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25 Reasons REAL Real Foodies Should Shop at ALDI

25 Reasons Real Foodies Shop at Aldi

It’s official.

I’m actually a SuperFan of something.

From a gal who watched every Spartan home basketball game in person during her 4 years at Michigan State but spent most of the time crowd watching and asking, “What happened?” and who now could care less about them; a gal who has no brand loyalty or fashion sense of any kind; one who would leave her mother’s favorite JIF peanut butter and Aim toothpaste for the inexpensive store brand in a hot second…this is big news.

I’ve written recently about how I’m making an intentional, dedicated effort this year to cut our food budget, and one of the steps I took was to go back to ALDI after some years without shopping there often. I did some price comparisons and some aisle by aisle inspection of everything they had, and, well…

I’m now a weekly ALDI shopper.

I’ve mentioned happy things about my shopping trips there on social media, and it’s always met with mixed reactions, from skepticism to fandom:

  • “You shop at ALDI? I didn’t think there would be anything there for you…”
  • “I love ALDI!!!!!”

I guess ALDI must have caught wind of my new interest, because they invited me to participate in a blogger visit to their corporate office and Test Kitchen, and let’s just say they did an incredible job.

I’m totally an ALDI SuperFan now.

And it must run in the family, because I joked with my mother-in-law that they had a picture of her on their wall with “Best Michigan Customer Ever” beneath it. She could practically play a recorded voice of herself answering the question, “This is good, where did you get it?”

The answer? Always “ALDI.”

I think she was pretty jealous that I got to go to ALDI and she had to stay home with my kids! But I brought some goodies back to share, don’t worry.

Katie at the ALDI blogger event

Can You Buy My Opinion?

I often add a little personality to my required disclosures at the bottom of sponsored posts and giveaways with something like this:

This post is sponsored by [company name] and I received products at no charge for my review, but my opinions are my own. Wild horses couldn’t drag anything dishonest or inflated out of me, and I wouldn’t let money change my stubborn mind.

So rest assured that while ALDI did sponsor this post, my high regard for their products and mission is 100% genuine.

I’m here to dispel the doubt and scatter the skeptics today –

Yes, Real Foodie, You CAN Shop at ALDI!

Let me count the reasons why:

25 Reasons Real Foodies Should Shop at Aldi

1. Affordable Basics

Real foodies make a LOT from scratch, but that doesn’t mean we don’t shop anywhere but farms. I can only get meat, milk and produce direct from farmers, and for most of the year in Michigan, produce isn’t really a fresh option. I still need plenty of supplies to make all my homemade stuff, and ALDI delivers with the best prices on most staples like dry and canned beans, tomatoes, and applesauce; white and brown rice; spices, mustard, sour cream, pickles, and more.

Plus, real foodies can’t make everything they eat from scratch. We did a blind side-by-side taste test at the ALDI Test Kitchen, and the ALDI tortilla chips were definitely better than the national brand – Tostito’s. The cost savings is intense, with Tostito’s averaging well over $3 a bag and ALDI chips at only $1.19. They’re not organic, but they DO carry organic tortilla chips (blue ones!). I’m sold!

2. High Turnover = Fresh Foods

ALDI fresh produce only what has the highest turnover so it is always high quality

One of the ways ALDI streamlines their whole system to keep consumer prices down is by only carrying items that have a high turnover rate. They simply will never stock something that a person would only buy once a year. It takes too much shelf space. Every single item in their store sells well in high volumes.

This means they are constantly moving items out which is good for business and the bottom line (which is passed on to you with lower prices) but the added bonus is that all their products, produce included, should be really fresh. It’s never sitting there forever waiting to be taken to the reduced produce rack.

ALDI has the best prices in my area on mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes, bananas, green onion, radishes, celery, cilantro, avocados, and most fruits, especially when they’re in season. Those are the items I buy regularly at ALDI and can’t live without in my real food kitchen!

3. No Synthetic Colors

This one is really rare and so exciting!

The “ALDI Fresh Commitment” means that all ALDI-exclusive brands (which is by far most of their store’s stock) will have NO synthetic colors at all. What a joy for parents of kids who are sensitive to artificial food dyes!!! I noticed the shift in my store inspection last spring when I read the pickle jar – you should have seen my eyebrows hit the ceiling when I realized I had discovered the first shelf-stable jar of pickles without yellow no. 5 that wasn’t a deluxe, high-end expensive brand.

