ALDI 101: What To Buy At Aldi
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This is the third and final post in our ALDI 101 series. But I have to be honest — I kind of don’t want this series to end!
I have been having so much fun reading your comments over email, tweets, Facebook, Instagram, and in the comment section below about Aldi! From those of you who have been longtime fans and have shared your great tips and favorite items, to those of you who may have never set foot in an Aldi but are considering giving it a try, it has been so cool to hear about each person’s unique experience with the store. I have to admit that a reader totally made my day when she shared that she ventured into an Aldi for the first time this week, and loved it. That is so cool!!!! :-)
Well after our first two posts — Why I Shop At Aldi and How To Shop At Aldi — today is the post that gets down to specifics on what to buy at Aldi. I feel like I should probably give a huge disclaimer that this post is based 100% on personal opinion. I have all of my own quirks and preferences, and as you will see below, there is a large section of the store (cereals, many non-organic meats, pet food, makeup, etc.) that I have not tried because those areas do not fall in my normal grocery shopping. And I’m sure there are plenty of items where our opinions may just simply differ! The pina colada popsicles that I adore just may not be your thing.
So please feel free to take this post with a a big grain of Aldi’s sea salt. ;) My hope is to offer a few starting points, and then hopefully you can try some new items and form your own opinions. To organize this post, I have included a few brief thoughts about each section of the store, and then a brief “to buy” and “not to buy” list of specifics. As always, I would love to have you share your thoughts on what you like to buy in the comments below.
This concludes our Aldi series! Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, and I look forward to resuming regular recipe posting with you tomorrow!
The pantry items are where I recommend people start at Aldi. Almost everything I’ve ever tried in this section is high-quality and consistently way cheaper than anyplace else. Granted, again, there is only one of most items to choose from. So you do not get the option of white whole wheat flour, unbleached or barley flour — there is usually bleached all-purpose flour, and that’s it. But this is an awesome section to stock your pantry, and even try a few of their specialty pantry items in the process.
What To Buy:
- baking essentials (flour, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, basic spices, condensed milk, etc.)
- real vanilla extract
- chocolate chips (semi-sweet, butterscotch,
- nuts for baking (pecan halves, walnuts, almonds, etc.)
- garlic vinagrette (with the garlic floating on the bottom!)
- Fit & Active light balsamic vinaigrette
- natural peanut butter
- clover honey
- whole wheat pasta
- potato gnocchi
- strawberry light & crispy cereal bars
- oatmeal (any kind — there are lots of options!)
- dried beans
What Not To Buy:
The only iffy pantry item I have tried at Aldi is their chili powder, but I’m a bit of a spice snob. I think that you get what you pay for anytime you buy $1 spices at a grocery store. I’m also not a big cereal connoisseur, but I do know that their version of Cheerio’s does not taste exactly like the original. Just like at any grocery store, many of the cereals or granola bars are made with extra sugar, so be sure to check out the labels if you’re going for healthy.
Snacks and Sweets
There is actually a really wide variety of snacks and sweets to choose from at Aldi! I don’t usually let myself buy potato chips at the grocery store, but when most all of their chips are under $2, I have to admit that I have now sampled quite a few. And they are pretty much awesome. :)
What To Buy:
- dry-roasted almonds
- waffle bowls
- tortilla chips (restaurant-style, blue and multigrain varieties)
- sweet potato chips
- kettle chips (sea salt & vinegar and jalapeno are my favs)
- moser roth chili chocolate bars
- anise pizzelle cookies
- Haribo cola candy
- chocolate-covered coffee beans
What Not To Buy:
I don’t have any no-buys in this section. I will just mention that occasionally the lower prices equal lower serving sizes in some products. Again, to use chips as an example, often their bags are only about half full. So plan accordingly. (Or just use it as an excuse for portion control!) ;)
Dairy & Refrigerated Items
This is one category where it is “to each his own”. The majority of Aldi’s dairy products are not organic, although more and more organic options (and alternatives like almond milk!) are starting to pop up. The refrigerated section also seems to have a lot of variety and turnover, so while there may be marscapone and brie some months, they might not be there year-round. Still, my cart is always filled with lots of items from this section each time I go! And I always stock up on butter each time I’m there. It tastes great, and it is always so cheap!
What To Buy:
- fresh mozzarella balls
- hummus (roasted red pepper, garlic and cayenne are my three favorites)
- fresh salsas (I love the medium)
- soft cheeses (gorgonzola, blue, goat and feta are usually available)
- cream cheese (regular and reduced-fat)
- greek yogurt (often they have the Fage brand, and I also like their black cherry)
- original organic soymilk
- natural almond milk
- skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk, half and half, heavy cream (none are organic, but they are pretty good!)
