Trader Joe’s vs. Door to Door Organics: Which costs more?

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When I shared my first “What’s in the box?” post on Facebook, a friend noted that the total cost of $34.41 seemed high and wondered if that included extra for a delivery fee. Though I already knew the price was higher than if it were regular (non organic) produce, I decided to find out exactly how much more or less the box costs compared to organic produce from the grocery store.

Besides a small local health food store, Trader Joe’s is the only grocery store in the area that provides organic options for much of their produce. I thought they would be a good comparison since they have locations in many cities.

So here’s how it went down: I went in to Trader Joe’s armed with a list of produce and my camera phone. I then proceeded to walk around the store like a weirdo, taking photos of produce and crossing things off a list.

Unfortunately, my ancient phone sucks, and I don’t have photos of everything. However, I did manage to get the prices of every item from the first box:

4 organic Bosc pears: $3.16
4 organic Gala apples: $3.16
1lb carrots: $3.99*
1 Delicata squash: $0.99*
1lb mixed potatoes: $2.49*
4 organic Russet potatoes: $3.99
0.5lb green beans: $2.69+*
4 organic garlic cloves: $2.00
5 organic Roma tomatos: $3.49
1 green onion bunch: $1.29*
1 bag organic Lacinato kale: $2.29+

+ Trader Joe’s did not have yellow beans or organic green kale bunches. Instead I found regular green beans and a bag of pre-chopped Lacinato kale.
* Trader Joe’s also did not have organic versions of everything. According to the USDA, organic produce costs 10-30% more than regular produce. I added 20% to each of the non organic items, except the green beans to which I added 30% (since yellow beans are apparently more rare.) The adjusted prices of those items are below:

1lb carrots: $4.79
1 Delicata squash: $1.19
1lb mixed potatoes: $3.00
0.5lb green beans: $3.50
1 green onion bunch: $1.55

After adjusting those prices, I also needed to add the sales tax. I looked at my actual Trader Joe’s receipt (I did buy things) and saw that there is a 5% tax and a 2% tax.

So who won?

The total cost of the Trader Joe’s produce, with taxes and adjustment for organics, was $34.37. Without adjusting for organics, it would have been $31.61. Pretty close, but TJ’s is coming in at slightly less! Right?

But wait… there’s more. Driving to and from Trader Joe’s from our home burns about 1 galon of gas in my Outback (not to mention at least 40 minutes spent in the car total!) Gas prices here are currently $3.01/galon, adding $3.01 to the cost of the Trader Joe’s produce. That means…

Door to Door Organics wins!

That doesn’t mean we don’t still shop at Trader Joe’s for other things. It’s conveniently located in the same mall as Target, so the drive out there isn’t so bad so long as we need enough stuff. This time around, I bought Greek yogurt, whole wheat pasta, some Two Buck Chuck merlot, and cookies. Happy Saturday.

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