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The "Do Not Buy" Trader Joe's List! by Claudia

by Claudia, posted to Food & Drink

Okay, you all know that I'm a TJ fan but there are some bad buys I've come across that I thought I should share. Feel free to add any items you would NOT repurchase at your next Trader Joe's trip.

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Added to Your List

Trader Joe's Orchids

Suggested by Larissa

I've made the mistake of buying a couple of orchids from Trader Joe's, how can you resist at that price?? I don't know where they get their orchids from but they never last more than a couple weeks - the ones I buy from nurseries or even Whole Foods usually last 3+ months.

Luis Macho Santiago: I have several orchids from tjs and all doing great one I got my friend 3 yrs ago and it's doing awesome not everyone can grow orchids

bellachisa: Actually TJ's orchids are the first one to make re-blooming. Only one IMPORTANT thing you have to do is..... when your orchid finishes blooming, you MUST re-pot into the larger container with a new bark and a sphagnum moss. TJ's orchid is potted in THE TINY CONTAINER in the pot, which does not give the orchid an air and eventually all those precious roots will die. When it is getting warm, place the orchid outside where the orchid can receive an eastern morning sun, preferably under the tree where has a

Aino: ...roots. Once they are done blooming carefully remove them from the pot. Shriveled roots= under watering. Dark rotting roots = over watering. Remove dead roots and repot in a bark based orchid mix. Key point: match pot size to ROOTS not leaves. Lots of info online to help.

rubberduckyoverlord: I actually was given an orchid from TJ for a concert 6 years ago and it is still blooming and lovely..

Larissa: Thanks for the tips, will definitely try repotting next time.

Dorina.a.avram: I bought two and both are doign great!

Jackie Weaver: My Trader Joe orchid lasted 6 months!

Aino: I've got about 70 orchids and at least 10 are from TJ's. If you aren't having luck you re likely over or under watering them. Growers grow them in nz sphagnum moss which is fine when they are young and you want to grow lts

Claudia: What a bummer! I have actually considered buying this but thanks for the heads up!

KC: I buy these orchids all the time!!!!! They are LOVELY!

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Added to Your List

Beefless Ground Beef

The worst thing I ever ate was Trader Joe’s beefless ground beef....more

Suggested by Larissa

This sounds pretty gross!

Alyson Montez: I think a product like this can surprise people who are possibly expecting pre-flavored products. This one in particular is designed to be seasoned before cooking, for sure. Why is it on this entire page everything has a bold-faced "disgusting" or "do not buy" caption? I've never had a bad thing at Trader Joe's, ever!

ModelPerfect: Yet another wrong review regarding a great tasting, non meat, cruelty free product by a NON vegetarian. This is one of the better "non meats" out there. The texture is much like crumbled real beef & so is the look. The taste needs a bit of seasoning but still good. This high protein, super low cal content make it an excellent choice.

cbg84: I really like this stuff, and use it all the time for tacos. My omni-friends have also said it's good.

Megan Elizabeth: I disagree. I just had this for the first time tonight and thought it was FABULOUS. I made tacos out of it and added taco seasoning, canned tomatoes and black beans and couldn't stop sneaking bites. Definitely one of the better meat-less products I have had and I have been a vegetarian for 4 years.

Alyson Montez: Try the soy chorizo, it's pre-flavored and tasty!

KC: Again I am agreeing with @ModelPerfect on this, this is a GREAT TASTING vegan meat product! Don't listen to the negativity here on this product.

Larissa: Maybe I ought to give it a second try and season it properly this time, thanks for the tip!

Alyson Montez: Oh duh this is a list of worst things to eat. Sorry I missed that part, I found this while Googling something else.

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Smart Dogs

This is the WORST food item I have ever tried at Trader Joe's! Do not buy. I think Dog food might have been a better choice.

Dana McNaught: This is silly- if you knew anything about the harvesting of soy to meet the demand for it, then you would know that animals are definitely suffering because of the loss of their natural habitats- you just haven't eaten them is all...that's not exactly guilt free eating.

ModelPerfect: You're both completely wrong on this product. How dare you try to influence the public against vegetarian food. If you're a vegetarian, which neither of you are, this is the best & closest tasting [non-meat] product with a ton of protein that tastes exactly like a real hot dog. Even the color, the smell, the texture is exactly like a real hot dog, not to mention is is very low calories, high in protein & best of all, it's cruelty free. Not a single animal perished or suffered to offer this product to the pu

clubtraderjoes: These are the worst hot dogs I've ever eaten!

cbg84: I like them as a vegetarian alternative, though I find them tastier grilled than any other way of heating.