Score for families!!

4. No Added MSGs

Part two of the new commitment is to kick MSGs to the curb, another huge win for children.

MSG sneaks into all sorts of things, even those marketed for kids like fish crackers, and it’s really really common in anything that’s supposed to be spicy and flavorful, like ranch dressing, seasoned chips, and spiced nuts.

There are still ingredients that may react like MSG in one’s body, so you should be familiar with the list, but there’s more good news about how to avoid those further down this post.

5. No Trans Fats

The last feature of the ALDI Fresh Commitment is no partially hydrogenated oils. The federal government is banning those all together, but they’re much more slow moving on their requirements. ALDI is ahead of the game and is doing their best to replace those ingredients with better, whole food options.

6. Organic Produce

ALDI organic produce section

ALDI carries select organic produce, like greens, bananas, carrots, grape tomatoes, apples and more (varies slightly by location). It can’t replace your health food store or organic farmer for variety, but that’s exactly the point: ALDI only carries products that have a high turnover so it’s always fresher – and less expensive.

7. SimplyNature Brand

ALDI Simply Nature organic vanilla whole milk yogurt

This ALDI exclusive brand is mostly organic but almost more importantly, it comes with a guarantee NOT to include 125 processed ingredients.

The list includes tons of those “I can’t pronounce them and don’t know what they are” preservatives, thickeners and flavor enhancers, including some that I definitely recognize and rejoice in avoiding:

  • Most (all?) artificial sweeteners including Nutrasweet (aspartame) and Sucralose, two that seem to be everywhere
  • MSG
  • Parabens
  • Potassium benzote and potassium sorbate, another pair I see everywhere
  • Sulfites
  • Nitrates/nitrites
  • Shortening and margarine
  • SLS
  • TBHQ and BHA/BHT, preservatives that are really hard to avoid
  • Irradiated foods
  • Bromated flour and Brominated vegetable oil, sure marks of food processing
  • Vanillin, synthetic vanilla flavoring that many react to
  • And get ready to rejoice: High fructose corn syrup
  • More here. (Link no longer available)

This is where the good news about MSG comes back, because some of the 125 banned ingredients are those that react like MSG, such as autolyzed yeast extract.

About the only item I can think of that I really really want to see more of on that list is soy. Soybean oil in particular and processed products made from soy. BUT it’s 125 steps in the right direction, and I applaud them! This is a commitment I rarely see anywhere else.

8. Soy Free Potential

When I asked readers what they wanted to see at ALDI, the number one response was no soy.

ALDI doesn’t have an entire soy-free line, but the great news is that on their SimplyNature and liveGfree product lines, allergens are very clearly marked on the package:

ALDI gluten free and soy free mixes

LOTS of the liveGfree products also are soy free!

9. Gluten-Free Options Galore

This is where ALDI is really setting themselves apart from other “discount” grocery stores. They introduced some gluten-free products as “Special Buys” which are limited time only, and the customer response was so overwhelming that they made those products permanent items and have been adding more and more over the past few years.

ALDI live Gfree line of gluten free products at less expensive prices

The liveGfree line now has over 30 different products with lots of flavor variations, and a great many of them are also lactose-free and soy-free. The ingredients are refreshingly simple in my opinion. They are also very good at clearly marking their naturally gluten-free products outside of liveGfree, like broth, rice cakes, chips, etc.

10. Non-GMO Project Certified Products

Genetically modified foods are a big conversation in our current culture, with labeling laws coming up for votes in many states. GMO foods do not have to be labeled in most states, but ALDI is proud to have quite a few products certified by the non-GMO Project and more in the process of being certified.

Those are clearly labeled, and also, ALDI is amazing at responding to customer requests (it’s how they know they’ll have products with high turnover!) so the more people who comment on Facebook and send messages to their customer service requesting non-GMO foods and labeling, the more likely we are to see it happen, just like the gluten-free foods.

11. Fair Trade Coffee

ALDI Simply Nature organic fair trade coffee

I didn’t expect to see fair trade coffee at a small store with low prices, but there it was.

‘Nuf said.

12. Sustainable Chocolate

ALDI chocolates to make into holiday baskets

It gets better.

I’m not a coffee person actually, but I am a huuuuuuge chocolate person. I hadn’t even looked at ALDI chocolates in the past, to be honest, because I didn’t quite have the right impression of their quality in my head. Turns out that many of their chocolates are UTZ Certified, which means they “are supporting sustainable, socially responsible and environmentally friendly cocoa farming.”