- cinnamon rolls
What Not To Buy:
Obviously if you are looking for organic, anything that is not marked as such is a no. I also think that many of their block cheeses are ok, but probably about worth what you pay for.
Ok, people, this has become my favorite section of Aldi! Trust me — there is some amazing produce to be found here at some of the best prices I’ve found. But here’s the deal…
You must be smart about choosing your produce. Just like at the normal grocery store, not every piece of produce is going to be perfectly ripe or at its peak season each time you visit. Case in point — Aldi can have incredible deals on avocadoes. (They are $0.19 each this week!) But if the avocado is wilted, or hard as a rock, it’s probably not a good day to buy it. The same goes for if you see any produce that looks super over- or under-ripe. If it looks iffy, you should probably wait until your next trip. Or you may need to eat it immediately, or wait a week for it to ripen if need be. But most of the time, I am completely impressed with their selection of ripe, affordable, delicious produce.
Most of their produce is also not organic, so just a heads-up if that is an important factor to you. Also many of their produce items (onions, zucchini, oranges, apples, kiwi, etc.) come in bags or in bulk. So there is not always the option to buy a single of some items.
Still, I always load up my cart with Aldi produce, so here are some of my favs!
What To Buy:
- baby carrots
- green onions
- sweet mini peppers
- specialty lettuce
- berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries)
- zucchini and yellow squash
What Not To Buy:
Again, anything that looks iffy. I find that their roma tomatoes typically are not very ripe or flavorful. And I would also offer a special note on the bananas — they are awesome, but often they are over- or under-ripe, so you need to eat them in the proper timeframe.
As I said above, I prefer to buy most of my meat organic, so I haven’t tried tons of Aldi’s refrigerated meat options. But they have some killer deals on meats, especially in their weekly fresh meat special buys! Be sure to always check for those specials when they are published each Wednesday, as they tend to disappear quickly! A lot of the meat at Aldi is also seasonal, so be sure around the holidays to check out their hams and turkeys. They are amazing!
What To Buy:
- turkey bacon
- ground turkey
- thick peppered bacon
- spiral-cut ham
What Not To Buy:
Just a heads up that their cheapest bacon is really thin and not very lean. I would “splurge” and go for one of the thicker cuts, since that is practically the same price as the inexpensive bacon at the regular grocery store!
Thus far, I have had 100% positive experiences with the canned and jarred section at Aldi. They have a great selection of your basic canned fruits and veggies, and lots of canned sauces and such to choose from. And the prices are fantastic! Once again, I would caution to read the labels. Their canned peaches have a ton of sugar, as the generic canned peaches do at most stores. And some of their sauces and soups contain more processed ingredients than I prefer, as is common in many jarred sauces. But still, don’t be scared of any of the canned produce from Aldi — it’s awesome!
What To Buy:
- canned veggies
- canned fruits
- canned beans
- jarred marinara sauce
What Not To Buy:
Anything that you might be iffy about being overly-processed. (Look for some Gimme Some Oven recipes for easy alternatives to make soups homemade!) And again, keep an eye on the sugar content with canned fruits.
To be honest, this is a section that I don’t know a ton about. I usually stick with pretty straight “ingredients” in the frozen food section — frozen fruit, fish, veggies, etc. So if any of you have insights on more of the prepared frozen foods, would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
What To Buy:
- jumbo shrimp
- fruit popsicles (pina colada, lime and strawberry)
- moose tracks ice cream
- frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, etc.)
What Not To Buy:
Any of their frozen shrimp that are not “jumbo” are tiny. I have also not been super impressed with their frozen salmon. Like most salmon in that price range in any grocery stores, it seems a little lacking in flavor. Also a heads-up that most of the frozen meats are not organic.
Gah, I wish I had more experience here! I promise you guys I’m not a super health nut, but I also pretty much stick to water, tea, juices and coffee in life. So I have hardly any experience here when it comes to beverages. But my friends tell me that most of their options (like the Aldi brand of Crystal Light, teas and flavored sparkling waters) are pretty much identical to the originals. Here are a few that I have tried.
What To Buy:
- sparkling juice (I love all of them!)