LynnS.: While not exactly "healthy", when I have a craving for a hot dog, I go for the Smart Dogs. They're delicious!!

KC: Smart Dogs rule!!!! don't listen to this review. They are vegan and not a dead animal. Guilt free eating! Yum yum

Claudia: So glad you agree!!!

Alyson Montez: I love Smart Dogs hardcore. I slice and deep fry them to put in chili. Which is probably a terrible way to eat them. But if I have them just in a bun with mustard and ketchup, or as chili cheese dogs (vegan), they're still gone in a day or two!

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Added to Your List

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

Easily one of the worst things I’ve ever put in my mouth since being old enough to know better. And that says a lot.

Larissa: This sounds disgusting, can't believe it made it into production

Joycelyn Watterson-Woods: I really liked these, but made my own version after buying them one time and mine were better ( and I am not a good cook)

Celtic Leo: I actually liked these the first time I had them. I don't know why. I bought it again and it tastes really icky. Since I had nothing else to eat, I actually put ketchup on it to get it down. Will not be buying again !

Karyn Cooks: I loved these!

twowingsup: Don't ever buy these. they are super gross.

Marinka: You had me gagging at its title

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Added to Your List

Trader Joe's Veggie Sausage Patties

They taste pretty bad. Go for the Morning Star brand!! They taste much better.

nick: taste is slightly subpar to Morning Star which is GMO soy TJs is not (supposedly) so the trade off OKw me (plus I always seem to get an "extra" patty - 7 instead of 6

Karyn Cooks: They taste nearly identical to Morning Star, in my opinion.

ModelPerfect: What tastes weird is those bits of real fat, tissue & REAL veins NON vegetarians eat in "real meat" products. These Veggies Sausages are a bit spicy & can cause some heartburn in sensitive consumers but as a whole, they are high protein, cruelty free & much, much better for your waist line & your heart.

hongie327: I agree. They taste weird once you bite into them and start chewing. They don't have quite as distinctive a smell as they do in taste. It's a taste that is hard to describe except it reminds me of puke or other gastrointestinal acids. Makes you wonder where the puke taste comes from.

Jackie: I'd have to disagree Karyn, I tried one of these patties with one of the morning star for a little taste test and these sausage patties were definitely not as tasty as the morning star.

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Fat Free Spicy Black Bean Dip

If you like hummus-fied dark super vinegary matter, you’ll like this. Not spicy at all and we cannot verify if there are really black beans or anything other than vinegar in it.

Karyn Geoghan: agreed! this product went from store to home to mouth to garbage. yuck

Vivian Li: This works well as a spread!

Claudia: Haha, glad you feel the same way about this dip!

Angela Lucero: It's like vinegar with beans in it

Tiffanie Penley: I actually really like this stuff.

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Chocolate Filled French Toast

Suggested by Jackie

This sounds amazing BUT it's really not! It comes with 2 in a pack - I cooked each one on different days. Both times the texture in the middle was extremely undercooked and doughy = nasty. I do not recommend buying these..definitely not worth it.

Paula Thompson Staton: I just ate one of these....put it in the microwave and monitored it closely and it was wonderful....

Sandra Hamilton Rodenas: Actually these are great, I toast them in the toaster oven. Alas, I was at Trader Joe's in Columbia, MD on Wednesday and was told they have been discontinued. I am so sad.

Claudia: Thanks for sharing..I really wanted to purchase on my last trip to TJ's. Glad I didn't!

See all 3 comments

Added to Your List

Frozen Seafood

Suggested by Larissa

I would avoid buying their frozen seafood. I've had terrible experiences with my many purchases of their frozen fish and seafood. I've tried many different kinds, and they always disappoint.

Claudia: Say it isn't so! i do recall buying some the other day and being disappointed with the taste and texture.

Cesar M. Davis: it's frozen. fresh is always better

Juliet Otto: Tried to give the frozen uncooked shrimp a chase 3 times, but it was all bad, and I wouldn't take that kind of risk again.

See all 3 comments

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I've had a couple of different sushi plates here and each time I ended up regretting my purchase. Not worth your money if you like good sushi!

LynnS.: I agree...TJ's sushi leaves a lot to be desired. However, some of the best sushi I've had was a cheap deal - just not TJ's.

Eden Godsoe: Sushi is not something that you want to look for deals on or be cheap about.

