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Costco vs. ALDI: Where is the Best Deal?

You know I’m a huge fan of both Costco and ALDI, and I shop both of them regularly.

I shop for real food groceries at Costco only about once every 4-8 weeks though, and ALDI is much more likely to be my regular weekly stop. That’s partly because of location and partly because it takes 20-30 minutes to get through ALDI and an hour for Costco, but I also feel like my regular stapes, especially produce, are much less expensive at ALDI.

Where is the best deal - Costco or ALDI?

So I have to say that I was initially quite shocked to see my friend Tiffany’s post about how many items were a better deal at Costco over ALDI – fully three quarters of what she checked, her typical staples, won at Costco. So what’s the deal? (pun intended)

As I dug into her list more closely, my surprise subsided.

It included a ton of items that I would never buy at ALDI: nuts, coconut oil, cheese, maple syrup, oats, dried fruit…

Nuts and dried fruit are just a no brainer to buy in bulk, because they can last a long time and are always expensive when you buy a tiny package. Cheese was initially a surprise for me when I discovered that Costco beat ALDI’s pants off consistently on that item (but I did know it), so I just plan to buy cheese regularly at Costco. BUT that is one of those items I think people have to be very careful and wise about. If my in-laws, who looooooove a great deal, heard that Costco cheese was THAT much more of a savings than ALDI (and it is), and they switched to Costco, they’d end up throwing away 18 ounces of the 24-ounce block every time they opened one.

They just don’t eat enough cheese, so what they really need to know is not unit price, but what store has the less expensive 8-ounce block. At that size, Costco is out of the running, and we only need to know if ALDI is better than regular price at Meijer (it is) and how to compare to a current sale price at Meijer (it will vary).

I am still pretty surprised that Costco won on peanut butter (good to know!) and ground beef and that ALDI won on pasta, especially since I had already decided that ALDI chicken was a better deal (I figured it might extrapolate onto more meats).

So.

Time to do a little price comparing myself Costco…or ALDI?!

I mostly aimed for a departure of what Tiffany had already done over at Crumbs, but I ended up checking some of her work (notably applesauce, tomatoes, rice and salmon), and what I found may surprise her (and you too).

Costco vs. ALDI: Price Comparing Rules

I decided I better have some rules like Tiffany did, and I’m sticking pretty closely to staples I buy all the time as well. I do tend to buy a lot in bulk and then use it over a long period of time, so although I might not buy each of these items weekly or even monthly, they are used often in my house.

Rule #1: Buy the Basics

Like she did, I stuck with products that I buy and use very regularly in my basic, family-friendly cooking. We’ll look at things like beans, tomatoes, and also produce.

Rule #2: Produce is a Moving Target

It’s just important to remember that produce will have a ton of regional and seasonal flux, but if you can start to get a baseline for what things cost, you’ll be better able to compare on the fly. Our growing season is so short in Michigan that while of course I prioritize farmer’s markets and local growers in July-October, it’s just not possible for well over 50% of the year for most items that we eat all the time. I need to know where to shop weekly!

Rule #3: Compare Like Items

I did my best to standardize everything, from the thickness of the paper plates to whether something was organic or not, as that’s especially important for both cost and quality.

All prices are reduced to a comparable level, like per ounce or per pound.

The Results: Costco vs. ALDI Prices

Note: both Costco and ALDI have regional variance in pricing, plus as we all know, prices are constantly changing – UP – as each month passes. This list is still super helpful to use as a starting point, but you’ll want to print the printable and cross reference with your OWN store prices to make sure you’re making buying decisions accurately. 

Gluten Free Bread = Costco

  •  to make sure you’re making buying decisions accurately. Aldi: $13.99/12 oz. ($0.33/oz. or $5.28/lb.)
  • Costco: two 17.3  oz. loaves for $8.49 ($0.25/oz. or $4/lb.)

Regular Bread = ALDI

If you’re just looking for plain old sandwich bread, ALDI wins.

  • ALDI: $0.69-$0.80/lb.
  • Costco: $1.12/lb.

Whole Wheat & Italian Breads = ALDI

The next level up in price is usually these two more “specialty” breads. If you want multigrain, Costco’s matches ALDI’s whole wheat price.

  • ALDI: $1.12/lb.
  • Costco: $1.76/lb.

Pantry Staples

Costco Vs ALDI

Mustard = ALDI by a mile

  • ALDI: 20-oz. bottle for $0.59 ($0.0295/oz.)
  • Costco: 2 30-oz. bottles for $4.89 ($0.082/oz. or like paying $1.64 for the 20-oz. bottle)

Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil = Costco

  • ALDI: 17-oz. bottle for $3.99 ($0.24/oz. or $1.92/cup)
  • Costco: 2 liter (2 qt., 3.6-oz.) bottle for $13.99 ($0.21/oz. or $1.68/cup) – but you have to be able to use it up quickly!

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar = Costco

  • ALDI: 17-oz. bottle for $1.99 ($0.118/oz. $1.88/cup)
  • Costco: 2 32-oz. bottles for $5.99 ($0.0935/oz. or $1.49/cup)

Tomato Paste= Not a fair comparison

The store didn’t have comparable items – one is organic one conventional.

