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Trader Joe’s vs Albertsons: Which is Better?

trader joes vs albertsons

When it comes to grocery shopping, there are many options to choose from. Two popular chains are Trader Joe’s and Albertsons, both of which offer a wide selection of products at competitive prices. 

When It comes to Trader Joe’s vs. Albertsons, it really is a matter of your personal preferences. Trader Joe’s and Albertsons have somewhat comparable prices. Albertsons has more national brands, while Trader Joe’s offers private label unique items you can’t get anywhere else. 

Trader Joe’s vs Albertsons: Which is Better?

It’s difficult to say definitively which chain is better, as it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both Trader Joe’s and Albertsons have their own unique strengths and weaknesses.

One major difference between the two stores is their product selection. Trader Joe’s is known for its extensive selection of private label products, including a wide range of healthy and organic options.

Albertsons, on the other hand, carries a wider range of national brands and has a larger selection of products overall.

Another difference is the shopping experience. Trader Joe’s is known for its laid-back atmosphere and friendly customer service, while Albertsons tends to have a more traditional grocery store feel.

The Pros and Cons of Shopping at Trader Joe’s and Albertsons

Trader Joe’s


Wide selection of private label products, including healthy and organic options. Many of the items you’ll find at Trader Joe’s are exclusive to the store – and some are even specific to the region. 

Laid-back atmosphere and friendly customer service. The Hawaiian shirt sporting staff at Trader Joe’s are trained to be more casual than your standard grocery shopping experience. 

Affordable prices on some items. Though, some of their premium items will run you a little more, but that is expected at any grocery store. 

A sense of ‘old fashioned’ authenticity. There’s something very honest and ‘traditional’ about Trader Joe’s, and that’s easily seen in their branding. They have a strong brand identity that can appeal to some shoppers. 

Loyalty to their customers. Trader Joe’s cares a lot about its shoppers and ensuring that they’re given the best, fairest prices around for their selection of private label items. This is actually why they do not deliver and do not have a rewards program: they believe everyone should get to pay the same price. 


Limited selection of national brands. If you’re looking for national popular names, such as Coca Cola, Kraft, or Nature Valley to name a few, you’ll be hard pressed to find them at Trader Joe’s.

This can be inconvenient if you have particular brand favorites and don’t want to stop at more than one store. 

Smaller store size may make it more crowded and harder to find products. 

Many products at Trader Joe’s are seasonal – if you’re craving a peppermint favorite you tried back in December in March, you’re out of luck until next winter. Additionally, they tend to discontinue items frequently.

Aside from some of their staples, like their famous Cookie Butter, you never know which one of your current food obsessions is going to be gone the next time you shop. 

No online delivery. Sorry, InstaCart aficionados, Trader Joe’s does not deliver through its own online store or through third parties, and does not seem to plan to start. 



Wide selection of products, including national brands. This can make for a convenient ‘one stop shop’ experience for people who want to get everything on their list without heading to two (or more) stores.

Larger store size makes it easier to find products. They will always have a bigger selection than Trader Joe’s, partly thanks to the fact that they carry national brands. 

Offers online shopping and delivery options. With just a few clicks, you can have all of your groceries delivered to your doorstep.

This is especially helpful for people without cars, people with very busy schedules, or those who have trouble leaving their home (such as disabled or elderly people). 


May not have as many healthy, vegetarian, and organic options as Trader Joe’s. That’s not to say that it’s totally devoid of those healthier choices, though. 

May not have the same laid-back atmosphere as Trader Joe’s. If you’re looking for the specific atmosphere that Trader Joe’s curates, you’re not likely to find it at Albertsons.

Trader Joe’s and Albertsons: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Store Locations

How many stores a chain has will usually determine how easy it will be to find one. How do Trader Joe’s and Albertsons stack up? 

  • Trader Joe’s: approximately 569 locations.
  • Albertsons: approximately 2,253 locations 

Years In Business

How long have these two grocery chains been open and operating? 

  • Albertsons: since 1939 
  • Trader Joe’s: since 1967 

Private Or Public Company

Who owns Trader Joe’s, and who owns Albertsons? 

  • Trader Joe’s is a private company, currently under the ownership of Theo Albrecht’s family. 
  • Albertsons is a public company, currently owned by Cerberus Capital Management and housed under the Kroger umbrella.

Has a Rewards Program

Shoppers who are loyal to one store or another often like to be rewarded for being a regular, usually in the form of discounts or special offers. 

  • Trader Joe’s. No. There are no rewards cards to scan or loyalty points to stack, but this is for noble reasons on behalf of the company. They believe that all of their shoppers should have equal access to the best prices, always. 
  • Albertson’s: Yes. The Albertsons For U program awards regular shoppers with fuel rewards, digital coupons, and in-store discounts. 

Offers Online Delivery

Online delivery is undeniably convenient. Which of these two grocery brands offers it? 

  • Trader Joe’s: No. They avoid using third party or their own delivery systems in an effort to keep from inflating their prices in service of meeting the costs that delivery would require. 
  • Albertsons: Yes, both through its own online portal and through apps like InstaCart, DoorDash, and UberEats. 

Carries Vegan Products

Those who partake in a vegan lifestyle usually struggle to find items that will suit their dietary needs. Do either of these stores carry vegan options? 

  • Trader Joe’s: Yes. 
  • Albertsons: Yes. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision of which store to shop at will depend on your personal preferences and needs. If you are looking for a wide selection of private label healthy and organic options at affordable prices, Trader Joe’s may be the right choice for you.

On the other hand, if you prefer a larger selection of national brands and the convenience of online shopping and delivery, Albertsons may be a better fit.

Both Trader Joe’s and Albertsons have their own unique strengths and weaknesses, and the right choice will depend on what matters most to you. Consider your budget, shopping preferences, and the types of products you typically purchase when deciding which store is right for you.


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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