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What to buy (and not buy) at Aldi

Updated on June 25, 2014

List of the best bargains at Aldi's grocery stores

I've written this page to advise others about what products we really liked at Aldi's and which products were "Eh," or not so good to us. Keep in mind these are just my opinions and those of my family. Our family consists of 4 children ages 6 to 18. I would say we are a pretty average family (except the mom is exceptionally gorgeous).

Ok - again, these are just our opinions. If you don't agree or if you do agree, or if you like or dislike some Aldi products that are not mentioned here, please share your opinion in the Comments area near the bottom of this page. It will be helpful to me and to others.

The first time I shopped at Aldi's

Several years ago, I visited Aldi's for the first time. I had visited their website so I already knew about needing a quarter to rent a grocery cart (the quarter is returned when you return the cart), and that I needed to bring my own grocery bags. They also do not accept coupons or credit cards and checks. You must pay by debit card or cash. So away I went.

The first time I visited Aldi's I wasn't very happy with the produce. Not only that, all the products were knock-offs of national brands. I felt that the packaging was practically copyright infringement on Nabisco, Sunshine, etc. I probably shopped a couple times, but wasn't that thrilled with what they had there. It wasn't really close to my house either, so I decided it wasn't worth it.

Fast forward to 2012

I went to Aldi's again

Times being tough like they are, I decided to try Aldi's again. I really wanted to cut our grocery budget down. We spend at least $500 on groceries for our family of 6. That is no small change. If I could just save even 20 cents here or there on each item it would really add up.

Now this time, I was so pleasantly surprised! I guess Aldi's management realized that many people thought their fruits and vegetables were not very fresh, so now what they do is carry what is in season. So in the wintertime, you're not going to find blueberries in the fresh produce, but you will find them frozen. This allows Aldi's to pass along the best prices because they can get a deal when they purchase.

I found Del Monte green grapes and bananas at only .44 cents per pound! To give you a point of reference, our local big grocery stores charge .59, even .69 cents per pound for bananas. And fresh? YES! Incredibly fresh, and pre-bagged! Really nice.

Service has been really great too. Now I make a point to go to Aldi's weekly for certain items.

In comparison with Kroger - Head to head on 11 items without coupons

My Aldi Receipt
My Aldi Receipt

Today I was in Kroger for a few things. When I saw the prices I figured I could go a little further down the street in my area to Aldi & save some money. I bought 11 items and it came to $29.31 after tax. I comparison shopped to the Kroger prices & estimate it would have been approximately $44.80 there. Estimated savings of $15.49. And to think -- I was doing a gas and time cost versus benefit analysis in my head before going over to Aldi's. Would I drive a little further down a street to save 15 bucks? Yes, I sure would!

Note: The head of lettuce for .49 cents was a weekly special, it's not always 49 cents, but it is usually much less than the grocery store on a regular basis. Similar deli pizzas (saw on same day at Kroger for $7.99 were $4.99 and $5.99 at Aldi's)

What to buy at Aldi's

A list of what is good quality and a good deal at Aldi's

EQV for Excellent Quality and Value, tasting as good or better than national brands

GV for Good Value, tasted less good (to us) than national brands

EQV = Excellent Quality & Value

All produce & vegetables (EQV) (When cherries and grapes are in season, you REALLY can't beat the Aldi price) Green peppers also an excellent price in packs of 3.

Canned vegetables (EQV)

All chocolates/candy (EQV) European chocolates and candies.

Benton's (Aldi's brand) Animal Crackers (EQV) These have a slight lemony taste and actually are BETTER than most animal crackers I've ever had.

Fit and Active Devil's Food Cookies (EQV) Comparable to Snackwell's.

Peanut Butter (EQV) EXCELLENT VALUE

Tortilla Chips (EQV)

Salsa (EQV)

Regular potato chips (EQV) Comparable to Lay's, a little less oily and not as salty as Lay's in my opinion.