Added to Your List

Trader Joe's Produce

Suggested by Larissa

I'm not a fan of TJ's produce. I've bought 'fresh' produce there on more than one occasion that's been moldy - avoid the strawberries, apples, tomatoes.

Krista: SO true. I stick with the Farmer's Markets for my produce.

Juliet Otto: Agreed. Raspberries are always moldy the next day, and the sliced mango is never ripe. I've only had good luck with Heirloom tomatoes.

Added to Your List

4 Things Not to Buy at Trader Joe's - CBS

Trader Joe's buyers may choose their products extremely carefully, but...more

Suggested by Larissa

Whoa, TJ's beloved 2 Buck Chuck is #4?

Claudia: This is a great article although the wraps I may disagree with. Some of them are pretty good

jlquilts: dairy products.....always a short shelf life.....anything gluten is not gf just because they have a G on the shelf .

Added to Your List

Chicken Breasts in Poblano Sauce

Suggested by Jackie

I was very hesitant on getting this since the fish fillet was said to be disgusting. Of course I shouldn't complain about it not looking like it does on the box..but it doesn't! And the taste was too lemon-y and the risotto was extremely mushy. Not a fan at all.

Angela Lucero: I just trie this and it was terrible. The chicken was disgusting and there was a ton of water in it. I couldn't really stomach it, but my dog likes it lol

Dkz03001: I tried this twice just to be sure it was as bad as I remembered. I like the reduced guilt mac/cheese and ziti, so I thought that this would be a great addition to the collection. But, it's not. The chicken is rubbery, pink, and tastes a bit foul. It lays on top of a pool of liquid - I don't know why "risotto" is the consistency of soup in this frozen meal. The flavor just did not sit right with me, and I had to throw it out the second time I had it.

Added to Your List

Reduced Guilt Filet of Sole with Butter Beans and Spinach Leaves

Trader Joe's is really inexpensive. To be honest, it is at times...more

Suggested by Larissa

This sounded promising, only 190 calories for a delicious-looking low carb frozen meal to add to my lunch rotation. Boy was I wrong, it was deee-gusting!! The fish was flavorless and the sauce was too sweet and pungent - never again!!

Claudia: Amen sister! Lol, mine didnt even make it to my desk. I had one sniff and taste at the kitchen and it went straight to the trash!

Added to Your List

5 Most Disgusting Items In The Trader Joe's Freezer Aisle | LA Weekly

Trader Joe's is really inexpensive. To be honest, it is at times...more

Suggested by Larissa

Hah, stumbled upon this fabulous list while searching for my disgusting TJ's Freezer Aisle purchase. I think they've discontinued most of these, but still worth a read.

Added to Your List

The Daily Meal: The Good, the Bad, and the Dearly Departed

The team behind What's Good at Trader Joe's? have been reviewing and...more

Suggested by Larissa

Title says it all.

Added to Your List

Satay Peanut Sauce

Tastes fishy. Literally. That’s not even close to what satay peanut sauce is supposed to taste like.

Added to Your List

List: The Best of Trader Joe's

Now that you know what NOT to buy here are some great finds at Trader Joe's.

Added to Your List

Tempura Chicken

Suggested by Eden Godsoe

I love the Mandarin Orange Chicken so thought this would be great too. Not so much. It was way too doughy / bready (are those even words?!) Felt very heavy and you could barely taste the chicken or red peppers.

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comments (4)



 I just took my VERY LAST trip to Trader Joe's today. Here is what I think of TJ's.....products overpriced, products very close to being outdated, gluten free products are not gluten free even though it says so on the shelf, they don't carry "normal" grocery staples, produce is overpriced and not that good, employees treat you rude if you show there is a problem with something, and the worse thing is their CUSTOMERS are RUDE....they do not move, they socialize in the aisles, they expect you to go out of y


 continued....not buying anymore of Trader Joes frozen meals. Most of them are disgusting. Trader Joes is overrated.


 Just bought 1 New York steak at Trader Joe's last night. It was in the refrigerator overnight. When I opened it the next day it had a detectable odor to it. I cooked it but it smelled unusual so it put me off eating it. Label states -- Product of Mexico and the USA." Maybe I'm missing something -- but how can 1 steak originate from both Mexico and the USA? Buyer beware at Trader Joes. Over the last couple of years I have experienced a decline in their offerings and quality. I'm not buying anymore of th

Celtic Leo:

 Precooked Brown Rice: I think the precooked (microwavable) brown rice is atrocious ! Major yuck fest.......could not eat it..!