Why Every College Students Needs To Shop At Trader Joe’s

3 Of The Best Reasons Every College Student Needs To Flock To The Nearest Trader Joe's ASAP

We've all been living a grocery lie, and the time for change is now!

64
views

Hello everyone, Bridget here. I feel as though it is finally time for me to dive deep into one of my most polarizing opinions: Trader Joe's is the superior grocery store. There, I said it. Now, as a Florida native, I will always be partial to the land of the green, aka Publix, but up here in Cackalacky, I am starved of my normal shopping locations.

Last year, this debate truly didn't matter to me. I lived on campus, had no kitchen, and basically survived off of Frosted Flakes and microwave nachos (no shame). However, this year I was blessed with an apartment with a kitchen — and my grocery game changed. You see, we do not have Harris Teeter in FL, so I just went with the flock the first couple weeks. I figured I would get the things I needed at a fair price and that would be the end of it. Let me tell you all, I was wrong!

I had limited experience with Trader Joe's, but one day I decided to give it a try. I knew that I was spending more than I wanted to on groceries and wanted to seek out other options. Now, the savings were honestly shocking. For the same amount of (on brand) groceries that I bought at Harris Teeter, I could buy the off-brand equivalents at Trader Joe's for nearly half the price. Needless to say, I was blown away.

I was so happy with my savings that I didn't even realize that the quality of the food I purchased actually exceeded (in my opinion) the quality of the produce and meat I was buying from Harris Teeter. From further shopping trials, I would argue that the quality of Trader Joe's groceries exceed those of both Walmart and Target, and are comparable to (much more expensive) stores like Whole Foods and Fresh Market.

All of this being said, I wanted to provide you all with some of my favorite ways to shop at Trader Joe's, given it's more minimalistic, off-brand nature. I want to try to change the minds of those who assume Trader Joe's is either 1. low quality or 2. unnecessarily expensive like some other "green" grocery stores.

Before I begin, I thought one more really awesome thing to add about the store is that they don't use plastic bags! The produce bags are compostable, and they encourage the use of reusable bags with the option of paper if you don't have any. I love this attention to detail and effort to minimize our footprint on our ever suffering environment. Every little bit helps!

Now, onto the list!

1. Fresh Ingredients At Every Turn

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/21/what-groceries-32-...

Buying organic can be expensive, but in some cases, I feel like it can be worth it. The taste of certain fruits and vegetables can improve when grown organically, and the nutritional benefits are definitely worth it; however, I know that it isn't within everyone's price range.

I find that Trader Joe's produce is fresh and delicious, regardless of whether or not they are organic. Their variety of produce is realistically seasonal so that when you are buying produce of any kind, you know that it is fresh and in season. They are not like every other store that has all types of produce all year round, because that is just not consistent with farming seasons. Further, they always have both organic and nonorganic options for their produce, so if you have certain preferences, you don't have to settle for all one or the other. I have always been pleased with the quality of my produce, both organic and not, at Trader Joe's and the pricing makes it that much better!

Side note: I also find that the same goes for their meat and poultry. They have more expensive organic options, yet their regular chicken and beef options have never left me disappointed and have never hurt my wallet!

2. The Frozen Aisle Of Dreams

https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/trader-joes-elkrid...

Walking down the frozen aisle at Trader Joe's is like walking through Santa's workshop. Frozen food is one of the main ways I make it through the week (sorry parents), but with Trader Joe's, I do not have to sacrifice quality for accessibility.

When I say that they have everything you could imagine, I am not lying. Yes, they have the staple frozen fruits and veggies (perfect for smoothies!) and frozen chicken and kinds of pasta, but that is just the beginning.

To name a few, some of my favorite frozen items include chicken cilantro dumplings, chocolate croissants, arancini rice balls, mac and cheese bites, and riced cauliflower.

The opportunities are endless, and I promise there is something there that everyone will love.

3. Keeping The Cost Low

No, this is not my own personal receipt, BUT it looks pretty much identical to mine (except way shorter because your girl only grocery shops like twice a month). Notice how nearly everything is under $3!!

https://bigredkitchen.com/2008/09/2-cheap-chicks-2...