They are also supporting my blog writing, since I copied that from the bar that has been sitting by my desk all week, ahem. Winking smile

13. 85% Dark Chocolate

This may seem like I’m repeating myself, but believe me – this one deserves its own topic.

It’s all well and good to have well-sourced chocolate, but if it doesn’t have a great mouthfeel and taste, forget it.

I’ve tried a lot of brands of fancy dark chocolate over the past few years, expensive stuff mostly. In fact, to support our church’s building fund, I am giving up buying dark chocolate for myself for 3 years and giving the money to the church (although I may have used my free Vitacost referral credit on bars of chocolate!!!).

Can I just tell you how thrilled I am that ALDI gave me some chocolate while I was there – 85% dark, that’s the really, really, good stuff and can be so bitter that it’s not even enjoyable – and it’s probably the creamiest, best 85% dark I’ve had???

I am just disappointed I only got one bar! I think I know what I’ll ask for from my mother-in-law for Christmas, and she’ll know right where to buy it. Smile

ALDI chocolate and goodies holiday gift basket

(I’m sorry to say it’s not soy-free chocolate – but keep asking and maybe they’ll get some!!)

14. Simple Ingredients

I’m an obsessive label reader, and I know clean ingredients when I see them. I have been pleasantly surprised time and again to find simple, whole food ingredients on many ALDI brand products:

  • Friendly Farms is the only brand of sour cream I’ll buy other than Daisy (which is pricey) – it doesn’t have random corn-based fillers like all the others.
  • Their pesto has olive oil instead of vegetable oil and looks pretty much like what I make homemade.
  • Their gluten-free cereals were a very nice surprise – lightly sweetened with natural sweeteners, no preservatives, and simple whole grains. My kids get cereal every Friday, and I love spending under $3/box instead of over $5 for health food store cereal!

15. Fancy Meats and Cheeses

At the ALDI Test Kitchen I got to taste a whole bunch of their Specially Selected private label – the sleek, attractive black packaging that I usually pass by because they’re not my staples.

Um.

Yeah.

So I’m totally bringing meat and cheese appetizer trays for every social function from now on!

ALDI meat and cheese holiday party platters

So easy, so delicious, and with their simple ingredients and low prices for high-class foods, I’m smitten. I got to try blueberry goat cheese, fig spread, brie and plum jelly, fancy olives, prosciutto and other meats, and so much more.

Way. Beyond. Expectations.

ALDI meat cheese olives and spreads holiday party platters

If you haven’t been to ALDI lately and you’re a cheese fan, I challenge you to try them. In the blind taste test, the ALDI havarti kicked butt over the national brand, which was way too salty – and almost double the price.

16. Gluten-Free Beer

ALDI gluten free hard cider

I hear their hard apple cider is not only less expensive than most, but delicious. On my list for the next trip!

17. Hormone Free Milk

If you don’t have access to raw milk or can’t afford organic milk (which ALDI also does carry), at least you can get inexpensive milk sourced from cows not treated with rBST. It’s a start!

18. Grass-fed Ground Beef

No compromise here – ALDI organic, grass-fed ground beef is only $6.99/pound, and it cooks up awesome. We used it in our Kids Cook Real Food eCourse (and quite a few other ALDI products have cameos in the videos, including the sour cream, blocks of cheese, and rice).

I was taking photos for this post and was told that I wasn’t allowed to take any photos in the store (oops!!!), and I was so thankful the store manager didn’t make me delete the ones I had already taken since shopping with two kids is hard enough already…I hadn’t gotten to the meat section yet, so this photo is TOTAL contraband that I snuck when I wasn’t supposed to!!!

ALDI Simply Nature Organic grassfed ground beef

(And then of course on the official ALDI store tour I could take pictures of anything I wanted, duh. I was trying to be well prepared!)

19. Better Greek Yogurt

One of the side-by-side taste tests was strawberry Greek yogurt vs. Chobani brand. I was sure the ALDI brand would end up being the one that was less thick, sickeningly sweet and a bit gritty with starch – but I was very pleasantly surprised to be wrong!

ALDI Test Kitchen side by side taste test Greek yogurt vs Chobani

(Of course I prefer to make a gallon of my easy homemade yogurt every week at home, but sometimes it’s nice to grab a carton at the store. ALDI recently added organic yogurt!)

