We told you that Trader Joe’s would open its first store on Lower Greenville, and we told you why that’s a big deal for our neighborhood. But if you’ve never shopped at a Trader Joe’s grocery store, you may be wondering what the fuss is about about — it is just a grocery store, after all.

The cult following Trader Joe’s has built up, and why, was overviewed in our February cover story. So to give readers just a taste of what’s to come, we’ve traveled the country and shopped at Trader Joe’s to find products that will be on its shelves once the Lower Greenville store opens.

A couple of things you may notice: 1) Every item has a Trader Joe’s label. That’s because of the company’s merchandising philosophy, which allows it to sell gourmet food at low costs. 2) This sampling includes only non-perishable items, with high concentrations of chocolate and kid-friendly snacks. The former is because every item was packed in a suitcase and brought home to Dallas; the latter is because I’m a chocoholic who has a 2-year-old.

Find the Trader Joe’s product preview after the jump:

Dark Chocolate Covered Mini Pretzels, $3.29

Move over, Godiva. These pretzels are just as tasty for a fraction of the cost.

Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries, $3.49

A healthy chocolate snack? Real acai, blueberry, pomegranate and cranberry juices dipped in dark chocolate. Yum. One fourth cup equals 180 calories. Could be worse.

 

Dark Chocolate Covered Blueberries, $4.99

Dark Chocolate Tahitian Vanilla Caramels, $1.49

Beginning to see a trend here? Trader Joe’s has an entire aisle devoted to such chocolate concoctions, mostly at prices of $3-$5.

Nothing But Banana, Flattened, $1.29

Dried White Peaches, $4.59

Bartlett Pears, $3.99

Just Mango Slices, $2.99

The selection of dried fruit at Trader Joe’s is bar none. And even better than the quantity is the quality — much of it is unsweetened and untouched, so it’s like eating a real piece of fruit rather than a sugary, caloried version. That’s hard to find, even in organic health-type grocery stores around here.

Vaccuum Fried Pineapple Chips, $1.99

These obviously are not as healthy as the plain dried fruit, but they’re unique and very yummy.

Applesauce crushers, $2.99

These easy squeezy fruit snacks now stocked in grocery stores from Target to Costco are God’s gift to mothers, and Trader Joe’s has them in four-packs of apple, apple-banana and apple carrot. (My daughter likes all of them, including the carrot.)

Natural Buffalo Jerky, Sweet and Spicy, $4.99

My husband loves this stuff, and for the price, it’s a steal. Trader Joe’s has other jerky meats and flavors, too.

 

This list doesn’t include the company’s famous two-buck Chuck, which, as Jeff Siegel noted, will likely cost $3 in Dallas. And though I didn’t include any perishable items, my sister and brother-in-law, who live in St. Louis, swear that Trader Joe’s milk is the absolute best, and a gallon sells for $1.89, about $1 less than other brands they can find in nearby stores.


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