I think my favorite thing about Trader Joe's is their pricing. I know I am repeating myself, but I am always amazed when I look at my receipt and find that I rarely pay more than $3 or $4 for anything on my list. It is honestly such a great feeling knowing that you are staying on budget and setting yourself up for a nutritious week.

I cannot say enough good things about Trader Joe's as I'm sure you can all tell! I strongly encourage any of you who have not shopped there to give it a try and see what you think! As I said, the quality and the pricing are unbeatable, and the variety of choices is massive! Whether you are balling on a budget or just grocery shopping in general, I really think everyone can benefit from visiting their local Trader Joe's!

Popular Right Now

5 Companies That Still Use Slave Labor

Let's talk about the modern slave trade.
90213
views

Growing up in a country where freedom is always a right and expectation — whether you live in the United States or one of the other 86 "free" countries — it is easy to believe that, compared to the well-known 1800s slave trade, we are doing pretty well when it comes to civil liberties, freedom, and overall social welfare. Documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) have been approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations, meaning that the vast majority of nations have agreed that every individual has the right to basic human dignity.

Despite this significant progress, however, there are 45.8 million people enslaved today, more than any other time in world history. The United States Department of Homeland Security has launched the Blue Campaign in light of this growing industry, hoping to raise awareness of the human trafficking that persists in local communities. Additionally, you can watch this video for a summary on the Global Slavery pandemic. I will write about the problem of human trafficking in the United States on another day; however, global slavery affects us whether it is in our city or halfway around the world. In fact, companies that you purchase from every single day use slave labor for their work instead of paying employees a fair wage.* Don't believe me?

Here are five companies that are using slave labor to make their products TODAY, and where you should shop instead.

Nestle

Nestle is one of the largest companies that has consistently carried out human rights violations all over the world. Not only did they illegally take water from California during the drought in 2015, but in the 1970s they got third-world mothers to use infant formula by selling it at reduced prices, and then when the mothers could no longer breastfeed, they raised the price of formula so much that many children were malnourished and starving.

Their most recent problems revolve around slavery in the cocoa industry. In 2009 several former child slaves sued Nestle because they were trafficked and forced to work on Nestle farms in Cote d'Ivoire. Another suit was filed by former child slaves in 2014, stating that "Studies by International Labour Organization, UNICEF, the Department of State, and numerous other organizations have confirmed that thousands of children are forced to work without pay in the Ivorian economy." In 2016, the Fair Labor Association executed an assessment of Nestle in Cote d'Ivoire. They claimed that 70% of Nestle farms were not trained on the prohibition of forced labor. Further, they stated that "there is no process in place to monitor, report, and remediate cases of forced labor at the farms." With this in mind, they did find evidence of potential forced and uncompensated labor. Additionally, they found evidence of child labor—many of these children never enrolling in school — in which children were getting paid little to nothing, and often working in dangerous conditions.

INSTEAD: buy from Ben & Jerry's or Theo. They will satisfy your sweet tooth and are Fair-Trade guaranteed.

Nike

Nike has REALLY cleaned up their act in the last several years, but with a standard of no slave labor, they still have quite a way to go. In 1992, activist Jeff Ballinger published an exposé in "Harpers" that revealed the story of a child in Indonesia working in disgusting conditions, and for a mere 14 cents per hour (far below the minimum wage in Indonesia at the time).

Since then, Nike has begun to report supply chain information. The most recent report claims that, in 2016, only 86% of their factories were up to the minimum standards they set. Though they give a good indication of how far the company has come, these standards are set by Nike and assessed internally, making it difficult to compare standards to a universal one.

INSTEAD: shop at Patagonia! All products here are Fair Trade Certified!

Starbucks

Starbucks claims a mission for ethical sourcing, meaning their company policy requires them to abide by a standard of "ethical sourcing" that they have created. They only have two Fair-Trade coffees available for purchase. After the development charity Oxfam reported that Starbucks was depriving Ethiopian coffee growers of $90 million every year, Starbucks was challenged by the public eye to “clean up their act,” and did so by creating their own “ethical sourcing” standards, that they implement themselves, and certify 99% of their coffee with. Whether or not these standards are viable, they are not Fair Trade Certified at this time.