- refrigerated 100% orange juice (go for the nicer of the two options for better flavor)
- Naked juice (when in stock)
- flavored sparkling water drinks
- iced tea
What Not To Buy:
I am definitely a big of a snob when it comes to my coffee. So I shy away from any of the bulk or super inexpensive coffee options, but I am sure they are comparable to their counterparts in the regular grocery store. I was also unimpressed by the cheap refrigerated orange juice — seemed to concentrate-y for me.
First of all, it’s important to point out that wine and liquors are not available in all Aldi’s. I live in KC, and our Kansas stores are not allowed to carry alcoholic beverages, but most of the Missouri locations do. So this will depend on your state.
A reminder to all who are iffy about the cheap wine at Aldi — this store is owned by the same company that is the home of 2-buck-chuck, Trader Joe’s! So before you immediately write off the drink section, I would recommend you try a bottle or two. In my experience, you get what you pay for and a little bit more. The $3 wines taste maybe like a normal $5 wine. The Bailey’s knockoff isn’t precisely like Bailey’s, but it’s darn close and a great deal for a fraction of the price. But my favorite of all time is available seasonally, and I wish it was offered yearround — Aldi’s sangria! Oh man. I never knew that I would like sangria from a bottle, but this stuff is crazy good. And you get an enormous bottle for like $4. If you see it, you must try it.
What To Buy:
- SANGRIA! (seasonal)
- wines in the $5-10 range
What Not To Buy:
I think you get what you pay for with the super inexpensive budget wines — they are definitely hit and miss.
For some reason, I held out on this section of Aldi for years, and now I have no idea why. They have some terrific household products at amazing discounts! Especially since I typically get annoyed at having to spend money on these things anyway, it’s awesome to have a more affordable option at Aldi. Two areas that I have not tried are their pet section and the makeup. Would love to have you chime in if you have experience with either of these!
What To Buy:
- disinfectant wipes
- plastic freezer and sandwich bags
- trash bags (they are thin, but they do the job)
- Crest toothpaste
- women’s razors
- pain relievers (ibuprofin, etc.)
- ultra soft & strong toilet paper
- paper towels and napkins
What Not To Buy:
You totally get what you pay for with the super cheap ($1 for 4 rolls) toilet paper. It is super thin and not very soft. But their thick TP is awesome!
My Top 10 Favorite Items At Aldi:
9. roasted red pepper hummus
8. fresh mozzarella balls
6. sea salt pita chips
5. pina colada popsicles
4. artichoke hearts
3. almond milk
Other ALDI 101 Articles:
I love the Broccoli stuffed chicken and stuffed chicken cordon blue, the chicken and beef broth are good buys, and my kiddos love the cheese puffs. We also like the dirty rice mix. I agree the produce is amazing if you can get it when it is fresh, the bread is also a very good deal. Thanks for the post!!!
Kirkwood Southern Style Chicken Breasts (taste like Chikfila), Cinnamon French Toast Sticks (way cheaper than even Savalot and great when your son eats 10 each morning), Ceasar Salad Kit (seriously for 1.99 I can’t even finish it for lunch), Sugar-free Red thunder (knock off Red Bull), Cheddar Cheese Snack Sticks, Frozen Fine Green Beans (with garlic salt and olive oil they are like the ones at the local Chinese Buffet), refridgerated salsa (so fresh and the whole container is 150 calories – eat up), Frozen sweet corn (hubby loves it and hes an aldi skeptic), produce in general (but learn when your store restocks produce mine is Tu Th and Sa so if I go on Monday i can’t expect to find decent produce…)
I am a new aldi shopper and I have seen the food light! I will never go back to doing a full shop at another store. Last week I bought 51 items for a total of $89.37. I went to another store with “great prices” and bought 9 items for a total of $38.72. Wow! What a difference. Each week I take a picture of what I got and my friend and I compete to see which one of us did better that week. I am hooked. Try the frozen Tuscan pizza. It’s delicious! And only $3.49. And we are big fans of the grilled chicken bites even though they are pricy at over $6, but, worth it if my picky eater will eat them.
Our (very small) town has an Aldi going up right now. Currently, we have a WalMart & a tiny locally owned grocery store with very high prices. I read all 3 parts of your blog because I was very interested to see what the Aldi experience will be like, so thank you for sharing! I am REALLY looking forward to venturing outside of the Walmart option. Our closest big name grocery store is 45 minutes away. Target is an hour plus, and Whole Foods close to two, so we are really limited on options. I’m excited to try out Aldi. With the exception of coffee & cereal (like you) and Pop-Tarts (random, I know), I am not a name brand snob so I think Aldi will bring a lot to our grocery experience.
