Trader Joe’s: By The Numbers

Of the food procurement palaces in Union Square/NYU Village, where’s a budget-conscious freshman to shop for produce that hearkens back to hometown heartland prices?

Well, nowhere. But! From a quick survey of prices, it seems that a savvy shopper would have to hit the three biggest local stores to get a cross-the-board deal.

Now, for a bit of truly useful service journalism.

At Trader Joe’s–ambiance: Insane!–there’s butternut squash at 69 cents a pound, which holds up nicely to the $1.29 per pound prices of the Food Emporium and Whole Foods. The price discrepancy swings the other way for avocados: it’s $3.49 each at Trader Joe’s, $2.99 each at Food Emporium, and $1.79 each at Whole Foods. (Part of the price difference has to do with origin and organic status–but they did look best at Whole Foods.)

Granny Smith apples? $2.19 at Trader Joe’s; $2.49 at Food Emporium; $1.98 and $2.49 (inorganic and organic options) at Whole Foods, where the ambiance today is quite relaxed. (Short lines! No waiting!)

Lemons, compared between per each and by pound prices come out fairly even, though shallots (organic) appear to be wildly more expensive at Whole Foods.

The sweet jumbo onions at Food Emporium–ambiance: Highly suburban!– will set you back $1.99, while the less jumbo ones will do you $1.49 at Trader Joe’s.

And are you in search of plums, D’anjou pears, or spaghetti squash? You won’t find either of those at Food Emporium or Whole Foods this week. To the new kid on the block must go some credit.

- Choire Sicha

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