  • ALDI: (conventional) 6-ounce for $0.39 ($0.065/oz.)
  • Costco: (organic) 12 6-ounce cans for $6.69 ($0.093/oz., $0.55/can)

Organic Diced Tomatoes = Costco (by a smidge)

  • ALDI: 28-oz. can for $1.49 ($0.054/oz.)($0.63/cup)
  • Costco: 8 14.5-oz. cans for $5.99 ($0.052/oz.)($0.41/cup)

My ALDI currently carries conventional diced tomatoes in 14.5-oz. cans for $0.038/oz. or $0.30/cup).

Organic Pasta Sauce = ALDI

  • ALDI: 24-oz. for $1.89, no sugar added ($0.079/oz.)
  • Costco: 3 32-oz. jars for $9.69, no sugar added ($0.10/oz.)

These are both the store brands, so I don’t think we’ll see a ton of variance like we might with some of Costco’s other sauces.

Conventional Pasta Sauce = ALDI

  • ALDI: 24-oz. for $0.99, sugar added ($0.34/cup)
  • Costco: 3 32-oz. jars for $6.59, sugar added, currently Classico brand ($0.56/cup)

I think this will vary wildly by location and season, but I list the sugar issue because if you ever eat a Paleo or Whole30 diet or care about sugar, it only makes sense to always keep “no-sugar” pasta sauce around. Considering ALDI’s store brand organic is less than a cent per ounce higher than Costco’s national brand conventional, I’m super happy with my decision to buy ALDI pasta sauce regularly. I used “one cup” as 8 ounces in the figuring above even though it’s not entirely accurate; it’s easy to apply to other stores.

Spaghetti = Inconclusive

My ALDI price for regular old spaghetti is over $1/lb. and Tiffany’s was only 73c/lb., and Costco didn’t even have regular spaghetti the day I was there…so…what?? That all seems very odd. I raise the white flag on this one. Organic spaghetti was available both places:

  • ALDI: 16-oz. for $1.29 ($1.28/lb.)
  • Costco: 8 1.1-lb. boxes for $9.99 ($1.14/lb.)

Gluten-free Pasta = ALDI

  • ALDI: 7.9c/oz for corn-based pasta or 18.1c/oz. for brown rice pasta
  • Costco: They are switching too much! I’ve purchased brown rice pasta there, black bean pasta (not a huge hit with all the family members although I liked it) and recently red lentil pasta. But on the trip when I was writing everything down, zero GF options. At least I can count on ALDI to always have the same 2 choices in their SimplyNature line!

Organic Applesauce = Unsure

ALDI SimplyNature organic unsweetened applesauce

Tiffany’s list gave Costco the win on this one, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen organic (or any) applesauce in jars at Costco. They only carry the little cups (at 9c/oz. at my store). On the other hand, ALDI’s jarred applesauce came out to 4.1c/oz. for me and Tiffany clocked it at 7c/oz., underlining the importance of checking regional prices! EDIT: I was thinking this ALDI jar was organic, because many of their SimplyNature line products are, but I was mistaken! It’s still unsweetened applesauce, but of course we must compare (ahem) apples to apples. 😉

Canned Vegetables (corn, green beans, peas, etc.) = ALDI by a mile

Note: I don’t buy canned vegetables at all because fresh or frozen have so many more nutrients. But for emergency prep or if you just love them, it’s good to know who wins:

  • ALDI: $0.49/can ($0.03/oz.)
  • Costco: 12 can boxes ($0.041-0.046/oz.)

Organic Canned Beans = ALDI

Note: I prefer making dry beans from scratch because it’s healthier and saves a lot of money, but I always have canned beans on hand in case I’m unprepared.

  • ALDI: $0.79/can (5.1c/oz.)
  • Costco: 8 15-oz. cans for $6.59 (5.5c/oz.)

Regular Canned Beans = Not a Fair Fight (ALDI)

The day I was there, Costco had zero canned beans that weren’t organic, which is one of the problems with the warehouse store. Their stock changes a lot, so your choices even on what I think of as really basic staples may be limited. ALDI always has canned beans although their organic stock rotates a little bit. Both beans seem to be good quality to me; I have had Costco’s organic black beans and all of ALDI’s.

  • ALDI: $0.59/can (3.9c/oz.)
  • Costco: ???

Note: If you’re shopping rice, Tiffany’s figures definitely ring true for me. White, brown, basmati, jasmine, and quinoa too – they’re all a much better deal to buy in bulk at Costco, as long as you have room for a 10 to 25-lb. bag!

Produce: I Know Which Store I Prefer!

organic produce at ALDI

Bananas = Too Close to Call

  • ALDI: 43c/lb.
  • Costco: 46c/lb.

On the day I was tracking this, ALDI comes out slightly ahead, but I know these prices vary so much that you can’t just give the blue ribbon permanently away.

Avocados = Usually ALDI

  • ALDI: 99c each, but I’ve seen them as low as 59c each
  • Costco: $6.99 for 6 ($1.17 each)

For this and other produce items, you need to have a good benchmark in your head. For avocados, I like to get them at a dollar or below. When they’re at 59c at ALDI, I’ll get 10-12 of them and just allow them to ripen at different times by putting them in the fridge right away and taking 1-2 out to the counter at a time.