20. Sustainable Salmon

I buy all my frozen and canned salmon at ALDI, because it’s all wild Alaskan and far better prices than anywhere else. I think some of their salmon is Atlantic/farmed, and I haven’t really checked other seafood because we don’t buy it, but it’s their policy to stock sustainable seafood – another breath of fresh air that I definitely don’t see everywhere!!

21. Conservation Focus

Many real foodies care about their earth deeply, and I’m impressed and humbled that ALDI commits to recycling 100% of their cardboard boxes. Plus the smaller, energy-saving stores and recycled bags and cartons capture the very essence of conservation.

ALDI reusable bags its all about saving green

They don’t even offer icky plastic grocery bags as the free default, which both saves the earth and your nickel! (You can buy paper or plastic bags there if you don’t bring your own, but they are very thick and good for reusing too.)

22. Canned Pumpkin…

…for my healthy pumpkin pie recipe this time of year. I actually prefer to roast my own pumpkins, but if you can’t do that in your area, it’s awesome to know you can get the canned pumpkin for less when you need it! The baking section is pretty robust and they’re adding more spices (at 99c a bottle usually!) all the time. Yay!

ALDI canned pumpkin seasonal item

23. Generous Employee Policies

You might expect a discount company to cut corners on employee benefits and wages (I’m looking at you, store with a W!), but ALDI is the opposite. Their employees enjoy ergonomically correct chairs at checkout and full benefits and 401(k) at only 25 hours a week. If you know a single mom who needs a job, tell them to find an ALDI!

24. Lower Prices and an Efficiency Mindset

Real food (all food!) is expensive enough and only getting worse these days. There’s no need to spend more money when you don’t have to.

ALDI has truly focused on streamlining everything about the company, from shelf-ready packaging to barcodes on all four sides of each product (have you seen how FAST you can check out there??? A total bonus for busy moms juggling cranky children!!!), from setting up the warehouse in the same layout as the stores so everything is delivered in aisle-ready order to including two flavors in one box to save shelf space.

Their prices are low, but it’s not because their quality is compromised. In fact, the opposite is true:

25. Commitment to Being the Best

The ALDI Test Kitchen does extensive blind taste tests on every product at least twice a year. Their goal is to be the same or better than the national brands, and based on my experience, they are very, very successful at that goal. (The only product I felt that missed was their orange juice, which I don’t really buy anyway because it’s a non-essential.)

ALDI Test Kitchen side by side taste testing of 6 products

Yes…a Real Foodie Really Can Shop at ALDI

Real foodies have trouble finding coupons and rarely can get a deal on food, but ALDI makes it possible to buy well-sourced, delicious food at actual discount prices.

**Insert sigh of relief here**

I shopped at ALDI for quite a while before I got to visit them, and in fact the cast of six children for the Kids Cook Real Food eCourse was fueled off-camera by a plethora of ALDI products, from the SimplyNature veggie chips, nut bars, squeeze fruit pouches and trail mix to the liveGfree crackers and bread. My eCourse budget thanks ALDI for helping the bottom line, and my kids thank ALDI for all that fun food for four days of filming!!!

Kids Cook Real Food cast shot at the counter
I want to hear from you – do you shop ALDI? What do you love there? And if you don’t…what’s holding you back?

This post was sponsored by ALDI and I did receive a trip to their corporate headquarters. But I think you know what I’m going to say about wild horses and stuff…and even chocolate and wine can’t buy my opinion (although admittedly it might come close). Winking smile

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

93 thoughts on “25 Reasons REAL Real Foodies Should Shop at ALDI”

  1. I used to shop at Aldi for their produce prices, but when I changed jobs, the location was no longer convenient. Looks like a lot has changed over the last few years since I’ve been. A new one just recently opened nearby, so I’m going to have to check it out.

  2. Katie, I love shopping at Aldi. There can salmon is a great buy but I haven’t found the frozen salmon you are talking about. could you post a pic so I could see the pkg you are buying. thanks debra

  3. I shop at Aldi almost every week here in Florida. So far most of their store brands have held up against national brands. Only possible problem (which may’ve only been with the one bag I got) is with their version of Doritos Cool Ranch. The spices weren’t even close to evenly spread out–we’d get one chip with a lot of spice and a lot more with none. Their other chips have held up reasonably well.
    I personally am not so much into the organics and such, but I do love their prices. Produce is hit-and-miss here, but they’ve the best prices I’ve found on dairy products and ground meat. I usually get condiments, breads, dairy, and boxed and canned goods there. Only dairy I regularly don’t get there is American cheese–we go through a LOT of that, so that’s for Sam’s Club. Aldi’s pet products seem pretty good too. And their brand of boxed flavored potato flakes is, in my opinion, far better than bagged Idaho potato flakes.

