Trader Joe's is considered the mecca of healthy foodies like myself. I almost never need to shop anywhere else for groceries, but through personal inquiry personally at multiple Trader Joe's locations in Southern California, I surprisingly discovered that there are five kitchen essentials and recipe pillars that cannot be found in the aisles of the grocery super power.  

That means I have to add an extra errand in my day to hit up an Albertson's, Ralph's, and/or Vons whenever I am in desperate need of the following products (cue audible groan).

5. Teriyaki Sauce 

rice, teriyaki, pork, chicken, beef, sauce
Helena Lin

Trader Joe's carries an Island Soyaki Sauce, but it is a loose interpretation of a teriyaki sauce. The concoction is Hawaiian and adobe (vinegar) influenced and is boasted as a "unique Asian-style sauce" on the Trader Joe's website.

It may be delicious, but it is no substitute for a thick and sweet classic teriyaki sauce, a staple in Asian cuisine and recipes. 

4. Trash Bags 

milk, sweet, dairy product, peanut butter, butter
Michaela Holland

If Trader Joe's is such an eco-friendly brand, then where are their biodegradable trash bags? Yes, there are the iconic paper grocery bags, but no one would dare line their trash can with one of those. A few drops of liquid and that familiar brown paper bag is a goner.

3. Ziploc Bags

A photo posted by Maayan (@frishman.maayan) on

The aisles overflow with bags of sweet and savory snacks. For a health-conscious, meal prepping foodie, measuring and controlling single serving portions of the family-size packages becomes nearly impossible without handy dandy Ziploc bags.

2. Cake Flour    

flour, bread, dough, cake, coffee
Kendra Valkema
According to a Trader Joe's employee, this is one of the most commonly sought items in Trader Joe's that is nowhere to be found. An essential item for any serious baker, giving any baked good a desirable crumbly and tender texture that is noticeably different from the Trader "Josef's" Unbleached All Purpose Flour. 

1. Lemon/Lime Juice

No citrus juice? Don't believe it? I have asked many a Hawaiian-shirt-wearing employee at several times in several different Trader Joe's locations. They don't carry packaged lemon or lime juice at any time during the year. 

PEP_2726 Shopping Carts

ppelleti on Flickr

These aren't "oh, it's a limited edition item that only appears at certain times of the year" (I'm looking right at you, pumpkin butter) type of products. These items cannot be found all year round. Mind blowing, right?