Cheezit-like crackers - Aldi's brand is called Savoritz. (EQV) Price as of October 24, 2012 was $1.89 while regular grocery store offers Nabisco Cheezits on sale for $2.50.

"Oreo"-like cookies (Aldi's Benton's brand is the closest store brand I've ever tried!) (EQV)

Maple Cookies (these are shaped like maple leaves and have a white creamy center. They seem to be accidentally vegan as well)

Butter (EQV)

Eggs (EQV)

Milk (EQV)

Cheese in blocks (EQV)

Cheese, Cheddar and Mozzarella, shredded (EQV)

Greek Yogurt

Deli Meat in the 1 lb package (EQV) Oven Roasted Turkey, etc.

Canned vegetables (EQV)

Jarred fruits (EQV)

Refrigerated sliced ham (EQV)

Mama Cozzi's Deli pizza 16" (we REALLY liked this, EQV)

Reggano Parmesan Cheese

Salt (EQV)

Sandwich bread (EQV)

Sugar (EQV)

Sloppy Joe sauce in a can (EQV)

Vegetable Oil (EQV)

GV = Good Value, tasted less good (to us) than national brands, but they were decent for the money.

Wavy Chips (GV)

Gel (Jello-like) treats in 4 pack (QV)

Fig bars (like Fig Newtons) (GV) At .99 cents compared to the official Fig Newton brand, which we priced at over $4 at a grocery chain the same day, this is a very good deal! They taste very "figgy" though. Definitely has real figs in it.

Dry pasta (GV)

Apple Juice (GV)

Almond Milk (GV) Really close to being EQV, but personally, I like Almond Breeze unsweetened almond milk much better. This is very close, however.

Frozen pops 18 pack in a bag (These taste good, but I don't like that the front of the package proclaims "Made With Cane Sugar!" -- which IS true, however if you check the ingredients list, it does contain High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) as well as Can Sugar, but hey, they never said it didn't contain HFCS. So legally it's fine, ethically I was not a fan of that kind of sale technique.) Otherwise (GV)

What not to buy at Aldi's

I wouldn't say any of these are "bad," they just maybe aren't our taste. Maybe all 6 members of our family have odd taste? Just our opinion, mind you.

Although the sandwich bread is good, the hot dog buns and hamburger buns were somewhat rough and dry in texture and not tasty to us at all.

Cheetos-like product at Aldi's - Just not very good in our opinion. Even the youngest kids who aren't very picky didn't gobble these down the way they would the national brand.

Applesauce - Although the taste was fine, it has a lot of sugar added to it (and I love sugar, so there was a LOT in there for me to say something about that.) But the big drawback was that the jars were nearly impossible to open. I bought 2 jars and I even used a Pampered Chef jar opener that is a big help, and still I hurt my wrist trying to open the jar of apple sauce. I think even IronMan would have a hard time opening the Aldi's apple sauce. lol

The fresh meats at Aldi's are higher than at the local grocery store, definitely higher than at Walmart and Sam's Club. From an online search, I found that some Aldi's shoppers found the meat at Aldi's to be great quality, while others said they couldn't even eat it -- they didn't like the texture. (Note: We DO like the precooked, sliced ham they have at Aldi's.) ***UPDATE 2014*** I'm now finding the prices a lot more comparable, I've been happy with the ground beef and I found the chicken to be good quality and fresh.

I was not thrilled with Adi's Spaghetti Sauce. At only .99 cents per jar, it is still a good deal, but it was kind of bland to my family's tastes. Our family's favorite is Ragu. I was really hoping it would taste more like Ragu...I suppose a person could add some sugar and spices at home to make it more to their liking (but to have to add to it, I might as well make my own spaghetti sauce from canned tomato paste). Here is my recipe for pasta sauce if you're interested. It does save you money if you get the tomato paste when it's on sale and stock up.

Ice cream While not "horrible," the ice creams we tried were just not up-to-par for us (and we happily eat other store brands often)

Bare Essentials: The Aldi Way of Retailing

I would love your suggestions and comments!