The only thing I disagree with is purchasing seafood from Aldi, as I ALWAYS check labels at any grocery store – BEWARE OF SEAFOOD CAUGHT IN or FARM RAISED ON CHINA! Please do your research on fish farm raised in China, it will forever change the way you purchase fish (especially tilapia & salmon) I’ve found that Morey’s tilapia & salmon are safe as they are farm raised in the USA.
Agreed 100%. I’m sure there are some decent fish farms in China, but this is the country that’s constantly adulterating food. Even my local supermarkets carry nearly 100% Chinese-sourced fish. What a joke!
So I kept reading about how good Aldi’s was for saving on groceries and we recently got 2 stores near us, so I wanted to try them. My husband was very skeptical, about this “discount grocery store” but agreed to go when I told him I found a menu plan online that had a month’s worth of dinners for $150 if you bought the ingrediants at Aldis. We printed out our grocery list and ventured out. I forgot to bring shopping bags so we did have to pay for those, Rookie mistake. But I saved them to use next time. And there will definitely be a next time. My husband was in shock at the HUGE basket of groceries we got for $147! Including meat, chicken breasts, turkey ham, ground turkey, ground beef, salmon. My favorite find was K-cups of coffee in my 2 favorite flavors for ~ $2 cheaper than even the store brand at HEB. My husband’s favorite find was Snicker’s ice cream bars. We will probably still shop at HEB for organic milk and some produce items. But a lot of our staples will now come from Aldi’s. It should really help out budget! We made the salmon last night, I was nervous cooking frozen salmon, but wrapped it in foil with a little olive oil, and lemon slices and it was delicious after baked.
Oh, I also have been really enjoying the Lovin’ 12 grain bread from Aldi’s. It makes wonderful toast or sandwiches.
This week they have frozen 85%burgers 3lb $8.99…. Any good? Discovered Aldi a few weeks ago and am hooked!
Also, last week was blown away by all the produce quality and prices- seedless grapes .99/lb (haven’t seen that price anywhere in a long time!). Plums, cantaloupe, peaches…
Stopped in for a quick milk(great price) stop mid week and The store size makes for a quick in and out . Didn’t miss the Wal Mart across the street with its usual packed parking lot and milk WAY back in the corner and huge checkout lines!
I have been pleased with most everything I have gotten at Aldi. My kids favorite thing is the pre-made pizza. And for $5-$8 per pizza ranging from 10in -16in it is a great deal. Bakes good and has plenty of toppings for every slice!
As a native German in the US – I love my ALDI here! You will find a good selection of ‘made in Germany’ products as well, both seasonal and all around – try bratwurst and seasoned red cabbage or sauerkraut (in jars), the chocolates, the real gingerbread (‘Lebkuchen’, seasonal before Christmas time), as well as their version of ‘Nutella’ – also made in Germany; delicious and much lower priced than its brand counterpart.
The concept of bringing my bags and slipping a coin in my cart was not foreign to me but I think especially the bags are such a great way to eliminate unnecessary plastic waste!
Also if you have cats: at an extremely low price, their canned cat food is not stretched with wheat and other gluten and fillers that is very, very unhealthy for cats (dries them out and leads to kidney disease) – something you usually only find with very expensive pet store brands. This cat food is a steal!
And I’ve noticed recently that more and more gluten free items are being added to the selection, especially of the baking and snack variety.
Almost all my weekly grocery shopping is done at Aldi; I only venture to a separate store for a few specific items. And I am consistently pleased with the quality of items and my grocery bill!
I love to shop at Aldi, especially at the holiday season when you have the stollen, gingerbread, Pfeffernüsse and the good chocolate.
I do wish you get some german cheese, the Harzer Käse, and some german romane for us women to read…
The Romane is Easy Reading for women…..there are Berg Romane, liebes Romane, Heimat Romane und Arzt Romane…….a Roman is like a paperback book….you can fold up……
I love shopping at Aldi! Especially since I’m in my 2nd trimester & have a 1-yr old, trips to the grocery store are not exactly looked forward to around here. With Aldi’s simplicity, I always know where to find everything & there are only a few aisles to maneuver around. A bonus: once when my battery died in the parking lot, an employee helped me jump my car off & was so nice and patient.
My favorite Aldi products are: almond milk, hummus, Clancy’s kettle bbq chips, shredded Parmesan cheese (not grated), cheese snack sticks (like string cheese but without the stringy-ness), yogurt, toilet paper & produce.
Their frozen apple pie is the best!