Colored Peppers = Usually ALDI

  • ALDI: typically about a dollar each
  • Costco: $6.99 for 6

Green peppers at ALDI almost always demolish the competition at Meijer, our big box store here, and Costco rarely carries them. Green peppers were only 75c each at ALDI recently.

Mushrooms = ALDI

  • ALDI: $1.69/8 oz. ($0.21/oz.)
  • Costco: $5/18 oz. ($0.28/oz.)

I never buy mushrooms anywhere other than ALDI unless they go on sale for 10/$10 at Meijer.

Cucumbers = ALDI

  • ALDI: $0.49 each
  • Costco: $4.99 for 3 long cucumbers, 1.5 lbs. ($3.33/lb. or $1.66 per cucumber)

It pains me to buy cucumbers at Costco! The Costco English cukes are longer, yes, but they’re not 3+ times longer!

Carrots = Up for Debate

  • ALDI: 2 lbs. for $1.29 ($0.65/lb.)
  • Costco: 10 lbs. organic for $6.49 ($0.65/lb.)

But that’s not a fair comparison. I’m pretty sure that when Costco carried conventionally grown carrots, they were 50c/lb. for that 10-lb. bag. The real question is this: Can you use 10 pounds of carrots quickly enough and fit it in your fridge? I try to keep baby carrots (organic or conventional) around $1/lb. whenever possible and make sure that whole carrots stay between 50-75c/lb. We can use 5 pounds of baby carrots and 10 pounds of long ones, no problem! So I just buy them wherever I am and don’t worry too much about perfect price comparing. I just know when I see a better-than-average sale.

Organic Salad Mix = Tied

ALDI and Costco are dead even with a big box of mixed greens for $4.49/16 oz.

Onions = Know Your Price Point

  • ALDI: 3 lbs. for $1.89 ($0.63/lb.)
  • Costco: 10 lbs. for $5.49 ($0.54/lb.)

These prices were in the summer in Michigan, but I know I’ve seen onions as low as 20-30c/lb. at ALDI before. I like to get them under 50c/lb. whenever possible, which obviously it just wasn’t at that point of the year. When I buy 10 pounds at Costco, sometimes they go mooshy before I can finish using them, especially in the summer heat, so I just limp along most of the time with 3-lb. bags until someone goes under 50c/lb.

Potatoes = Know Your Price Point

  • ALDI: 10 lbs. for $3.49 ($0.35/lb.)
  • Costco: 20 lbs. organic for $8.99 ($0.45/lb.)

I see potatoes go MUCH lower in price at ALDI quite often, and I will buy a couple bags when they go to 20c/lb. ($1.99 for the 10# bag). For this item, as for onions, you just need to have a target goal that you know you can find sometimes and an acceptable compromise.

Produce Limitations at Costco

More than anything else, fresh produce is something that you must be able to use in a timely fashion if you buy big. Costco is a terrible place to buy produce for many people because of that, because generally any cost savings aren’t big enough to justify freezing the extras, and there’s too much risk of waste.

Also, there are many things I love to buy weekly that Costco simply doesn’t carry:

  1. cabbage
  2. green onions
  3. cilantro
  4. radishes
  5. cauliflower
  6. red onions

All of those are nearly always less expensive than our other big box grocery, and I’m happy not to price compare to save pennies just in case the other store has a sale or something.

The Meat Question

ALDI grassfed ground beef
  • ALDI: 12 oz. package ($4/lb.) Never Any! chicken sausage with seasoning – these links are smaller than Costco’s
  • Costco: 3 lbs. package ($3.36/lb.) Greenridge kale and asiago

As usual though, you have to make sure you can use all those sausages if you’re shopping Costco!

Organic, Grassfed Ground Beef = Costco (with a caveat)

  • ALDI: $5.89/lb. (wow, it went down in the six months since I took that photo!! Or that might have been in a Chicago-area store…)
  • Costco: $4.99/lb.

The caveat: Costco’s organic ground beef comes in 1 1/3 pound packages. That means that it’s far easier to use more than a pound in a recipe, or if you have a habit of using half a pound in soups and casseroles to save money like I do, you still might use more (unless you cook up all the Costco beef at once and separate it more evenly). If you used “a package” of the Costco beef like it was a pound, you’d spend more at Costco – so you have to know your habits and be savvy about usage for this “deal” to pay off.

Conventional Chicken Breasts = ALDI

  • ALDI: $2.29/lb.
  • Costco: $2.99/lb.

Conventional Chicken Thighs = ALDI

  • ALDI: $2.29/lb.
  • Costco: $2.49/lb.

Plus, Costco doesn’t even have bone-in breasts or thighs, so there’s no chance of making stock afterward or having yummy Cracklin’ Chicken from Nom Nom Paleo. Winking smile When I’m going cheap and buying conventional chicken (I do this because I’m not convinced that grocery store organic chicken is really more than a fraction of a step up from the organic options), I’m an ALDI gal all the way. ALDI does not carry organic chicken but does have a “Never Any!” line with no antibiotics, hormones or fillers, ever. It is quite a bit more expensive than their regular line.

