The Best Quality Salmon to Buy at Trader Joe’s for Healthy Meals

The Best Quality Salmon to Buy at Trader Joe’s for Healthy Meals

The best salmon you can get is wild-caught from Alaska. Luckily, Trader Joe’s has a nice variety of Alaskan salmon at great prices! I’ve listed photos of their wild-caught salmon items below to make them easier to spot on your next trip. But first, let’s touch on farmed vs. Wild-Caught salmon and how to tell the difference.

Wild-Caught Names:

King – “Chinook”
Coho-” Silver”
Pink -” Humpback” or “Humpies”
Chum -” Keto”
Sockeye – “Red”

Farmed Salmon Names:

“Atlantic salmon”
“Scottish salmon”
“Chilean salmon”
* Salmon from British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Labrador, Canada, and Norway are also farmed.

Wild-Caught

Wild-caught salmon is mainly found in the pristine waters of Alaska, and Sockeye salmon from Bristol Bay, Alaska, is one of the most sustainable fisheries in the US and hosts the largest sockeye salmon run in the world.

The World Wildlife Federation says, “Bristol Bay is the most productive salmon ecosystem in North America, and it is unmatched in its productivity” because “all five species of Pacific salmon—sockeye, Chinook, coho, chum, and pink—spawn and rear in the Bristol Bay watershed, supporting wildlife like brown bears and eagles, as well as human industry and culture.”

Fun Fact: Wild salmon mainly feed on shrimp and krill, which contains “astaxanthin,” a reddish-orange compound that gives the fish the beautifully bright “salmon” color. A shrimp-heavy diet is also what makes flamingos pink!

Wild-caught is such high-quality that restaurants and seafood companies who offer wild-caught seafood will definitely mention it because they want to show it off. If the package or menu labels it as just “salmon” (or “Atlantic,” “Scottish,” “Chilean”), it is farmed.

Alaskan Salmon symbol Alaskan Salmon Symbol

Farmed Salmon

Farmed salmon is kinda farmed in the traditional sense because fish are raised in contained environments. How those environments are managed differs from farm to farm. If you like farmed salmon, I would research where your fish is coming from because some farms are better than others by a long shot. Farmed salmon is said to have a similar nutritious profile to wild-caught, though many people wince at their diet.

Since wild salmon gets its color naturally from shrimp and krill, farmed salmon feeds on a mix of natural foods (like shrimp), unnatural foods (like kibble and soybean), and additives (like antibiotics) or “astaxanthin,” to give it a color similar to wild fish. There are many opinions on farmed vs. wild, but I won’t get into that here.

In Closing:

I am biased. I choose wild-caught because my husband is a commercial fisherman, and that is the world in which we live. For me, it’s about the women, men, and families behind each catch – the hardships of being apart from loved ones, the lack of sleep, and the rough seas they endure to harvest fresh seafood for us to enjoy. The people behind wild-caught seafood make it special.

Fellow fish wife and photographer, Bri Dwyer communicates farmed vs. wild-caught more clearly here: “If you’re choosing to eat seafood for the health benefits, you can’t go wrong with your salmon choice. Farmed and wild salmon are both considered a lean and nutritious protein. But for the purpose of transparency, wild salmon is superior if you’re looking for a truly natural protein source, void of any processed ingredients or antibiotics.”

Here’s a short video on the difference between the two:

Here’s a close-up comparison of wild vs. farmed fillets from Trader Joe’s so you can see the difference:

Wild and Atlantic Salmon at Trader Joes

Today, we’re answering TJ salmon questions, specifically:

Is Trader Joe’s Salmon Good Quality?
What is the Best Salmon to Buy at Trader Joe’s?
Does Trader Joe’s have Salmon Fillets?
Does Trader Joe’s have Alaskan salmon?
Where Does Trader Joe’s Salmon Come From?
Is Trader Joe’s salmon worth it?

Is Trader Joe’s Salmon Good Quality?
The healthiest, yummiest salmon you can buy is Wild-Caught Pacific/Alaska Salmon, and thankfully TJ’s has an excellent selection of frozen fillets, smoked and canned, as you’ll see below!

What is the Best Salmon to Buy at Trader Joe’s?
Frozen wild-caught fillets will give you the closest thing to fresh salmon you can get. My second favorite is the smoked salmon with peppercorn, mustard seed, and lemon. The third is the canned wild salmon because there is so much you can do with it, from salads to salmon cakes, to eating straight out of the can on top of crackers for a protein-packed, healthy snack!

Does Trader Joe’s have Salmon Fillets?
Yes. TJ’s has fillets in the refrigerated section and the frozen section!

Does Trader Joe’s have Alaskan salmon?
Yes, they do! Just be sure to look at the label to ensure you’re getting the highest quality. “Alaskan Salmon,” “Wild Salmon,” “Wild Sockeye,” the list goes on. Just remember, anything that does not say farmed, “Atlantic,” “Scottish,” or “Chilean.”

Where Does Trader Joe’s Salmon Come From?
TJ’s has a good selection of Alaskan salmon, but they also sell imported and farmed salmon, so check the labels. It’s easy to spot once you get the hang of it.

Is Trader Joe’s salmon worth it?
We love TJ’s because of its creative selection and affordability, so I am thrilled that Trader’s offers wild-caught American salmon at a competitive price point. The only other competitor for bulk wild-caught seafood is Costco. If you’d like to learn more, here are 9 US Wild-Caught Seafood Items you can find at Costco.

Try this super easy salmon salad recipe, but substitute canned wild-caught salmon from TJ’s for a quick meal you can shake together in a mason jar. (Drain the water first as you would with canned tuna.)

Below is a photo guide of the highest quality salmon you can buy at Trader Joe’s: 

Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets

Trader Joes Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon fillets

Wild Nova Smoked Sockeye Salmon 16 oz.:

Wild Nova Smoked Sockeye Salmon large serving from Trader Joes

Wild Nova Smoked Sockeye Salmon 8 oz.:

Wild Nova Smoked Sockeye Salmon medium serving from Trader Joes

Wild Sockeye Applewood Smoked Salmon:

Trader Joes smoked sockeye salmon

Alaskan Wild Sockeye Salmon Filet, skin on and deboned:

Alaskan Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillet Skin On

Wild Silver Coho Salmon Frozen Fillet:

Trader Joe's Frozen wild silver coho salmon portion deboned and skinless

Cedar Wrapped BBQ Sockeye Salmon:

BBQ Sockeye Salmon Fillet

Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon:

Trader Joes wild Alaskan pink salmon canned

Any other salmon products not mentioned here may be farmed, so you’ll want to check the label. Thanks for reading! I hope this guide makes it easier to find quality salmon for your next meal.

How do you like your salmon? Which items would you buy next? Please share in the comments below!

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