Our local Aldi now has organic 2% milk and it’s great! Also, their organic K-cup coffee is really good – I like the light roast! Thanks for your posts!!
I love Aldi! It has gotten my family of 6 through some very lean years. I adore their pasta sauce…it’s better than any name brand jar sauce! Their raisin crunch cereal is awesome too.
I do not like their liquid dishwasher soap however, it left a nasty oily slime on all my dishes and clouded my glasses. Stay away! It’s not a value if you have to re wash everything and then buy name brand products anyhow.
I love Aldi’s. It is the place to get my produce. I have found through trial and error what brands/items work for me. I spend about $80 on a full cart or food. That same basket at a name store would be at least 150. One of my favorite things is the special buys. I mean the aisle where you can get a $10 garden tool set. Or a 25 lb airtight container to hold dog food for 12.99. We have 2 Aldi in town, and it’s wonderful to see the $40,000 SUV parked next to me. I think people are getting it. Why pay more than necessary. Thanks for this article
We shop at aldi constantly bc my daughter has food allergies and they have exactly what we need! Love their: almond milk, skim milk, dry roasted peanuts, canned fruits and veggies, “fresh” pizzas, sweet potato chips, veggie straws/chips, yogurts, cheeses, hummus, and cereals. Beware: their baking ingredients are often less quantity for less money so it isn’t that much cheaper than Walmart. Also, their fruit is fantastic but often goes bad quickly. Love their watermelons, lettuce, pineapples, and kiwi, but strawberries and oranges go bad quickly.
I am an experienced Aldi shopper so there are a couple things I can add :) my girls LOVE their snack cheese sticks and yogurt. I love their version of laughing cow cheese wedges and they are a lot cheaper than the originals. I love their frozen Texas toast garlic bread as well as their regular sandwich bread (esp the oat bran). They also have a frozen stir fry that is a great easy meal option when paired with some chicken breast. I like their block cheese hand shredded for recipes but not their preshredded cheese. Their canned biscuits/crescent rolls etc are great. Like you, I love their pantry and canned items. Bottled water is quite a bit cheaper there. Baby wipes are cheap and super strong! $.85 for 56 in my area and they last a lot longer. Also, I was told by several different employees that all of their dairy products are Deans and all of their refrigerated meats are Tyson. I think that’s about it. The only other thing I have to say is I love Aldi and have converted a few people myself :)
Thanks for the wonderful information, Ali. I began at Aldi after my mother convinced me years ago to try their inexpensive milk. I, too, was suspicious. However, 8 years later…. Of the items we’ve purchased, there were/are only a couple things my family didn’t enjoy: sweet pot chips and the coffee (very week).
We are a one income family with 3 continuously eating sons, so Aldi has been a blessing for us. I shop Aldi first, then Giant & Costco. Something to note…sometimes items disappear. A couple of our favorites turned into “seasonal items.” Now that I very recently saw them back on the shelf, I want to hoard them! Around the holidays, their baking items drop in price, so stock up on butter, which in 2013, lowered to 1.99 lb. I was buying and freezing up to 10 lbs at a time. I also freeze cheese when that price drops. I’ll hit up ham & turkey sales that are discounted after holidays.
There are around 30 items I typically buy at Aldi and I am very pleased with them. To reiterate what others have said, there is no express lane and one time I even asked the one cashier on duty to call another after the 7th-8th customer got in line. So yes, plan accordingly. Waiting times really aren’t that bad, for time is saved from avoiding a larger store. I also try to be bless people trying to purchase just a few items–I’ll let them go in front of me when I have an overflowing cart. I’ve been on the receiving end of that and have been grateful:)
I’ve been going for a few years now, I can add any of frozen breakfast items, pancakes, French toast sticks, syrup, and ice cream bars are good. Just started using their dish soap, love it, long lasting not watered down like I thought it might be.
LOVED these articles!!! I am already an ALDI shopper but I learned so much more and will check out some of the items you mentioned that I did not know about. I have several friends who will not shop there and I think your articles might change their minds. Thank you so much!! Jeanne
I´m just wondering if you could give me a list of Aldi Stores near the border with Mexico, specially in the El Paso, Tx and Las Cruces, NM area. Thanks!
Their 30 gallon trash bags are cheaper and just as good as Walmarts.
I do not like their cereals. I like their instant oatmeal, graham crackers, bottled water, 2% milk, carrots, green bean (I only buy theirs), sugar, powdered sugar,wheat bread loaves if eat it fresh (does not freeze well)
Their frozen green beans imported from France are awesome–similar to Trader Joes. I think they have a lot of sodium in their boxed items (Hamburger Helper type) and some of the canned items. Their tomatoes always go bad — I’e learned not to buy them.