  4. I like Aldi too! I love their produce and all of their spices are top notch. My favorite items to buy are the milk, eggs, and snack foods. These can be so pricey at other stores.
    If anyone hasn’t tried the turkey tenderloins, you should. They are delicious. One disagreement I have with is the ground beef. I do not like the way it cooks up. It could be the way they grind it, but it will NOT crumble. It stays long and stringy and it’s just not appealing when I look at it all cooked up.

  5. I really like Aldi but at the only one close to me, I have never seen more than one cashier on duty. There are plenty of registers but not people. This makes the line forever long even though they try to move quickly. I understand they are trying to be thrifty but that’s a big sacrifice in time for a working mom.

    1. Sorry to hear that, Julie! Generally whenever my store has a long line they pull another cashier up from the back. They do keep a lean crew on to keep costs down, but they are all trained in all areas of the store. Hopefully they sort that out soon!

  6. We JUST got an Aldie and I LOVE it! I hope they will put the country of origin of their meant on the pkgs. And did you know you can get some AWESOME prices on marked down meat! Just have to be there early to get them!

  7. Cheryll Schmidt

    Aldi is always my first stop! Love their cheese, grass fed ground beef, crackers, chicken broth, dried fruit, spices, and so much more! The produce is not always the best, but I get whatever I can there. I have noticed a lot more products added in the last year!

  8. I have loved Aldi since I first shopped there. I know my grocery prices and they beet them all! This was a great review, gives me even more reason to keep shopping there 🙂

  9. I’ve shopped at Aldi for several year. I was thrilled when they introduced their GF line having just changed my child’s diet. My only disagreement is with the organic ground beef. It comes from 2 different foreign countries and I thought it cooked up terribly. But, I’m used to using my husband’s deer he gets from the backyard, so I might be a bit of a meat snob. 😉 I really loved this article. I’ve never read you blog before, but enjoyed it.

      1. I’ve since learned that New Zealand treats their cows better than about anywhere in the world. So maybe it’s not so bad. But I still prefer my farm beef and backyard deer. And I’m super jealous there was organic celery in you picture because my Aldi doesn’t have that…yet. 🙂

  10. Thank you for doing all this research and posting. We just got an Aldi’s in Nashua NH. Can’t wait to shop there. I used to go years ago with my friend in Missouri. I have waited 20 years for them to show up on New England! Whoo hoo! They are here!

  11. Don’t get me wrong, I love aldis and do about 3/4 of my weekly shopping there, however, I did find it interesting you said that their dairy products didn’t have fillers and thickeners. I actually stopped buying their low fat plain yogurt and low fat sour cream because the list of ingredients on the side of such a simple product is shameful. I can buy walmart’s brand of the same product at a similar price and there are about 3 to 5 ingredients listed.

    I will never disown aldis but I have been more cognizant of looking at ingredients on products even if it is one I’ve bought there for a long time. Paying an extra 50 cents to a dollar more so worth not having fillers in my food.

    1. Cindy,

      Thanks for the reminder to read every label, every time. I have the full fat sour cream and the nonfat plain Greek yogurt in my fridge right now from Aldi – and they are definitely clean ingredients. Proof that every product is different so we shouldn’t be so broad in our descriptions, I guess! I also believe that products can differ by region. I know that their almond milk, for example, is different in different regions. Some contain carageenan while others don’t.

  12. My family’s food lifestyle is similar to yours. I grow most of our veggies and fruits that we eat. I also can, freeze, and dry the surplus in addition to being able to gift some when harvests get crazy (this year’s apples and pears to name a few). My beef and pork are local, as we’ll as lamb, eggs, and minimally pasteurized milk (when I have time to get it). My kids are in their 20s, have left the nest but still depend on me for fresh produce which gives them a reason to visit more and gives me reason to grow like mad!

