The Quick Report

Do Not Buy These 10 Things at Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s is beloved for its unique product offerings and reasonable prices. However, like any store, it has its share of flops and sometimes they’re big ones. Here are 10 items to avoid buying at Trader Joe’s.

10. Most Fresh Produce

red and green vegetable on brown woven basket
Photo by Shelley Pauls

Most TJ’s shoppers already know the produce department is lacking. Quality does vary from store to store. The biggest complaint shoppers have is that many fresh fruits and vegetables are of poor quality and tend to spoil quickly. Nonetheless, your mileage may vary. Some seasonal produce may be worth checking out.

9. Pre-Made Sandwiches and Wraps

brown bread on white ceramic plate
Photo by Dan Burton

Shoppers have a lot of complaints about TJ’s premade sandwich selection, calling them mediocre at best. The most common complaint is that they are usually soggy and messy to eat. Some say they lack flavor and aren’t exactly loaded with ingredients. Still, if you’re in a pinch for a quick-lunch option, they may not be the worst thing out there.

8. Joe’s O’s Cereal

cereals in bowl with spoon
Photo by John Matychuk

It’s obvious to everyone that Joe’s O’s are a Cheerios wannabe. But customers say this sad imposter falls way short. Complaints say that not only is the flavor bland, but they lack the crunch found in other grain cereals. Many say it’s not worth the savings, spend a little more and get the real deal.

7. Mayonnaise

close-up photo of white cream in clear shot glass
Photo by Sara Cervera

Trader Joe’s mayonnaise may seem like a healthier bargain, but mayo lovers complain it tastes drastically different than other white spreads. The taste issue is something customers can’t quite put their finger on. Nonetheless, they agree it’s unappetizing. They advise sticking to well-known brands like Hellman’s (Best Foods) or Sir Kensington.

6. Queso Cheese Dip

creamy crackers
Photo by Jennie Brown

Why is Trader Joe’s queso cheese dip turning people off? It seems that one of the ingredients is apple cider vinegar. This adds an unwanted sourness and acidity to the condiment. In a shocking surprise, customers say Trader Joe’s vegan queso is far superior to the one made with real cheese. This is a rare case when dairy-free wins!

5. Ranch Dressing

bowl of vegetable salads
Photo by Anna Pelzer

Overall, condiments aren’t Trader Joe’s strong suit. Such is the case with TJ’s ranch dressing. Customers complain it has consistency problems. But worse, they feel the flavor is overly sweet. But mostly, TJ’s ranch differs too greatly from the standard creamy, herb-flavored dip the world has come to love and enjoy.

4. Precooked Chicken Strips

A Person Squeezing a Lime over Chicken Salad
Photo by René Roa

To be fair, is there any precooked chicken that’s actually all that good? Nonetheless, the biggest complaints people have against TJ’s precooked chicken strips are that they are quite dry and lacking in flavor. A better option might be to choose some pre-marinated, preseason chicken. You’ll have to cook it, yes, but it will taste significantly better.

3. Organic Baby Spinach & Spring Mix Blend

cooked food with raspbery
Photo by Katherine Chase

Premixed salad blends are a major time-saving convenience. However, according to customers, any bagged salad at TJ’s that includes spring mix always has issues. Specifically, leaves that are slimy, floppy, and break down quickly. Shoppers say half of it goes to waste. Ditto for the organic baby spinach. Make sure to inspect the bags before you buy.

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2. Sliced Bread

bread on brown wooden chopping board
Photo by Laura Ockel

In general, the bread department at Trader Joe’s is loved by many shoppers. But not all are equal. TJ’s breads lack preservatives. While healthy, they don’t last more than a few days. Shoppers say the pre-sliced loaves spoil and mold more quickly than un-sliced loaves. You might try freezing part of the loaves until you’re ready to eat them.

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1. Cauliflower Pizza Crust

pizza with berries
Photo by Ivan Torres

Cauliflower everything is a huge trend that’s not slowing anytime soon. However, this pizza crust has some serious flaws. Although the instructions say to put it directly on an oven rack, it breaks apart and crumbles under the weight of any toppings. It leaves you with a massive mass. Using a baking sheet, it won’t crisp or it’ll burn trying.

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