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Does Trader Joe’s Have Imitation Crab? (Answered)

Does Trader Joe’s Have Imitation Crab

Imitation crab has become widely popular since it was first introduced in the United States in the late 1970s and has become a common item in grocery stores throughout the country. While its origins can be traced back to Japan, its popularity in the US can’t be denied; its annual sales have risen to several hundred million dollars.

So, does Trader Joe’s have imitation crab? The answer: yes, it does. Trader Joe’s sells its own imitation crab product in stores across the country. However, the product might not be sold in all stores and its availability is subject to a variety of factors, such as the location of the store.

In this guide, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about imitation crab and its availability at Trader Joe’s in great detail. Read on to find out more!

What is Imitation Crab?

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Imitation crab is a kind of seafood product that is processed so that it resembles real crab meat, as its name suggests. But it isn’t actually made from it. Its color, flavor, and texture are all made to only resemble that of real crab meat.

Imitation crab is made from ingredients that include surimi (fish flesh that is minced), egg whites, protein, vegetable oil, sugar, starch, and some flavorings. These ingredients are combined and processed to produce a paste-like mixture. Pollock is the fish that is most commonly used to make surimi.

The origins of imitation crab can be traced back to the 1970s when it was introduced in Japan as an affordable alternative to expensive real crab meat. Following that, imitation crab then started being produced in the United States and has grown in popularity ever since.

To check the current price and availability of Beaver Street Fisheries Imitation Crab Meat, click here to view the listing on Amazon.

Does Trader Joe’s Carry Imitation Crab?

Trader Joe’s carries a variety of seafood options, including its own version of imitation crab. While that is true, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Not all Trader Joe’s stores carry imitation crab and the availability might vary depending on the geographical location of the store and a host of other factors. Moreover, Trader Joe’s store inventories can often vary and change and it may discontinue existing products.

The best course of action is to get in touch with your nearest Trader Joe’s local store and ask them directly about the availability of imitation crab or related products. Alternatively, you can check TJ’s website for the latest information.

Nutrition and Health Considerations

Below, we list down the nutritional facts for imitation crab meat for a 3 oz (85g) serving. These data are sourced from Nutritionix.

  • Calories: 81
  • Total fat: 0.4 grams
    • Trans fat: 0 gram
    • Saturated fat: 0.2 grams
    • Monounsaturated fat: 0.2 grams
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 grams
  • Total carbohydrates: 13 grams
    • Sugars: 5.3 grams
    • Dietary fiber: 0.4 grams
  • Cholesterol: 17 milligrams
  • Protein: 6.5 grams
  • Sodium: 450 milligrams
  • Potassium: 76.5 milligrams
  • Calcium: 11 milligrams
  • Iron: 0.3 milligrams
  • Vitamin D: 9 milligrams
  • Caffeine: 0 milligrams

While imitation crab can taste wonderful and be quite affordable, there are some benefits and risks associated with its consumption.

Since it is low in fat and calories, it can be a good addition to your diet if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight. It can also help avoid the risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease.

But there are also certain risks you’re exposing yourself to by consuming imitation crab meat. Since it is a highly processed food containing plenty of additives like MSG, it can lead to serious health problems and side effects in certain individuals. Moreover, it lacks many of the essential nutrients found in real, fresh crab meat.

How to Use Imitation Crab

Imitation crab can be used in several different ways in a multitude of dishes. Below, we mention some helpful suggestions to help you get started:

  • Crab salad using imitation crab, avocado, sliced cucumbers, olive oil, lemon juice, and cherry tomatoes.
  • Seafood pasta dish with imitation crab, tomatoes, shrimp, cooked pasta, onions, and garlic.
  • Crab cakes with mayonnaise and breadcrumbs.
  • California rolls with sushi rice, imitation crab, cucumber, and avocado.
  • Stuffed mushrooms.
  • Crab dip made with chopped imitation crab meat, cream cheese, shredded cheese, sour cream, and seasonings.

If you want to store imitation crab meat, you can put it back into the plastic container it came in and pop it into the refrigerator or freezer. If imitation crab is stored safely and properly in an air-tight container, it will be good for up to a week if refrigerated and several months if frozen.


Does Trader Joe’s Sell Real Crab Meat?

Yes, Trader Joe’s does sell real crab meat, under the name “Trader Joe’s Wild Caught Crab Meat”. It retails for about $8 for 8 ounces. It is considerably pricier than the retailer’s canned crab products.

Is Imitation Crab Better for You Than Real Crab?                       

In terms of nutritional content, real crab meat is significantly richer in several different nutrients compared to imitation crab meat, so it is healthier.

The latter is a highly processed food and has fewer minerals and vitamins. It also contains several additives such as MSG. So while imitation crab is cheaper than its real counterpart, it is much inferior in terms of nutritional content.

Is Imitation Crab Cooked or Raw?

Imitation crab is never sold raw. Instead, it is pre-cooked and sold in the frozen or refrigerated sections of retail stores. It doesn’t need to be cooked and can be used straight from its packaging for a variety of dishes.

Consuming raw imitation crab can pose significant risks to your health and can easily cause food-borne diseases.

Can Vegans Eat Imitation Crab?

No, imitation crab meat isn’t vegan and shouldn’t be consumed by vegans. Even though it isn’t real crab meat, it is still made from fish and hence isn’t vegan-friendly.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, Trader Joe’s does sell imitation crab at its stores, though its availability is subject to several factors. Consuming imitation crab meat can pose several risks to your health as well as a few benefits, all of which we have covered extensively in this guide.

In the future, if you want to purchase imitation crab products from Trader Joe’s, consider their nutritional content, ingredients, as well as their retail price to make an informed decision.

Thank you for reading this guide and we hope you found it insightful and informative!


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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