Besides all that, ALDI has frequent meat sales and Costco rarely if ever lowers their prices on meat.

Bacon = Dead Even

Tiffany gave ALDI the nudge on bacon by 50c/lb., but I found what I see as the equivalent product to be dead on – $3/lb. each.

Frozen Alaskan Wild Salmon = ALDI (with a caveat)

  • ALDI: $3.79/lb.
  • Costco: $8.99/lb. (sockeye, but that’s all they have available without added ingredients)

Wow! That’s a huge savings…but before you choose the cheaper option…

After posting this, I received an email from a reader who works in the seafood industry who explained a bit about why the price difference is so huge here. This is what he had to say: 

Costco sells sockeye salmon which is a premium salmon, Aldi sells either pinks or chums a much lesser salmon for eatability. Let me explain…

There are 5 species of wild salmon. Like any protein, the higher the fat content the better it tastes. For fish, the fat is fish oil, omega-3’s which is very healthy as I am sure you know. Here’s the breakdown-

  • King Salmon- Loaded with fish oil, huge fish very expensive
  • Coho Salmon- High oil content medium size fish, limited catch on a yearly basis
  • Sockeye Salmon- High oil medium size fish, high catch mainly due to Bristol Bay, the largest salmon run in the world.
  • Chum Salmon- Called dogfish in Alaska, mainly because they consider it dog food. Low oil not flavorful. 
  • Pink Salmon- Very lean usually used as an ingredient in the food industry, low oil.

So to compare what Costco sells to Aldi is an unfair comparison.

I like to get sockeye salmon from Butcher Box. Its deep red color and great flavor are evidence that it’s much higher quality versus Aldi’s salmon, and it’s cheaper than what I can get at our local Costco. 

RELATED: Find my review of Butcher Box here.

COSTCO vs ALDI

Canned Alaskan Wild Salmon = ALDI (with a caveat)

  • ALDI: $2.29/14.75 oz. can ($0.16/oz.)
  • Costco: $12.99/6-6 oz. cans ($$0.36/oz)

It seems that ALDI blows Costco out of the water, but it’s not a fair comparison – Costco’s salmon is boneless and skinless whereas ALDI’s has plenty of bones and skin. Costco’s is more appropriate for a salmon salad or sandwich and ALDI’s goes perfectly in salmon patties. I buy both for the different purposes. They are each a better deal than Meijer’s comparable product, and they’re shelf stable, so I can stock up as needed.

Canned Tuna = ALDI (with a caveat)

  • ALDI: 5 oz. can for $0.65 ($0.13/oz.)
  • Costco: 12-7 oz. cans for $13.49 ($0.16/oz.)

This is the same problem as the salmon – Costco carries the Wild Planet brand of tuna which boasts sustainable sourcing, etc. ALDI actually does have “wild caught” tuna and sustainable sourcing as well. So are you paying for the brand? I admit I have both in the house.

Organic Chicken Stock = ALDI

First I have to say that I love that both stores carry organic stock made with bones! It costs just pennies to make your own chicken stock, but I always like to have a few boxes in the basement pantry just in case.

  • ALDI: $1.79/32 oz. (5.6c/oz.)
  • Costco: $11.79 for 6 32-oz. boxes (6c/oz.)

Sour Cream = ALDI

  • ALDI: 16-oz. tub for $0.99
  • Costco: 48-oz. tub for more than $3 (I actually didn’t write this down because in the last year, Costco’s prices went up enough that it was obvious that ALDI was a better deal, and I could stop worrying about finishing all that open sour cream before it got moldy.)

Both places have good ingredients – Costco stocks the Daisy brand and ALDI’s store brand omits the fillers I find in other stores.

Costco vs. ALDI: Where do I get the Best Deal?

Disposable Paper Products

I’m not a big proponent of buying things just to throw them away, but there are times that disposables are simply unavoidable. Might as well get the best price!

Paper Plates = Costco (with a caveat)

  • ALDI: $2.89 for 80 thin plates (3.7c/plate) or $2.99 for 40 coated plates (Dixie or equivalent, 7.5c/plate)
  • Costco: $16.59 for 800 thin plates (2.1c/plate) or 5.7c each for Dixie coated (although on sale) and 6.1c/plate for the very heavy duty Chinet paper plates

The caveat? After I did these figures I thought, “Well shoot, I always thought ALDI was the best by far for paper plates for camping. I’m getting them at Costco this year!” Um. 800 paper plates weighs almost as much as my 2-year-old and will last us like 7 years for camping! Now I have to store the darn things! Sometimes smaller packages have their advantages… #oops #onlylookedatprice #notpracticality

Cutlery = Tied

  • ALDI: $2.99 for 96 count box (3.2c/piece)
  • Costco: $11.79 for mixed 360-count box of more deluxe, heavy duty (3.3c/piece) or if you can use 500 of one kind at a time, they’re only 1.9c/piece

So for a big party, go Costco. You get better utensils for the same money or a lower quality for less money. But you have to need a lot – maybe just use real silverware and the dishwasher!