I just had a bag of those tonight. They really are awesome! Not like the garden, but definitely a close second!
Their squash last fall was grown 15 miles from my house, and priced at $1.19 each. Not per pound, EACH! Really, I could just leave it at that.
But it really does feel like this store was tailored to me. It reminds me of small markets in the past. Where if I needed yellow mustard, I grabbed whatever yellow mustard they had. I really don’t care to siphon through 40 brands of yellow mustard!! The only item I’ve had trouble with are the tomatoes. Just rub a finger on them, make sure the skin doesn’t wrinkle. If it does, they’re not long for this world!
My husband and I spent a year in Germany in the military, and we grew to love German coffee. It is available at the stateside commissaries, but it is very pricy. We discovered Aldi’s German roast coffee when we first moved back and it is the closest to the actual German brands we could get. But the bonus is that you get two the coffee at half the price! They did change the branding and look of the packaging, but we discovered that their Specially Selected Regular Roasted Coffee is the same as the Grandessa German Roast. $4.99 for a brick (500 g). In commissaries, German coffee sells for $7.99+ and the package is typically 300 g.
We spent many years in Germany and loved the coffee there. Aldi’s here in the U.S. is the best in our opinion, also. We prefer the mild roast. We were temporarily shocked when the packaging changed, but the coffee is still the same – wonderful. The price for the 500 gram brick can’t be matched elsewhere. I’m not referring to the Beaumont label, which I’m not fond of, but I’m not sure all stores are still carrying that.
I just read all three post about Aldi and I could not agree more! The only one I had ever been in before adulthood was dirty and gross however when I started working across the street from a different one I hit it up to see what I could find as far as staples. I was impressed! I cook everything from scratch and can walk in there and end up getting most of my list. As I’ve shopped there and been pleased I’ve gotten more and more and continue to be very happy. My number one buy has to be Almond Mike being lactose intolerant it has been a life saver! There were a few things you reviled that even I didn’t know.
The fresh pizza is the BEST! My children gobble it up. I also buy their K-Cups coffee- it rivals some of the name brand coffee. I buy all of our paper products at Aldi and just about everything listed above. When they have the specialty sausage I buy that too. It has cut my grocery bill in half! Happy Aldi Shopper!
Aldi’s my favorite store. There are very few of their products I don’t like. One thing I didn’t see mentioned is that the majority of their items carry a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Wish we had more stores.
ALDI has always been really good at allergy marking. Now they are adding to their gluten free items AT REASONABLE prices (unheard of). They are also really good (also unheard of). Yeah ALDI, $2.99 pumpkins too!!!
My aldis is one that carries alcohol. Everything ive ever bought is good esp the wine and way cheaper than other places. My store is recently remodled so we have alot more specialty ideas like the sour dough and french breads. They are so good. Ive spend 3/5 dollars at walmart for no where close to as good. 2 of my favorite products that are such a good deal are the purified water and string cheese. Oh and of coarse the milk and almond milk. My store also has a ton of gluton free items.
Thank you for the article. I shopped at Aldi once in the 1990s, had a bad experience, and have stayed away until recently. Now that I have a family, I find it’s the perfectly sized store to run into for a gallon of milk, some butter or eggs. Those small savings really add up, not to mention being able to get in and out fast! I am only just trying some of their store-branded products. I will try some of the ones you mentioned.
I have shopped at Aldi’s for years. I have never had a bad experience or bought something that was not a quality product. Produce is definitely the best value. Next comes canned goods. My top ten list is as follows:
1. Barbecue Ribs (prepackaged and ready for the grill. Great price and delicious)
3. Greek yogurt
4. Artisan lettuces
5. Low fat cottage cheese
6. Chunky Corn Chicken Chowder Soup
7. Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce (just like Prego)
9. Frozen Teriyaki Stir Fry. (Add chicken, beef or shrimp)
10. Aldi’s reusable shopping bags. They cost $1.00 and are so sturdy that I use the for all kinds of “toting”.
There are a few things that are worth the trip:
70% Dark Chocolate Moser Roth bars
Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola
And today for the first time I saw Sartori BellaVitano Gold cheese! Love that. Only $3.99.
It’s really very fun to go if you’re in the right mood. Set yourself up to search for a real gem and you’ll find it.
