Monday, April 27, 2015

Reevaluating Trader Joe's

I basically panned Trader Joe's, from a gluten-free perspective, when it opened its Jacksonville Beach store last year. I had previously bad experiences with their store in Chicago, and I just didn't see enough interesting gluten-free products in the Jacksonville Beach store.

But I'm starting to change my mind about it, for two reasons. One is that Trader Joe's seems to be expanding its gluten-free line of products. Secondly, those products are generally reasonably priced, as far as gluten-free products go.

I had actually been making regular visits to Trader Joe's whenever I needed buns, because they were selling Udi's hamburger buns cheaper than everywhere else. So I was initially disappointed last week when I went in and didn't see any Udi's products anymore. However, then I noticed something new: Trader Joe's brand gluten-free breads and buns.

I didn't buy the sandwich bread because, basically, the slices were tiny, a problem with many gluten-free breads. It's hard to make a sandwich out of them when the slices are tiny. But I did buy the gluten-free buns, which cost $3.49 for a package of four. That's as good a price as you'll find for gluten-free buns anywhere, if there's not a special sale.

I have a standard test for gluten-free breads and buns, and it has nothing to do with taste. It comes down to whether the bread will hold together when you make a sandwich and not crumple in your hands. Trader Joe's gluten-free buns passed the test.

Another new product I bought last week was gluten-free chicken nuggets, which cost $4.99 for a one-pound bag, also a reasonable price. I thought they were pretty good, as far as chicken nuggets go.

So basically, I've had to reevaluate my opinion of Trader Joe's. I wouldn't make a long drive to get there (since they only have the one Jacksonville area store at the beach) but if you're in the neighborhood, it's worth stopping in.

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