What to buy (and not buy) at Aldi
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
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)
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)
Cheese in blocks (EQV)
Cheese, Cheddar and Mozzarella, shredded (EQV)
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
Sandwich bread (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!