Sunday, January 23, 2011

Trader Joe's Shopping List

I'm doing it again. I'm singing praises for Trader Joe's. Too bad I don't get paid for these posts or at least get a store discount!

I was talking with my girlfriends the other day about Trader Joe's. One of them has a child with a peanut allergy, and she was frustrated to find so many items with a "manufactured in a facility with peanut/tree nut" warning. I'm with her there. It's very frustrating especially because there weren't always so many products with that label. Our Trader Joe's store changed to a different regional distribution warehouse for it's inventory. This particular warehouse stocks a lot more products made by manufacturers that have more cross-contamination occurrences.

In our conversation I mentioned that regardless of all of those products with a peanut/tree nut allergen label, I somehow managed to still spend over $240 during my monthly trip to Trader Joe's. Because of the distance to the store, I only go once a month. I have to strategically shop, and I usually require 2 grocery carts in my effort to stock up. I can't imagine what I would spend if I could purchase cereals, breads and more boxed ingredients that were safe for Abigail.

My friend was surprised that I could find that much to purchase so for kicks I started making a list of all of the items that I do purchase. As I was putting together my list, I thought I might as well make it double as my grocery list so I ended up putting a little more effort into it. I know I didn't remember everything, but it's a good first start, and I thought I'd share it.  Here's my Trader Joe's shopping list.

Just a couple of quick notes.
  • First, just because it's safe in my store, doesn't mean that it will be in yours especially if you live in a different part of the country so always check the labels.
  • Second, while the majority of the items are safe for Abigail there are a couple of items that I've put a "*" next to because I buy them for my husband, son or myself. We keep those items on the top shelf, and Abigail knows she can't eat them. We're also careful of when and where we eat them. An example of these items are the cereal snack bars and raw almonds that my husband takes to work.
  • Third, all of the items on my list are rGBH free, contain no GM ingredients, artificial colors, preservatives or artificial sweeteners and on average cost less than what I can purchase elsewhere. They're also usually the Trader Joe's store brand.  The aisles that I've listed are for my store and to help me with my shopping.  That also goes for the order it's listed in.
  • Lastly, you might find some key items missing from my list like the milk. That doesn't mean it doesn't meet my safe food criteria, it just means that I prefer the taste of a different brand of milk.
As I'm working on this post, I remembered that Trader Joe's and I go way back. I shopped at one of the first Trader Joe's in 1987 before they expanded out of their Southern California birthplace. I was in high school and visiting an aunt and uncle during my summer break. With their help, I purchased a bottle of the "2 Buck Chuck" wine (yes it was called that even back then) to bring back as a present for my parents. I didn't get to sample it back then, but I've made up for it now. While not on my shopping list, Trader Joe's is still a great place to also buy wine.


Laura said...

this is very helpful - thank you! So does Trader Joe's always list for "May contains" with their brand?

Mom with a Mission said...

Thanks Laura. I've been meaning to make a form shopping list for myself for quite some time but never got around to it. My conversation with my friends was the catalyst I needed. Glad it helps others as well.

Not all of their products have a "may contain" statement, but I'd guess at least 80 or more percent do. I've got a few products on my list that don't, but the ingredient list is minimal. I've been meaning to e-mail Trader Joe's to ask about some specific products. Your comment was the catalyst for that, and I sent an e-mail just a minute ago. So thanks for that.


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