For drinks – I like their sugar free red bull type energy drink, German pilsner beer, and duncan donus type coffee(although I think they just changed the coffee for the worse).
Work Lunches – I like a lot of their soups and their odd flavor hot pockets are usually pretty good, I’d say even better than hot pocket sometimes. Can’t wait until we get a stove in my office!
Flour tortillas, wish they had corn too. olive oil.
Plain Greek yogurt + frozen blue berries = amazing (usually add a little vanilla extract)
I’ve always been perplexed why they don’t stock ricotta cheese, seems like a basic ingredient to me.
I LOVE Aldi’s!!! We just got one in our town this week which is awesome now I don’t have to drive so far each week to shop!! I couldn’t agree more with you… I love the cheap fruits and veggies… and the cheap milk… My step son goes through more milk then I have ever seen so this cuts back on my shopping bill..
Enjoying all the Aldi love! My favorites are the Turano Italian bread — gigantic round loaves of goodness. Makes the best toast and sandwiches, and the loaf lasts all week. I also always find great deals in the cheese section — Irish cheddar, goat cheeses, Mexican cheeses (in TX), etc. And store-brand ice cream and frozen treats that are at least 50% cheaper than national brands and just as good. :)
I have tried the cat litter from our local Aldi store and I hate it! My kitties seemed to use more litter than the Tidy Cats I usually get at Walmart. I went back to the TC, but the reason I tried Aldi’s in the first place was because my mom swears it’s fantastic. Maybe they’re different in different states or something? She lives in PA and we live in TX. I don’t know what else it could be unless I have mutant kitties LOL
Enjoyed your enthusiasm for ALDI, but they are not really owned by Trader Joes;. Both are a result of brothers who split a business
Aldi “Nord and Aldi Süd have been financially and legally separate since 1966 . . . Aldi Nord is owner of the Trader Joe’s chain while Aldi Süd operates as Aldi.]
Not to say you can’t find some of the same items with different packaging. However, if one is health conscious you need to keep an eye out for additives, HFC, overall sugars and sodium. As also mentioned in comments, if product source is important, they get A’s in some areas (Wine from Spain) but C’s in other (Fish from China). My concern is over-expansion reducing the quality and availability of the products we love — I’ve watched it happen to TJ’s.
I just had my first shopping last night at Aldi’s. Wow! For what would be $200+ at my usual grocery store was $127 at Aldi’s. We have celiac disease in our family and have great need for gluten free products. I found GF: breakfast bars, chicken nuggets (too expensive to buy in health food stores!), pizza, “hot pockets”, pancakes, cookies, cake mix, pizza dough mix, brownie mix, cornbread mix! Gluten free eating just became affordable.
When is the best day to shop for produce? It always seems picked over when I go.
For some reason, this post just crawled across my timeline yesterday. I read it eagerly and must say I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’m not much of a foodie; I’m a 64 year old widow, making it on Social Security. Shopping at Aldi is more or less a matter of survival with style for me. I just started my blog (at the above website) a couple of months ago, and one of my first “test” posts was about my Aldi experience. It’s remarkably similar to yours.
Stuff I buy there all the time: Crackers, oatmeal (they have steel-cut oats!!), real maple syrup, certain coffees (I enjoy their hazelnut). Milk, butter (real butter), eggs, extra-sharp Cheddar, wedges of Parmesan, cream cheese, low fat or nonfat yogurt. Chicken and lean ground beef, which I buy in quantity and break down into servings. I avoid a lot of their prepared frozen stuff, but I do buy popcorn shrimp when they have it. Toaster waffles. I also like their frozen steaks. Ice cream for a treat. “Everything” bagels. Their white bread is poor-ish, but their Italian loaf is good. Rice and pasta. Water pack tuna. Broth and stock to make my own soup. Canned soup for when I don’t make my own. Canned vegetables. Sugar–white, brown, and confectioners for special occasions like the holidays. Occasional canned fruit. Condiments such as mayo, mustard, and ketchup. Cleaning tools such as scrubbies and sponges. Window cleaner, which I use as an all-purpose spray. Acetaminophen–I take two each day, and I can get 100 of them in there for $1.99, a fraction of what I pay at the drugstore. We have a local produce store that is cheaper, but I do buy bananas and other staples at Aldi if I don’t want to make the side trip. In spring and summer, we get local veggies such as asparagus and mushrooms, for a song at Aldi.