    After living in the burbs for twenty years, we moved to a smallish (pop. 13,000) agricultural town five years ago. Said town has a nice Aldis. I had heard about Aldis (and had even been in one years ago), but was not impressed. I then decided to give it a go after some expat friends (hubs is English) recommended it. I LOVE the place especially the ……

    Organic pastas, sauces, ketchup, chips and popcorn
    Skinny margarita pouches
    Everyday chocolate and Christmas marzipan, truffles, covered cherries
    Pie crust
    Spices
    Cheeses
    Yogurt
    Cream cheese
    Prosciutto
    Hard salami
    Special buys, etc.

    I know I missed a lot, but you get the idea. I’ve also converted many of my foodie friends into Aldi shoppers.

  13. Julie Knisely

    How do I put the words out to everyone…… I LOVE ALDI !!!! You have saved my family on our living for sure….we have a fmaily of five & always lots of tummies to fill through the week. The prices in the store are fabulous, outstanding quality, with sooooo many healthy foods to chose from. We get truly excited to go shopping for groceries now. I love it. The money we have not spent ….& ALL the food we get for such a great price. Sometimes we often need two carts —– Again, we love it.

  14. I find myself doing more and more of my weekly shopping at Aldis and less at my local supermarket. I’ve never been disappointed with any of their products, and yes, their produce is always very fresh and affordable. I’ve even convinced my daughter and sister to start shopping there.
    Whatever it is you’re doing Aldis, keep it up. You’ve made this family healthy and happy.

  15. We love the hummus (really creamy with no additives) and the nice selection of imported cheeses. I’ve had very good luck in the produce department, although the organic selection at our store is small. If you haven’t tried Aldi’s lately, give it another go. You will be pleasantly surprised by the prices and selection.

  16. We just had an Aldi’s open in our area last year and I have been thrilled to see the fresh organic and gluten free options offered. Our favorite by far has been the grass-fed beef, but I am also a fan of their cheeses. We recently switched over to a large grocery chain due to our favorites being out of stock for a while, and experienced major sticker shock at checkout. Thankfully everything was back to normal at our Aldi’s for the holidays and we walked out with a buggy full of staples, meats, cheeses, and bags of organic produce for around $200 for our family of four. I even found a 10 lb bag of potatoes for $1.99.

  17. I love Aldi! I still shot at Kroger too because of some items not available at Aldi but I much prefer Aldi for all the reasons you’ve listed. Some I wasn’t aware of yet. Thanks for the informative post,

  18. Good to hear that Aldi is keeping up with the times, but I’d never shop there. I used to go often as a poor grad student in Michigan, and their food was the opposite of fresh. One summer when I traveled, came back home to find that Aldi grains/flours were infested with bugs (similar stuff from Meijer was fine). I never shopped there again.

    Also, when prices are too good to be true my radar is up. For eg., I recently discovered that the cheap GF brown rice pasta from Trader Joes tops the charts for arsenic content. I’m not saying Aldi’s commitment to real food is fake, but I’d be extra cautious.

    1. Caution is always warranted when dealing with a big company, Elda, so I don’t fault you at all for that.

      As someone who had a pantry moth infestation (before I shopped at Aldi) I can say that even great stores can have infested products, so that’s not a sure sign of poor quality IMO.

      They explained on our tour all the ways they keep prices down, some of which I included in this post but some I didn’t. They’re super intentional about it, and many of their products are sourced pretty doggone well…so I’m far less suspicious of inexpensive prices now that it’s all been explained to me. They’ve been reinvented since I shopped there in college! 🙂 Katie

    2. Suzie Homemaker

      Agreed. Second time in aldi’s , first time was years before getting canned goods with stones and plastic in them, then seeing all the veggies and fruit covered in mold. Have gone In with others. Eaten their food. By far even walmart h as s better tasting food. I have as always said to the aldi’s mins…. you get what you pay for. Stores like aldi’s and dollar general and save alot are getting what’s left after the good companies fill their packages. Or what they reject because of issues like you sited.

