Safeway vs Trader Joe’s | Which One Is Cheaper & Better For You?

Some of the most well known stores in the country are Safeway and Trader Joe’s. Both provide countless customers with their grocery needs and sell millions of products each year. But if you are deciding between the two, which one is better for you? In other words, which one of these stores is more suited for a shopper like you? 


To help you get to this decision, I’ve compared both stores on 3 different factors that will, hopefully, make it easier for you to choose which one is better for you. These 3 factors are:


  1. Price
  2. Product Quality
  3. Product Variety


Which is Better: Safeway or Trader Joe’s? Safeway offers the cheapest prices in comparison to Trader Joe’s. Additionally, they also have higher quality products, and much more product variety.



Is Safeway More Expensive Than Trader Joe’s?

Because price is generally the first thing that most customers are interested in when looking at two grocery stores, I decided to compare the prices of both Safeway and Trader Joe’s store brand products. The products that I looked at are all considered ‘common’ products that most consumers buy when at the store.


This should give a good indication of which store has the lowest prices and the cheapest goods.


Category Safeway Brand Trader Joe’s Brand
Baking Goods
Canned Goods
Dry Goods
Frozen Foods
Personal Care
Cleaners N/A N/A


So, which one is cheaper? Safeway seems to be a bit cheaper than Trader Joe’s overall. Safeway is the less expensive option for a majority of shopping categories.


  • Safeway 5 of 8 cheaper shopping categories
  • Trader Joe’s 3 of 8 cheaper shopping categories


To be more specific, Safeway had the cheapest options in the Beverages, Canned Goods, Dairy, Dry Goods, and Personal Care category. Out of the 8 categories I looked at, Safeway was cheaper in 5 of the categories.


Trader Joe’s on the other hand was only cheaper in 3 out of the 8 categories. Looking more closely, they were the cheapest option in the Baking Goods, Canned Goods, and Frozen Foods categories.


So, if you wanted to optimize your savings, you could plan on only buying certain types of foods at each store, which will guarantee the best prices at both stores. If you are a shopper that prioritizes price over everything, you are better off shopping at Safeway as it offers the most affordable prices.


Product Quality: Safeway vs Trader Joes

Another aspect to a grocery store that many shoppers look at is product quality. While both stores have very high quality standards, which one is better. To find this out, I looked at the FDA’s product recall database to see which one has had more recalled items in recent times.


Essentially, the store with more recalled items is likely to have the lower quality products.


Category Safeway Recalls Trader Joe’s Recalls
Animal & Veterinary 0 0
Biologics 0 0
Cosmetics 0 0
Dietary Supplements 0 0
Drugs 0 0
Food and Beverages 11 17
Medical Devices 0 0
Radiation Emitting Products 0 0
Tobacco 0 0


According to the FDA, Safeway has had less recalled items in recent times, meaning that they have had consistently higher quality products. So, Safeway appears to have higher quality products in comparison to Trader Joe’s


  • Safeway 11 recalls
  • Trader Joe’s: 17 recalls 


To dig a bit deeper, both of these stores have only had recalls in the Food and Beverages department. Safeway has had a recent total of 11 whereas Trader Joe’s has had a recent total of 17.

Product Variety: Safeway vs Trader Joe’s

If you are someone who enjoys product variety, then you may have wondered which store is going to provide more options for you to pick from?


It should be noted that a Safeway is categorized as a supermarket and Trader Joe’s is categorized as a grocery store. The main difference between the two is that a supermarket has produce, consumables and household items, whereas a grocery store generally just has produce and consumables. 


By nature, Safeway is designed to have more products available to pick from.


Total Safeway Products Total Trader Joe’s Products
33,000+ Products 4,000 Products


Unsurprisingly, Safeway carries significantly more products than Trader Joe’s. In fact, Safeway carries more than 8 times the amount of products as Trader Joe’s. So, if you are someone who enjoys having more options to choose from, then Safeway is your best bet.


Which One Should You Shop At: Safeway vs Trader Joe’s?


When to shop at Safeway: If you are a shopper that likes cheaper prices, better product quality, and more product variety then Safeway is your store.


When to shop at Trader Joe’s: While Trader Joe’s doesn’t beat Safeway in any of these categories, they do offer one thing, unique products. Trader Joe’s only carries their own brand of products, meaning that you won’t be able to find them anywhere else. So, if you want to make a change from the regular products, give Trader Joe’s a shot.