Storage and Freezer Bags (no slider) = Know Your Price Point

  • ALDI: quantity varies by size and thickness, ranging from 4.0-6.7c apiece
  • Costco: quantity varies by size and thickness, ranging from 5.0-8.5c apiece

Zippered Sandwich Bags = Tied

  • ALDI: 100 for $1.99 (2c apiece)
  • Costco: 500 for $9.79 (basically 9c apiece)

The lesson here? Good grief, just get some lovely reusable sandwich bags and save the earth a little!!

Kitchen Sized Garbage Bags = Quantity or Good Deal?

  • ALDI: 80 for $4.99 (6.3c each)
  • Costco: 200 for $12.99 (6.5c each)

Costco’s bags have a drawstring though and are a bit thicker – so you get what you pay for.

Paper Towel = Varies

  • ALDI: ranges from 0.7-1.5c/sheet depending on the thickness
  • Costco: Kirkland select-a-size was 1.1c/sheet and Bounty was 1.04c/sheet

So…if you can handle cheapie-feeling paper towel, go for the least expensive at ALDI. If you really need good stuff, it’s probably a wash. Use towels and wash them!

Use it or Lose It

As with any food purchases, if goal number one is to get the best per-unit price, goal number two MUST be to use it wisely. It’s never a good deal if it gets slimy and you have to toss it!

An important piece of insurance against food waste is meal planning. Plan to Eat is a great tool to keep all your recipes and the food you have purchased in order and on the table instead of in the garbage, saving you even more money every time you plan.

The Bottom Line on Costco vs. ALDI

When Tiffany found her final answers, Costco kicked ALDI’s patootie in 75% of her options.

Now I love Tiffany and I’m not questioning her results in the least, but I am saying that if you compare different items, you get awfully different answers:

Out of my 27 items compared (that had conclusive results), Costco lost on the exact same number of items ALDI did on Tiffany’s list: Twenty.

(I didn’t even set out to compare the exact same number, can you believe that! I thought I was comparing about 92 when I looked at my notebook, sheesh!)

Some of Costco’s winners, like apple cider vinegar and paper plates, are very seldom purchases anyway. Some of ALDI’s winners, specifically frozen salmon, chicken and cucumbers, we eat every week and the savings spread was significant.

So – what store has the better prices, Costco or ALDI?

It ultimately depends on how you shop, and the most savvy people are buying nuts, dried fruit, cheese, beef, and peanut butter at Costco, produce and canned goods at ALDI, and sourcing as much meat and vegetables as they can locally and in season!

Why You Always Need to Compare

Check out these chips:

Costco vs ALDI vegetable chips I think theyre exactly the same

Don’t they look pretty similar in the pictures on the bag?

I can’t prove it, but when the ingredients are the same and they taste the same, it’s possible that they’re made in the same factory. In this case, Costco has the better deal:

  • ALDI: 7 oz. for $2.79 ($0.40/oz.)
  • Costco: 15 oz. for $5.49 ($0.37/oz.)

With a caveat – when we open a bag of these, like on a fun picnic, we pretty much eat them all – no matter which size bag it is. Also, they’re not always available at Costco.

Costco vs ALDI vegetable chips
Are you an ALDI or Costco shopper? Have you ever done a price comparison?

Find a whole bunch of helpful shopping hints in the series “What Does a Real Foodie Buy At??”

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Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

38 thoughts on “Costco vs. ALDI: Where is the Best Deal?”

  1. I just remembered a disappointment at Aldi, I was reading the juice labels. Naturally and artificially flavored. What? Why would want or need artificial flavors in juice? There were a few other items the same way. I forget now what they were.

    I didn’t like trading carts at checkout either… If I wiped it down for germs, now I get a fresh germy cart? I don’t, but there was a time I had to for my daughter to keep her well. Really didn’t like switching carts… And I don’t have babies anymore.

    1. I’ve found many clerks will let you keep your cart if there’s a baby/child all settled in it, but I’ve heard that not all do. Doesn’t hurt to ask! I wonder if the juice is better now – they’ve made a lot of good changes in recent years. 🙂 Katie

      1. I saw the juice just last week. That was my first visit. I will go back! I don’t buy a lot of juice, I prefer the whole fruit for my family. We will see what I find next time! I will start on the clearance aisle.

  2. I finally made to Aldi! There’s a new one 15 miles from me. I waited for the doctor’s appointment close by to make the trip. I filled my shopping cart for just over $100 on things that we needed. I’m glad the store is small! Fewer choices make it faster shopping. I thought it had the basics and some very good prices, some comparable to Grocery Outlet. I think it’s worth returning.

    I wish I had known it’s cash or card, but no checks! I use checks… Also, I was not prepared to bag my own groceries, although I’m used to it, but going over to another counter to get it done.

    Now I know I want to start with the clearance row! Some very good, prices there! Two pounds of popping corn for $.59! I almost cleared them out. $.77 a dozen for large eggs. That’s half the price I pay elsewhere. Bread was equal to Grocery Outlet. I bought mostly staples and canned goods. Some produce, but not much. I have Sprouts for produce and meats. I bought cereal just over my 10 cents an ounce goal. Tortillas I would have bought if they weren’t white. That was a great price!