  19. I shop at Aldi sometimes but my concerns about the grassfed beef is that it is sourced from animals in another country- somewhere South American if I remember correctly. I’m not so sure I’m comfortable with that. What are your thoughts. My produce section is also extremely hit and miss. And I wish they would remove carrageenan from their almond milk but I guess you can’t have it all. 🙂

    1. Hi Sara,
      I think the grassfed beef is sourced from the US and other countries. I’ve noticed that’s REALLY common for beef, like if you get liver capsules or gelatin as a supplement. I think it’s just easier to find farmers doing it right in Argentina or Europe without charging an arm and a leg for grassfed. So I’m kind of used to seeing that and I’m not incredibly worried about it – although I don’t love that my food has to travel so far, environmentally speaking.
      🙂 Katie

    2. I am very skeptical of the grass-fed ground beef from Aldi and Costco? Both are labeled from Uruguay. I haven’t done any research on how this is done (large cuts shipped & ground here or ground & packaged there). Until I find out I’ll buy mine on sale elsewhere.

  20. I LOVE Aldi!! I can stock up on all the essentials and still have some money left over for other things. It is awesome! My family has really enjoyed the variety and options available and I love that I am seeing more and more organic fruits and vegetables there. There isn’t much I can’t find there and it has been a budget saver for sure!

    On a side note…I love the chocolate! So dang yummy! I am going to have to try the hard apple cider beer….I’ve had some of the wine and was pleasantly surprised…tasted pretty darn good.

    Thanks for doing this post…it was a great and fun read and I especially love good articles talking about inexpensive high quality food! Great job!

  21. My go to’s every aldi trip: squeeze apple sauce, GF pizza crust, baby wipes (they are thick and perfect dampness), organic apples, cauliflower (typically 20-25% cheaper than the other store and more actual cauliflower on the head), take & bake pizza, almond milk, goat cheese, organic basil tomato sauce, gf noodles and coconut oil.

    I’ve been shopping regularly at Aldi for almost two years and seen vast improvements. It’s to the point that if we are traveling, I prefer to stop there over another store i don’t know 🙂

  22. An Aldi just opened in my neighborhood today! After reading this I will go check it out. Thanks Katie!!

  23. I love Aldi and couldn’t make a real food budget work without it. I particularly like their prices on in season winter squash right now, it’s super cheap. I like that they bring in seasonal produce and make it affordable. Our other alternative store around here is Walmart, which has great stores in this area, but I’d be spending double there to get all the ingredients I need to cook from scratch or have minimally processed foods.
    Things I have liked recently that are nice products to pick up for convenience with ‘clean’ ingredients have been chicken sausage and organic salsa.
    I do have to get elsewhere my whole milk full fat yogurt. I just can’t get my homemade nice and thick! And the organic full fat at Aldi is sweetened which I don’t like. I could probably make a weeks worth of good meals with everything else available there though.
    And I do like to splurge on their treats! Australian soft strawberry liquorice anyone?! Amazing!

    1. I wish they had full-fat, plain Greek yogurt. All the other dairy we consume is full-fat, but I do buy the 0% Greek because the sugar in the organic full-fat vanilla is not good. And yes, I love the treats they have, especially this time of year! 😉

  24. I like Aldi for a lot of things but their produce section in my store (Regopark NY) is terrible… I almost never buy produce there as it is hardly every fresh, and I mean it’s really bad most of the time… I read on so many blogs that they have great fruits and veggies so I always check the section with the hope that I’ll find something fresh because prices are really good, but always leave it disappointed…

  25. That fair-trade coffee is in individual cups (K-cups) which I won’t use because they are so environmentally polluting and may have health risks–like anything involving heating plastic. Here’s how I’ve been saving on fair-trade coffee, but I’ll be interested to see whether Aldi has a good price on large bags of coffee beans.

    Now that Aldi has opened more stores in my area and I’m hearing raves about it from friends, I’ve been planning to give it another chance this winter. (During summer, we get almost all our produce from CSA farm share.) Thanks for the motivation!

    1. Hey Becca, You can tell I’m not a coffee drinker! I didn’t even notice it was the plastic cups – I feel the same way about heat and plastic. BUT I just doublechecked the regular ground coffee I got my husband in our cupboard, and it’s an ALDI exclusive “Barissimo” brand – fair trade. So that’s good! 🙂 Katie

  26. Love this post and I love Aldi! Just got some of their specialty cheeses for a light lunch on Thanksgiving for my family to enjoy before the big dinner and all of them were fantastic! I’ve been shopping at Aldi for about three years now but there were a couple things I didn’t know that you included in your post, thanks so much. 🙂

  27. So many great reasons to shop at ALDI! I’ve been shopping there for years and years and can say they definitely didn’t have this many options when I first started. It was so fun to meet you during the trip.

