggs at Trader Joe’s for under $5 ($4.49 as of January 2023). Elsewhere, you can expect to pay as high as $7 a dozen for a similar product.
You can check out our in-depth look at Trader Joe’s egg selection and quality in 2023 here.
Organic Balsamic Vinegar
Yet another specialty item that I love to buy at Trader Joe’s is organic balsamic vinegar. Balsamic vinegar is a dark, richly flavored vinegar traditionally produced in Italy and often sold at a premium.
At Trader Joe’s, you can get an 8.45-ounce bottle of Organic Balsamic Vinegar for just $5.99. Similarly sized bottles elsewhere are sold for anywhere from $7 all the way to $30 or more.
I always have a bottle of this vinegar on my kitchen counter, and I use it in almost everything I cook. The flavor is unbeatable, and the price is, too!
Finally, let’s talk about coffee…
Organic coffee is another investment that often costs us a lot more than its non-organic counterpart. This is because organic and fair-trade coffees take more work and time to source properly, which is worth it from an environmental and ethical standpoint. But for some of us, it might not always feel accessible or affordable.
Luckily, you can get 14 ounces of Trader Joe’s Organic Joe Ground Coffee for just $6.49. Elsewhere, the same amount of organic coffee could easily run you between $12 and $25 or more.
Better Places To Buy Organic?
Now that we’ve gone over some of the great organic finds at TJ’s, let’s get real…
Despite being one of the most popular grocery chains in the US, Trader Joe’s has a long way to go to actually provide a healthy and environmentally friendly shopping experience. Check out this article from EatingWell.com listing a few of the main reasons why TJ’s might not actually be worth the hype.
Some of these reasons include…
- Excessive plastic packaging
- Mysterious sourcing and a lack of local options
- Highly processed meals and snacks
Unfortunately, Trader Joe’s has also come under fire in their home state of California recently after several of their popular items tested disturbingly high in lead.
And the lawsuits don’t stop there…
TJ’s also has two lawsuits pending against them in New York State due to high levels of both lead and cadmium found in one of their popular dark chocolate bars.
Due to TJ’s clearly shaky track record as a supplier of healthy food, I definitely don’t rely on them as my main source for groceries. I grab a few organic items there every couple of weeks, and then I do the rest of my shopping at stores that stock more local products and have higher standards when it comes to sourcing, ingredients, and customer transparency.
In the future, let’s hope Trader Joe’s does a better job at staying accountable to their loyal customers.