When the first Aldi grocery store opened in my area, quite a few years ago, I gave the store a try. Once. I had small kids. There were very few brands that I recognized on the shelves. The quarter for a cart thing and the bag your own groceries with your own bags thing, just didn’t work for me. And I never went back.
Recently I’ve seen several blog posts about Aldi, praising their low prices and high quality. So I decided to give the store a try again. My first thought when I walked in the store was, “This reminds me of a Trader Joe’s.” A bare-bones version, but still similar. Which is a good thing. I LOVE Trader Joe’s, but have to drive at least 1 1/2 hours to get to one. I did a little research when I got home and found that Aldi and Trader Joe’s have the same parent company!
As I cruised up and down the aisles at Aldi, I was surprised to see how low some of the prices were. So I picked up an assortment of things, from flour tortillas to frozen fish fillets. Honestly, I couldn’t believe how many groceries I got for what I paid. Then the real test came…how did everything taste? Really good. I would say everything is comparable to name brands, at least what I’ve tried so far. Concerning prices, as with every other grocery store, some deals are better than others. The granola bars were just a bit cheaper than the ones I buy at my local grocery store, but they were smaller and fewer were in the box. On the other hand, the name brand kefir (drinkable yogurt) cost at least $1 less than anywhere else. The trade-off for the low price, Aldi’s only has the strawberry flavor.
After cruising around the internet reading more blog posts about Aldi, I agree with many others. It’s not the store where you will buy ALL of your groceries ALL of the time. There just isn’t that big of a variety of merchandise for that. However, it is a great place to build your pantry basics, along with picking up a few more gourmet offerings at lower prices. The picture at the top of this post is my latest haul: artisan lettuce, mini cucumbers, avocados, queso fresco, goat cheese with honey, and grape tomatoes. All of those things, plus snacks for camping, a huge orange and almond chocolate bar (really good!), and several bags of sugar for around $25. A very good deal for the trade-off of shopping in a store without fancy displays and bagging my own groceries.
Do you shop at Aldi? If you do, what are some of your favorite items to buy there?