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How Shopping at Aldi Grocery Helps Save Money and Your Health

Updated on November 11, 2015
Aldi increases its North American presence.
Aldi increases its North American presence. | Source

A European Phenomenon Comes to America

Why do so many Europeans and a growing number of Americans like shopping at Aldi?

The Aldi phenomenon started in Germany and has since spread to the United States.

There are now about 1,200 Aldi locations throughout the country,and Americans are discovering how this strange, but charming, chain can help reduce their grocery bill.

I feel fortunate to have an Aldi market just a short drive away. It took me a couple of years to step inside for the first time. The initial visit, though, left me unimpressed, but I returned to give it another try.

Now I'm a loyal shopper who wants to tell other people about Aldi, which carries high-quality food at deeply discounted prices. My local store recently started stocking organic produce, and plans are underway to increase the organic product line.

Having Aldi nearby helps my family eat well, as food prices continue to rise. Aldi also carries a good selection of "Special Purchase" gourmet items from Europe. Although I usually buy only organic bread, I recently made an exception to buy Deutsche Kuche brand sunflower seed bread for my husband.

Buying Organic and Avoiding GMOs

It's very difficult feeding your family organic food, while sticking to a reasonable budget in the neighborhood of $150-200 a week. Aldi makes this much easier.

A couple of months ago, our store carried boxes of organic cereal for just $1.99. Apparently, this was a one-time purchase, so I stocked up.

One reason we're eating organic is to avoid genetically modified foods, which French researchers have shown cause cancer in lab animals.

It is safe to say, in the United States, nearly all processed foods contain something that's genetically modified, unless the package specifically says it doesn't, or there's a USDA Organic logo on the label. Many Aldi brands, no doubt, contain GMOs because there is nothing on the packaging indicating otherwise.

So, when I shop at Aldi, I bypass the aisle of packaged Aldi brand junk food and head straight for the organic dairy and produce. Four sticks of organic butter is about $2 less than what you'd spend in the regular grocery store.

Also, since Aldi is German-based, there are frequent shipments of European-made items. Genetically modified foods are generally not sold in European Union countries, so, even if they aren't organic, they're a better bet than American-made products.

Discount stores such as Aldi and Ocean State Job Lot, an Eastern US chain, help stretch the grocery budget, especially if you buy organic foods.

Aldi stores are no frill.
Aldi stores are no frill. | Source

Beaumont Coffee is Delicious I Hear

I tried really hard to get my husband to switch over to organic coffee, but he was really hooked on Starbucks. However, he'll also drink the Aldi brand Beaumont coffee, which is said is comparable to Starbucks. I don't drink coffee, so I can't tell you from personal experience which brand tastes better. For him, Beaumont is one of the few brands that he'll happily substitute for Starbucks.

If he's just as happy with Beaumont, at $3.99 for a 12-ounce bag, then it's foolish to pay $9 for the same amount of Starbucks coffee.

Aldi Shopping Tips

Aldi is not your regular grocery store, so you'll need to be prepared for a different shopping experience. Offering customers no frills allows Aldi to keep prices low.

Here are a few things to know before you shop.

1. Bring Change. Customers in the United States must deposit a quarter to rent a shopping cart. No quarter, no cart. The quarter is returned when the cart is returned.

2. Bring Bags. You'll need to bag your own items on a long shelf near the checkout line. Aldi doesn't give away bags and it doesn't have employees bag purchases.

3. Bring Cash. Aldi doesn't take credit cards, so you'll either need to use cash or a debit card.

4. Be Flexible. Sometimes Aldi doesn't always carry certain items. Because of its aggressive mission to cut costs, it doesn't carry multiple brands of the same item. For instance, if you want canned black olives, there's just one type. The produce section is very small, but it contains incredible deals compared to a regular grocery store.

5. Stock Up. I haven't seen special purchase items return. Once they're gone, they're gone. So buy as many as you think you'll use.

Tell Us About Your Aldi Experience

Do you like shopping at Aldi?