Drop me a line

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    • profile image

      Mary 

      3 years ago

      Purchased Aldi's organic golden flax seeds recently. my son tried to sprout them( he is an experienced sprouter), they had a very fishy smell and did not sprout nicely . We are wondering if it is GMO?

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 

      3 years ago

      I love the many award winning Aldi and Trader Joes stores, of course I'm from Germany, and when visiting always shop there. The company has been around since the turn of the century. Their return policy beats all others. Quality of fresh meat and prices, frozen deboned and skinned chicken breast that's natural, eggs that are from free graze chickens etc etc. like any other store, there are things you will like or dislike, also remember that each store has its own supplier for fresh produce and meats. All in all you save money and have friendly people working there.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      3 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I've been shopping regularly at Aldi for several years now. They moved from up the street to across town. Now I go less often, but I still go! I think their products have expanded and improved over the years. I do think their potato chips and tortilla chips are just as good or better than name brands (same with other items). They're even getting organic items now. I'm sold on Aldi!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      Yesterday I needed a red, yellow, and orange bell pepper for a salad recipe. At Kroger they were $3.99 EACH. I drove down the street to Aldi and got a package of all three for $2.99! You can't always know what you'll find there (in produce) but it is definitely worth a stop.

    • Darla Dixon profile imageAUTHOR

      Darla Dixon 

      5 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the heads up about the Asia dinners, Ralph!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      5 years ago

      I agree 100% with you about their pasta sauce. One other item to stay away from is their asia dinners, they used to be my favorite thing there but they changed the meat some time in 2012 and it has been fairly unbearable to me since then.

    • jezebelle1248 profile image

      jezebelle1248 

      6 years ago

      Every time I go to ALDI's, I am amazed by how much money I save. The last time I went, I spent about $200.00 and that fed my family of 5 for an entire month! Of course, I bought a lot of baking products and cooking ingredients, I tend to stay away from pre-packaged foods as much as possible. To me, they are go quickly and are a waste of money.

    • profile image

      BradKamer 

      6 years ago

      We shop at different grocer chains of which Aldi is one of them. They are great for staples (Butter, sugar, flour, baking supplies, etc). They have a Fit and Active microwave popcorn that beats anything else I have tasted.

    • Darla Dixon profile imageAUTHOR

      Darla Dixon 

      6 years ago

      @BLemley: I've never been to Trader Joe's but I've been to their website. I would really like to go to one sometime. There are some in the Atlanta area but not near me in the suburbs. Maybe someday! Aldi stores are really small. I think they are especially good for older people or anyone with a health problem that makes walking around a big grocery store difficult. I can get all my basic needs in one small store.

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 

      6 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      I really like Trader Joe's their upscale? cousin. For folks with Gluten intolerance, they have some terrific chocolate chip cookies and polenta for very reasonable prices. There's an Aldi's down the street, I've never tried it ~ I may have to see if they carry GF products, too! Thanks for a great review! B : )

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for this article! Awesome read! I have only been to Aldi's twice. I agree the produce is very fresh and reasonably priced. I hesitated to purchase most of the other products since I did not recognize the brand names.

      I have also heard they have an excellent return policy. If you are not happy with a product they will gladly refund your money. Thanks for the info!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      I have to second the bathroom tissue & paper towels. Really like using both...especially for the price :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 

      6 years ago

      The Aldi brand (Landchut) Reisling is $4.99 and my favorite. Excellent wine from Mosel Germany and delicious. And my family prefers the Aldi brand of shells and cheese over any other store or national brand, Kraft and Velveeta included. I have found their fresh meat to be a full dollar cheaper than Kroger per package and that is worth it to me. And they have the bacon wrapped beef fillet steaks for $1.99 compared to $3.99 or $4.99 elsewhere. I typically find that I save $20 or more per week at Aldi over Kroger. Great for toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent. Don't bother with the dishwasher gel, it's worthless. And my snooty felines turn their noses up at the cat food.

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