Recently, I reviewed Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups from Trader Joe’s (TJ’s). I also love Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (J’s), but I’ve never done a side-by-side comparison before so I thought now would be a good time. (I’ve had the full-size Justin’s peanut butter cups before, but this is my first time trying the minis).
Let’s start with the packaging. The TJ’s 3.5 oz (99 gram) bag contains 9 peanut butter cups and is priced at $.99/bag. The J’s 4.7 oz (133 gram) bag contains 11 peanut butter cups and is priced at $5.99/bag…so TJ’s is definitely the cheaper option.
As far as the ingredients, J’s contains all organic ingredients, whereas the TJ’s does not indicate that their ingredients are organic so I’m assuming they are not. J’s contains organic dark chocolate, organic peanuts, organic powdered evaporate cane sugar, organic peanut flour, organic palm fruit oil, organic vanilla flavor, sea salt, and organic soy lecithin. TJ’s contains semi-sweet chocolate, peanuts, sugar, palm kernel oil, palm oil, lactose, salt, and soy lecithin.
The nutritional quality (per serving size: 40g for J’s, 36g for TJ’s) is relatively similar: (7g for J’s, 6g for TJ’s), Calories (210 for J’s, 180 for TJ’s), Total Fat (14g for J’s, 11g for TJ’s), Saturated Fat Cholesterol (0g for J’s, 0g for TJ’s), Sodium (120mg for J’s, 95mg for TJ’s), Total Carbohydrates (21g for J’s, 21 g for TJ’s), Dietary Fiber (1g for J’s, 2g for TJ’s), Sugars (17g for J’s, 17g for TJ’s), Protein (4g for J’s, 2g for TJ’s).
The TJ’s is wrapped in a gold foil wrapper with their red “TRADER JOE’S” logo imprinted on them. Inside the foil wrapper, the peanut butter cup is enveloped in a brown paper wrapper resulting in more refined ridges in the chocolate. The J’s is wrapped in a white foil with their name places neatly on the top of the peanut butter cup. Also, the ingredients are listed at the bottom of each individual wrapper.
Once they are unwrapped, you can see that they are relatively the same size but the TJ’s is slightly shorter but wider and slightly darker in color.
Now for the taste! The TJ’s is sweeter overall – the chocolate is sweeter and the peanut butter is smoother, creamier, sweeter, and lighter in color. The J’s chocolate is richer and darker, and their peanut butter is thicker and has a coarser, grainier texture. The TJ’s filling tastes more like a peanut butter cream whereas the J’s filling tastes like actual peanut butter. The J’s seems to have a larger proportion of chocolate than the TJ’s, and it is prettier as it maintains its form better. The flavor is more intense, and it tastes like they use higher quality ingredients. The TJ’s is more melty and has a greater proportion of the peanut butter filling, so it tends to get squished when you take a bite making it a little messier.
So which do I like better?
I like them both. TJ’s is definitely the more affordable option – it seems like you end up paying more for J’s because of their organic ingredients (and perhaps fancy packaging) but their nutritional value is relatively similar (although I’m guessing most people purchasing peanut butter cups are not seeking it out for their nutritional value 😛 ). So unless you are a stickler for organic items, I would recommend the TJ’s peanut butter cups.