See results
Aldi is very popular in Europe.
Aldi is very popular in Europe. | Source

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Have You Ever Shopped at Aldi?

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  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    No Aldi out here in the southwest borderlands, but your advise works for many shops much like them.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric,

    Thank you for reading. I'm glad you have Aldi-like shops where you are. You never know what you're going to find there.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Yea, you are right about selection, but I like that, suggests actual fresh produce.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    There is limited fresh produce at Aldi, but what's there is fresh and sometimes organic, at farmer's market prices.

  • Ericdierker profile image

    Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

    Out west coast ways we have ethnic markets. These are really cool, but if you go to get celery you might bring home Bak Choy. Or green tea, may become artichoke tea. Much more fun than a list.

    It is a fun pastime of mine.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Eric,

    Ethnic markets are great. Sometimes I shop at those as well. No surprise you have fun doing this.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    No Aldi yet in either Oregon or Washington, but I'll certainly keep this store in mind whenever we travel outside of the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for sharing this interesting and innovative grocery chain's business practices!

    Aloha!

    Joe

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for reading and for commenting. At least you have Trader Joe's. Aldi is in the same corporate family and sometimes the product line overlaps.

  • profile image

    sara 3 years ago

    Aldi brands are no gmo

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi sara, I've never heard of that, but I will contact the headquarters to find out. I'm confident the European brands are non GMO, but I don't know about the American-made items. Thanks for visiting.

  • moonlake profile image

    moonlake 3 years ago from America

    I rarely shop at Aldi I don't know why I guess we are just use to the other places we shop. Our kids shop there and really like it. Our granddaughter use to work for them. I know lots of young people just starting out really use it because it is cheaper.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    It's an interesting concept. I shop there primarily for the organic food, because it's so expensive elsewhere. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

  • profile image

    Bob Dowd & Family 3 years ago

    I do all my families shopping. After switching to Aldi in 2008, the recession forced us to try something new, we saved around $500 the first month. Not kidding! Our grocery bill went from $300 a week to around $125. And this includes still buying meat at Kroger (Mangers Special Only). So, don't be an idiot...Shop At Aldi...

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Hi Bob Dowd, I totally agree. We're eating better than ever, and spending a lot less money.

  • profile image

    Heyho - german info 3 years ago

    Hello, i live in germany and aldi is really popular here. (more so than walmarkt in usa) there is aldi north and aldi south because the original mr albrecht had two sons so his brand was torn into two chains (just in case there might be a fight in the future). But 95% of the products are the same. And your brand is the southern on (it contains orange color).

    Aldi north has the policy to have no genetically modified food in there markets!

    I think they are trying really hard to keep that up in america.

    In germany it is against the law to sell genetically changed food, and the german polulation has no love for it.

    Anyway Genetically changed stuff was found in germany in the last 10 years in products containing corn(10%) and/or soya(25%!).

    To make it short: you can definitaly eat everything aldi sells that has a german brand name on it and/or has a german (DE) incredients list!

    But no corn or soya.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Heyho, thanks so much for your feedback. I've heard that Aldi is very popular in Germany. I wish we had the same laws here regarding GMOs, since there is a growing resistance to the idea. I appreciate the warning about not buying corn or soy products, even though they come from Germany. I had assumed they were safe. Thanks again.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    Let me check out that link. I'm not too worried about the European products, although you can't help to be skeptical about anything sold in the United States. We don't know where the Clancy's chips and Millville cereal come from.

  • profile image

    Nice 3 years ago

    I'm confused that everyone is acting like aldi is a new phenomenon. I remember going there are a little kid with my mom. Back then it was mainly only canned food and you would grab a box from the shelf to put them in. They had a long ramp to go in and out which was fun in the grocery cart. This was in the 80's.

  • ologsinquito profile image
    Author

    ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

    It is a very new phenomenon for much of the United States, because Aldi has not had a presence in most parts of the country. It has since embarked upon a rapid expansion program. You must live in the Midwest.

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