    So, I find it worthy of returning, but no special trips. I now know what to expect. Glad I went! I have heard so much about it. It doesn’t not replace Costco. (Although rivals the canned goods!) That is 28 miles from me; also close to doctors and dentist.

  3. I find this fascinating because I live in Australia where there are really only two large supermarket chains and one smaller ‘independent’ chain. We do however have Aldi which is growing rapidly and Costco is making an appearance. Generally here Aldi has a more limited range and mostly their own brands in lieu of the known ones, however overall Aldi is about 30% cheaper. I’ve never had a problem with quality but have made a few discoveries amongst their specials. Their best overall buys are their non groceries such as last week a 5.5kg top loading washing machine for $299 compared with usual white goods outlets about twice the price. Similarly TV, microwave ovens, small furniture etc. These items appear for a week and then are gone until next time usually some months later. Your overall prices for staples are interesting some seem very cheap to me especially tinned goods but others quite dear. We are blessed here with cheap excellent quality meat,fruit and vegetables of amazing range. Thanks for you dedication in producing your pages.

  4. I can beat both chicken prices. Look for a butcher or meat store near you. Best chicken prices? Right now Marketplace Meats 10 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast @1.19per lb. 10 lbs thigh/leg combo skin and bone @0.59per lb. Yes you need to be a (free) email or Facebook subscriber and tell them but I love to take it home and freeze.

  5. I didn’t see it mentioned that Aldi’s is a sister store to Trader Joe’s. As far as the quarter thing for the carts, usually you can get a cart from one of the other shoppers and we offer them the quarter. Most people won’t take it or say to pass it on. Keeps the parking lot clean and neat. Our store has excellent produce, have added much organic produce and products also. Aldi’s has a guarantee on their products if you don’t like them so take them back! Overall I really like Aldi’s. We have a Sam’s here, no Costco and it is not close enough to warrant my getting a subscription. I enjoyed this article and the comparisons.

    1. Hi Kandy,
      I didn’t mention that because it’s a myth – because two brothers were on the boards, that myth got started, but there’s actually ZERO current relationship between ALDI and TJs! But soooo many people think there is, it’s almost an urban legend. 🙂

      I’m so glad you have such a nice ALDI, and yes, their double back guarantee is amazing! 🙂 Katie

  6. Um. I actually disagree to a point. We get our beef through our butcher and average $4.80/lb for grass fed beef for all cuts. Our grass fed beef is like cooking ground sirloin and has almost NO residual fat. When you have gb in the store and it’s 80/20 or whatever, you are loosing 20% of your meat. You do not end up with a pound of meat. We get our chicken either from Sam’s or Zaycon. Ranges from $1.49-1.59/lb. Our Syrup is much cheaper from VT through our co-op. So is honey. MUCH cheaper for me to make my own bread. It’s MUCH cheaper to buy tomato sauce/pizza sauce and make your own spag sauce & can it for .75/jar. Same with tom paste & diced tomatoes (can your own in separate containers from 10# cans). My own applesauce (I can it) is WAY cheaper and I can control what’s in it and the sweetener if I want to. Canned veggies are cheaper to buy from the Farmer’s market or Food depot and can your own. Dry beans are crazy cheap by buying in bulk from our co-op and can your own with a dry can method. Cheese is atleast 1/2 through our co-op vs Aldi and Costco. It is natural, has no hormones/antibiotics and no colorings. Also offers Raw milk varieties. I love my Sam’s and Costco but disagree with you on so many points. I also make and can my own bone stock from Turkey, beef & chicken at NO cost.

    1. Hi Beth,
      I’m with you on a lot of those points, actually – I get 25lb bags of dry beans and syrup in one-gallon bottles and make my own broth 99.9% of the time. But I can’t keep up on canning applesauce even though we buy about 400 lbs of apples every fall, and I haven’t been all that good at canning tomatoes in the last 5 years either. When I do, we run out before spring. Not everyone has a co-op or the time to can their own – so it’s important to offer ALL the options for healthy food so it’s doable for everyone! Thanks for sharing though – it’s good to see how other people price things. 🙂 Katie

  7. Becca @ The Earthling's Handbook

    I recently tried Aldi again and found low prices only on canned foods and some produce–comparing to Giant Eagle, Gordon Food Service, Trader Joe’s, and local food co-op as well as Costco.

    For spaghetti (or rotini spirals) I highly recommend Gordon Food Service: They have a good price on white-flour pasta, but they also have whole-wheat pasta that’s not gritty. It’s in 5-pound bags and priced much lower per pound than whole-wheat pasta in other stores, and I appreciate having less garbage! I store the pasta in big jars after opening the bag.

  8. Great article – thanks! In regards to wastage on dairy items such as cheese, large blocks of cheese can be divided & frozen. You can grate it & freeze in ziplock bags too (great for topping bakes, using in scones etc). The same goes for milk, cream & butter.

  9. Grrrrr. This makes me so frustrated. Somehow the Aldis we have in our area (Ohio) just aren’t reliable when it comes to produce. It’s often over-ripe and spoiled. If you buy it, you HAVE to use it same day or the day after.