Stuff I don’t buy: Dog food, fresh fish, and most produce. Baking supplies such as unbleached flour and yeast. Stuff where the brand name is a “must,” which for me includes cereal, coffee, and the occasional pack of Nathan’s hot dogs. We have a Shoppers Warehouse that sells ten paper products for ten dollars (paper towels, napkins, TP, waxed paper), so I buy those.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. By combining Aldi for most of my stuff with trips to a couple of other stores, I am able to survive on a soul-killing budget. I eat well, and I believe the food is wholesome. My family goes nuts over this–they seem to want to do everything in their power to dissuade me from going there, and I can’t quite fathom why. Our Aldi is full of young mothers and retirees. It seems a very sensible place to shop, and I intend to continue going there.
as someone who has shopped at Aldi for over 30 years, I am a little smug. The wonderful thing about Aldi is it’s ability to change product and yet keep the good stuff. My daughters also shop there and constantly try things I haven’t even seen. I am slowly eliminating processed food, so it is wonderful to see all the organic things they have added each week. My husband loves the donut store coffee style. He said it’s better than any name brand. I don’t care for the regular Cheerios, but the apple, honeynut, and other flavored styles are excellent. Their frozen chicken breasts, ground chuck, and pizzas are awesome. The frozen Texas toast is better than the name brand. The premium bacon and sausage are great. I buy all their sliced cheeses, and they are great as well. I am honestly trying to think of a product I wouldn’t buy and can’t. I tried couponing and spent hours each week only to pay the same prices I was already paying at Aldi. And I almost forgot, their generic soda is better than Faygo anyday.
ALDI opened its doors here in Johnson City Tn – as a native German I was so looking forward to good German food items – what a disappointment – 0 , zero, null German products – no sausages no dumplings no baked goods – what a joke.
We just started shopping at Aldi last year. We love it! Our favorites are the 16 inch take and bake pizzas. We usually buy a cheese one and add our own toppings as we all like different things. We have come to like those pizzas better than most carry out pizzas. We love their snack crackers, chips, cheeses, breads, most cereals (a few we liked better than name brand, a few we didn’t care for at all). My boys love their breakfast foods- mini muffins, frozen waffles, breakfast sandwiches, etc. Their produce section is awesome and very affordable. We have liked everything we have tried in the frozen food section. And my husband LOVEWs the knock off Bailey’s for his coffee. He can get 2 bottles of that for the price of one bottle of the real thing. The few things we didn’t care for were spaghetti sauce (we love Ragu and we just can’t change that) and the canned raviolis, spaghettio’s type foods. Other than those few items, we love it! Grocery shopping became so much more affordable last year!
Their natural bacon is fan-freaking-tastic! No nitrites. Lower in sodium. It is our ONLY bacon.
Of course I can’t reflect on all stores with this one favorable part of shopping at Aldi’s but the “checking out” aspect is indeed a plus. I’m very impatient & used to work as a cashier decades ago when younger. We back then could get customers out faster than most stores today with bar codes when back then we had to key in every item & look for the pricing on each one. The Aldi clerks here where I live DON’T PLAY & they will run through your large grocery order in half the time the competitors do. I also love the compact size of the stores, I save money concentrating on what I need & not so much impulse buying. Helpful hint: purchase some handled fabric strong shopping bags for return visits & keep them in your car trunk. As for store items go, let me suggest the frozen Cornish hen baked & laced with garlic cloves/spices, fresh garlic/tomato sweet salsa, the gluten free baking mixes are great for my g/f who has celiac condition & 30% less than most competing brands, I purchase the combo of $1 bologna, hot dogs & processed sliced cheese for my dog as his treat & it’s safe consumption for your kids as well (although probably not that healthy). I found this blog searching for the “Specially Selected” brand of caramel wafer cookies which are off season (holiday stuff) which I’m addicted to! To end my long winded commentary, the frozen asparagus pan seared with select spices is wonderful along with the inexpensive butter they sell. Fresh mushrooms many times are almost 1/2 price of even discount competitors! Kirkwood chicken wings although a little pricey @ $8 are the best (IMO) on the market! The shank/butt portions of ham around the holidays are a must, great stuff. I could go on & on but needless to say, Aldi is my #1 destination for shopping & my only complaint is their one store here in my area is across town! Ha, at least gas pricing is down so now it doesn’t cut so much into budget going there 2-3 times weekly for those great deals! Enjoy,, Aldi rocks!!
lots of MSG in their products
I CAN’T BELIEVE THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR AVACADOS IN THE USA, IN AUSTRALIA YOU WILL PAY At LEAST 2 DOLLARS AT ALDI