The U.S. Department of Labor has a list of locations and goods that use forced and child labor. Starbucks lists coffees from countries such as Guatamala, Kenya, Costa Rica and Panama; however, none of these single-sourced coffees are certified by them as “Fair Trade.” Rather, they are all regions that are known to use child labor.

INSTEAD: buy the Starbucks Italian Roast and Café Estima; they are certified by Fair Trade! You can also order online from Café Justo, Jurang and Equal Exchange —entire companies dedicated to producing Fair Trade coffee.

H&M

A 2016 report stated that as of December 31, 2015, 31 out of 72 H&M suppliers were using illegal contracts. In other words, these contracts allowed for wrongful termination. Now I know what you are thinking: the current system of hiring/firing in the U.S. is full of problems, and it takes way too much work to fire a bad employee in most cases. Well, the situation in countries like Cambodia and India are a little different. Often times, employees of H&M will be forced to work for excessive overtime hours—far beyond the legal limit—with no increase in their weekly take home pay. They are also often working in sweatshop conditions, with no breaks and unsanitary environments. Moreover, the contracts allow the factory to fire a worker for refusing to work these long hours. In fact, a garment worker in Cambodia stated: "We often get sick around once a month. We don’t eat enough and work too much trying to maximize the piece rate. Also, we don’t stop to go to the bathroom. We often work through lunch breaks or go back into work early, so there is hardly any time to rest."

INSTEAD: shop at one of these other retailers that are guaranteed to have fair-trade labor!

Walmart

Well, this one is probably the least suprising yet. According to a 2016 report by the Wage Alliance on Walmart's value chain, Walmart refused to sign the 2013 Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh that 200 companies signed following the collapse of Rana Plaza. It also stated that all 14 factories in Cambodia were studied, and they all violated local overtime laws consistently, with some forcing 14 hour work days without overtime pay "in sweltering heat, without adequate supply of clean drinking water or any breaks." These same conditions were expressed by workers in factories in India, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The report continued to list countless instances of workers given severely less than they were promised, or even cases where owners of factories fled without paying workers at all.

INSTEAD: OK, I know it's hard to pass up Walmart prices. However, here is a full list of companies that are fair trade. Even if you start small, I know you can find a way to cut back on your slavery footprint! Want to know how many slaves work for you now? Visit the Slavery Footprint mission to find out.

*I use the term “fair wage” because many people who are enslaved are trapped in a cycle of debt bondage. This means that an individual or family works for pennies per hour to pay off an ever-increasing debt. Oftentimes this debt is passed down for generations. To learn more about debt bondage and other forms of slavery, visit the non-profit End Slavery Now, here.

Cover Image Credit: iragelb / Flickr

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I'm A Meat-Eater Who Thinks That Vegetarianism Is The Way Forward

The philosophy of vegetarianism is not about animals, it's about humans.

39
views

I'm a bad person, and I love my steak, and yes, I hate PETA, too.

Let me tell you that PETA kills animals and not for their own justified humane reasons. According to one man, they've kidnapped a dog. And their brand of promoting vegetarianism simply isn't the right way to go about it, for reasons I feel are unnecessary to explain.

But, they do have a point. I think they just do a terrible job of explaining those points. Arguments for vegetarianism are really not just "eating meat is evil," or "think about the mothers of the cows you're eating." No, going vegan or vegetarian is really a conversation about our deeply held social norms and the inconsistencies of the answers regarding the treatment of animals, humans included.

Back in 2014, an Indiana man murdered his ex-girlfriend and proceeded to cook her brain, heart, and lung. While the man was held in police custody, PETA sent acting Clark County Sheriff Meyer, a peculiar letter: provide him exclusively vegan meals. For some, this would be a punishment, "don't you dare take away my meat." But for others like the Sheriff, the letter "[was] an insult" — as if to equate animal meat-eating with human meat eating — and this is exactly the point that PETA makes. Eating human-meat is equivalent to eating non-human-animal-meat.

One instinctively would think that is a crazy proposal. Why? Well, it is just wrong to eat humans, no doubt about it. Why is it wrong to eat humans, though? I'm just as good as a source of protein and nutrients as you are. If we remove all constructed norms aside, you are fair game, like the cows on the fields are.