    The Costco produce is even better than buying from Kroger (which is crazy in my mind!).

    This post gives me the gumption to try it again…

    1. I have never been to an aldi’s that has tolerable produce. U have to use it in a day or 2. They dont ever chill it is all i can think.

  10. Lou Ann Myers

    We have shopped at Aldi for over 30 years, that is when there was one within a good driving distance to where we lived 🙂 For a family of two Aldi wins out on pretty much everything. One has to keep in mind the size of your family and the items you typically buy. My discovery was that comparing item for item even if it were pennies cheaper at a “price club” store, it was eaten up in the drive to the store in gas. When you calculate in the cost of gas and the driving time Aldi comes out on top if you have to drive out of your way to get to the other store. What Aldi doesn’t carry that I use, which isn’t much, I get at a local grocery store on my way home. By the way, I cook from scratch 99% of the time.

  11. I love Aldi! It’s amazing to see the price differences state to state, even at the same chain store. Avocados here in Texas are 29 cents most of the time at Aldi, a couple of weeks ago they were 15 cents each! I bought 50 and froze most of them. Also, the organic, grass-fed, ground beef is $3.99-4.99 a pound here now. I do love Costco as well, but I tend to buy non-grocery items there most of the time. I walk around the grocery aisles and never find anything that is a better buy than Aldi, or even my local Kroger store, when priced per unit.

  12. Kimberly in SoCal

    Aldi opened near me in March, but I never made it over there until late July. I am a total convert now! I prefer Aldi produce to Costco, and the prices are much lower on the produce as well. We do shop at Costco regularly (trying to get it down to once a month though, to save time). For us, the savings on frozen organic produce make the membership worth it (actually, we pay for Executive level and the cash back reward at the end of the year always covers the price of membership). We love Costco for bulk deals on beans and rice, as well. I would say we do 80% of our shopping at Aldi and Costco now, with the other 20% split between Trader Joe’s, a local health food store, and the conventional grocery store.

  13. We also have a local chain, Wegmans, like a Safeway out west. I buy stuff there too. I shop Aldi’s, Walmart, warehouse store (costco, sam’s, bj’s) and Wegmans.
    Also a bakery supply store and a healthfood store very ocassionally. Sometimes, Mennonite or Amish stores for bulk things too.
    Good Lord, it would be nice to just go t.h.e. store like everyone else. Sigh.

  14. I shop at both, but I keep a price list spreadsheet going so I can accurately compare prices. (And I throw Azure Standard into the mix too.) I don’t think I could say hands down that one is overall cheaper than the other. It’s pretty evenly split between our staples. I typically keep my shopping lists the same for each store until I notice the price for one of our staples goes up significantly, then I re-compare prices. But I’m a nerd like that. 🙂

    I prefer Aldi’s produce. It’s much better quality and prices (at least on what I buy). And since I go to Aldi more frequently, I can get it in smaller, fresher quantities.

    The switching up what they have at Costco drives me crazy. It leaves me scrambling to find a replacement or making an extra shopping trip elsewhere for ingredients I was counting on buying there. Grrr…but the great prices on what they do have and products unavailable elsewhere make it hard for me to permanently part ways.

  15. Beth @ Turn2theSimple

    We’ve had a Costco nearby for about 3 years now…and tour it and checked price points before getting a membership…it was a good deal for us. About a year ago we got an Aldi in the same town as our Costco…so now I shop at both places…each week! I usually spend around $100 total each week in groceries (with some months being a bit higher due to bulk purchases). While I’m not fond of two stops each week, it is worth it for us! As you said, the important thing is to know your price points and your food habits so you don’t end up throwing stuff away!

  16. I recently saw that Aldi had organic virgin coconut oil and it appeared to be cheaper than Costco. Is there a reason you wouldn’t buy OCC from Aldi? Just wondering if there is something that I don’t know. I haven’t tried it yet. I usually get coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, but sometimes it’s good to have a backup if I run out. My kids and I love the 90% dark chocolate bars! I don’t know if they have them all the time.

    1. Hi Laura,
      I only see 85% dark chocolate, but man, it is my FAV! I don’t buy coconut oil from either place simply because I have two great super-huge bulk sources and use those – I get from Trop Trad now but used to have such a deal from Soaper’s Choice. 🙂 Katie

  17. We price compare everything too. It’s a must! An Aldi’s opened up in Anaheim, CA and we go there sometimes. We take the bus so we have to be careful what we buy! The store is interesting, I like the concept, and we’ve gone back several times now. I did not see “organic” anywhere on the label of the Simply Nature Applesauce. I don’t buy non-organic apple anything at grocery stores, so that was disappointing. I prefer Costco for kerrygold butter, organic sugar (most of it goes to kombucha), and things like vinegar and baking soda for cleaning and laundry. I’m super leery of Costco produce though! It usually goes bad super quickly or it doesn’t taste good, so we’ve learned to avoid it. Only exception is for their big bags of organic carrots which we’ve never had issues with, they last a very long time.

  18. No Aldi’s near me on the west coast and boy are prices better where you are! 🙂 I do wonder about the frozen salmon though – where do the two different types come from? It really does matter – not only because so much seafood is mis-labeled/not inspected but because I wouldn’t want to eat fish from just anywhere. I wonder if the difference in price is because of origin? I saw on one other blog post that the Aldi salmon came from China – though I’m sure that changes with the season/batch. Worth also looking at though when comparing.

    1. Marcella,
      I had to run and check!! I know I always make sure I only buy wild salmon – which I thought always meant Alaska. Here’s what the package says:

      Certified Sustainable Seafood www.msc.org
      Wild caught in USA
      processed in China/product of China
      Catch method: seine, gill net
      Northwest Pacific

      So…that’s all really good except the processing location. I’m just hoping that’s not too terrible I guess!!! I wonder where exactly the “NW Pacific” is…

      Good questions!!!
      🙂 Katie

      1. I would think that if it’s msc certified that should be pretty reliable. If that’s on the label you should be ok. Gosh it seems like fingers always crossed though, right?

  19. Ya never know… i just found quinoa at Aldi’s for $2.50 a lb!! Thats like wow for the quinoa I find. And it was in pound pkgs. Nice to have another glutenfree grain besides rice, oats and buckwheat that I can actually afford. Altho its not real affordable — oats still win by a mile. (I only buy organic rice as its the most heavily sprayed food crop). And yes, NonGMO/organic corn we do use, but try to keep it to rare as corn’s got its own issues.

  20. I think its amazing how prices vary by region. I live in southern california and we are blessed to have year round growing seasons and farmers markets. Aldi recently opened in my area and I personally really disliked it. I found it impossible to shop there with small children. I’m sure those without children would have no problem but my experiences have been bad. The employees were rude and the cart system was unrealistic and unsafe. Trying to move kids from one cart to another at check out and then having to keep them in the cart while loading grocerys and then walk them back from the cart return is not family friendly. I’m fortunate that they do not have competitive prices for my area. We have a Sprouts near us that always has .50lb produce and many other great deals. As well as a costco, winco, and trader joes on the same street. I was very excited when aldi first opened because of hearing so many wonderful things. I think this post is a great example of regional differences. Its very important to do your research and get to know your stores! I think this post will really help alot of people!

    1. That’s really interesting, Alexa! I know that ALDI is opening a few hundred stores on the West coast in the next few years, but I wonder if they’ll have too much competition! I’ve always been able to keep my babies in the same cart and just slide it around to the end, and my preschooler loves doing the quarter thing. I park close to the store so I don’t have to go far from the van to return the cart – but that’s all been a matter of experience to be sure. Thanks for sharing, and goodness, I’m sorry the employees were rude, shoot! Katie

      1. I’ve heard alot of wonderful stories about aldi, so I think my experiences must be unique. But the 2 stores near me do not allow you to swap the carts. You must move to the next. They also start loading your cart with the next persons grocerys regardless if you are finished moving your things. In my case, my daughter was still in the seat (she of course unloaded my purse on her lap) and the cashier started loading peanut butter and pasta into the seat next to her. As a paleo family, she could have been hurt if she had chosen to get into it. We did call the district office to report the incident and were suprised that they simply said they would talk to the employee and offered no incentive for us to shop there again. I think their biggest issue in california will be store experience. People here dont have to pay more for the conveniences of a full service grocery store.

    2. Aldi’s is no better than Winco, ShopNKart or another 1 I think is called Grocery Outlet.
      Moving kids from cart to cart IS crazy. I just move the empty cart at the end of the register n park the just-emptied cart with my kid there. If the cashier is nice, I move the empty cart back. Otherwise I just walk away with mine. Generally Aldi’s ppl are nice but they are very busy as its a skeleton crew always. Not bad wages for a grocery store tho.
      Worse than moving kids tho…keeping a quarter to have for the carts!! That makes me nuuuuuttttts!

  21. I think the applesauce pictured is “natural” (no sugar added), not organic. I only recently noticed this. My Aldi has an organic sticker on the shelf tag, but I couldn’t find that designation anywhere on the product label. Thanks for the great comparison!

  22. I haven’t been to Aldi’s yet, but I have read about their reputation. They are a recent arrival in my area. I have other shopping options, like: Smart and Final, Sprouts, Grocery Outlet and WinCo. I have my shopping lists for each store. Grocery Outlet is a place for opportunistic shopping. Half of the store, you never know if that item will be there next time. The other half is pretty stable. It’s my place to stop by on my way home from work to pick up milk, bread and eggs; and whatever else is a good price that day, if we need it…

    We have been shopping Costco since it first started as Price Club in San Diego over 35 years ago!

    I totally agree about produce! There are so many variables! Like where did it come from? organic? Looks good? Fresh? And price…

    You are also right about the inventory at Costco! Some stores have this and other stores have that. Our store has frozen hamburger in the one pound chubs, chicken breasts or thighs at a very good price! I agree on the peanut butter! One pound jars are not enough for my family! We have seven adult appetites in my house! The deli cheeses that come sliced are a good deal.

    Distance from the store is another determiner of what will work best. It depends on my errands what store I will shop. Of course, that also depends on how much money I have too. I hope to stop by an Aldi’s when I have grocery money! Then I can see for myself!

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