A little sidetrack: humans have eaten other humans in the past—and there was nothing wrong about it. Humans throughout society would eat other prisoners of war and the Aztecs systematically slaughtered humans to be sacrificed to the gods and eaten. What changed? Well, we developed a system where we could grow an abundance of food, a system where humans would be significantly less valuable as food and significantly more valuable as producers of food.

Agriculture gave us a choice other than eating humans, and we chose the better option, not eating humans. Still, that doesn't tell us why it's wrong to eat humans. It's wrong to eat other humans because you are my equal. All humans are equal. Whether you're a male or female, gay or straight, immigrant or citizen, tall or short, old or young, and the list goes on. There's no difference, no one is more superior or less inferior.

But, let me make a distinction here. Equality doesn't mean everyone should be treated the same way, that would be absurd. Have you ever heard about a movement campaigning for the right of a man to get an abortion? No, but maybe you would want to campaign for a man's right to additional paternity leave. Equality means equal consideration, meaning that women should have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies, as this gives consideration to the fact that women have a womb, while men don't.

So, why shouldn't I eat you? Because eating you means that I think that you have some feature that allows me to slaughter, cook, and consume you. This certain feature means that you are less deserving of not being eaten and cooked and consumed. This feature might be your skin color, or hair texture, or your accent. And if you think that no rational human would consider those features as contenders of being eaten and cooked and consumed, think again.

White slaveholder Americans never ate their slaves, not on a widespread reported basis at least. But the white slaveholder did think the slaves had a certain feature that justified their enslavement and brutal punishment. Here are the features to be a slave: you must have dark skin, curly hair, and a non-settler accent. These features are the qualifications to be a slave, and the definition of being a slave means that I do not have to treat you like a human. And when it did come to life-or-death situations, these features did lead white slaveholders to eat their slaves, first.

The Civil Rights and Feminist movements showed the world why being an African-American or an American woman why they are just as human as the white American male. You cannot pick features x, y, and z and have those features explain why those disqualify one from being treated equally.

Why don't we choose intelligence as a feature for superiority? That means the world would be enslaved to Neil deGrasse Tyson. But why Neil deGrasse Tyson as a standard, specifically? Couldn't we choose another standard of intelligence, say the IQ of Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking? We cannot decisively draw a line to say, "this is superior" and "this is not". When the white slaveholder was trying to decide what made a slave, it was rather difficult to draw the line saying "you must be this dark to qualify as a slave." Indeed, "colored" and "not-colored" proved to be a difficult distinction. Some states passed one-drop of African blood laws... meaning of course, that every single living human on earth qualifies to be a slave.

Which is why it is questionable when we tell ourselves that we are "superior" to non-human animals. The reason we can eat non-human animals is apparently because we have features x, y, and z which non-human animals do not. We tell ourselves that we're more intelligent and that we can think rationally. Well, dolphins got echolocation, and we don't. I think they're more superior since we've only developed sonar technologies in the last century, while they've had that for 40 million years. Bats aren't blind, but they can see better in the dark, and some species can even detect ultraviolet light — while we can't. For whatever single feature we try to come up with to make the argument why we are superior, there will be another feature telling us we aren't.

If we can't find any feature that makes us objectively more superior, then non-human animals are equal to human animals, a case made by Australian philosopher Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal." What is that uniting factor, that all animals share, that can render all animals (including humans) equal? All animals feel pain. It doesn't matter to what degree they feel pain, but all animals feel pain, and would not want to feel pain. If we have a duty to spare an African-American from the brutality of slavery, then we have a duty to spare the chicken from a life of incarceration and torture.

I still eat meat, and yes, I have tried to stop eating meat. But it is so hard. We have the option to abandon meat because we have the 21st-century resources to abandon meat unlike the days of Aztec cannibalism. That is why I say, "I'm a bad person," and it is alright to say that. And I mean that, not in the sinister "I ate my mom for breakfast" kind of way, but rather as a type of acknowledgment. It is an acknowledgment that I eat meat because culture and norms say that meat tastes good, just like the culture and norms of the past said that slavery was alright because they are not humans, or that women can't vote because their place is in the kitchen.

We probably won't stop eating meat in this century. But the conversations about vegetarianism are conversations about the way our society treats its animals — as where George Orwell's pigs modify the features, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Related Content

Facebook Comments