  28. I love Aldi’s, yet can’t get my stubborn husband to shop there! He has an issue with going to a discounted store (yet he will shop the internet for days to find a “good deal”. So, I bring home Aldi’s products…and just don’t tell him! I didn’t know the information in the article, just liked their products. You go, Aldi’s!!!!

  29. I am a regular Aldi shopper. Aldi is my first stop on shopping days mostly due to the great prices. It has definitely
    become more of a “one stop” store with all of the various sections. Thanks for your post, very informative. I love shopping at Aldi!

  30. I have been shopping at Aldi for about 30 years. It has defiantly gotten better over the years. I went there for the prices all those years ago and have continued whenever I have lived close enough to go. I really like that they are carrying so many good, healthy choices.

  31. Thanks for your blog post. I read the whole thing to my mom, and we were both getting more and more convinced to try Aldi as we read.

    I shared the article on FB, and a friend brought up a valid concern. She said that her impression with Aldi (as well as Trader Joe’s–are they owned by the same parent company any more?) is that they have been opaque in answering questions regarding sourcing of their products, making it difficult for anyone to check on whether their claims are truthful or not. Any thoughts? Have you found that their claims are backed up well?

    Thanks again, Tricia.

    1. Hi Tricia,
      How fun that KS became a “read aloud” 😉

      Trader Joe’s and ALDI actually have zero affiliation – that’s a pretty big urban myth though! I found the folks at ALDI central to be very open, and they sure seem like they listen to customer feedback intently. If you have a question on something, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask! Many of their products are certified by outside organizations (non-GMO Project is one example) so that’s definitely a start too. 🙂 Katie

      1. I don’t know how reliable you think the reporters at Time are but “Speaking of Aldi, which along with Trader Joe’s is owned by Germany’s Albrecht family,” http://business.time.com/2013/07/29/how-two-german-owned-sister-supermarket-brands-became-hot-trendsetters-in-the-u-s/
        Then of course there’s always Wikipedia….cough cough :>D

        1. Interesting Julie – the reps at ALDI corporate were very adamant that while two brothers both were founding members of TJs and ALDI, neither of them are owners (and I don’t think they are even involved at all anymore; they’re quite elderly). So there’s no passbacks of brands or products or anything. I would expect Time to be on top of things – and maybe in 2013 something was different? But again, ALDI corporate says there never was any actual affiliation. –Katie

      2. Thanks for taking the time to reply, Katie. I appreciate your feedback and will try asking them if I have any questions about their products.

  32. I shop at Aldi and love it- feeding family of 7 now. I will also attest to the fact that they treat (and pay) their employees well. My husband worked there for a couple years part time while building up his own business. He was paid well and even as a part time employee he received health insurance that paid for my toddler’s 2 brain surgeries and covered the birth of baby #4. Aldi has a special place in my heart! Excellent post, I’m excited to see the direction that they have been moving in! I totally get the comment about the pickles, that’s going to be on my next shopping list for sure!

  33. Are there any Aldi stores in Tucson? I used to shop at Aldi’s when I lived in Iowa and I liked the store. Any chance of getting some Aldi’s started here in Tucson?

    Thanks for a reply.

    Marj

  34. Ooooo. Thanks for the heads up. It’s been awhile since I’ve been inside Aldis. I haven’t had the best luck with produce from there, so it steered me away. But I’m curious to try another look now.

    Do you know what their return policy is? I like to frequent stores like Trader Joe’s and Costco who have generous return policies. Helps me be willing to try things.

    1. They have a double back guarantee, which is even better than Costco – return something – they give you another one for free and your money back. (You probably don’t have to take the free one of you don’t like it but for moldy produce it’s amazing!) We just recently did a no dairy, no grain, no starch challenge and bought almost everything at Aldi. The SimplyNature salsa is amazing. No additives, organic everything. The SimplyNature marinara is also delicious.

  35. You forgot to mention the “NeverAny!” line. I just got some bacon there with

    No nitrates
    No nitrites
    No antibiotics
    No hormones
    No msg
    No animal by products

    It is uncured and fantastic!

    I love Aldi, and the kids know NEVER touch the Aldi quarter in the ash tray of the car 🙂

      1. That’s funny, Lesa! I also forgot to mention along with others how fast it is. The kids and I always set a timer to see if we can get in and out in 15 minutes, and we’ve done it a couple times. We always get out in under 20 minutes though, including bagging our stuff (no plastic!! Love!). It helps that the cashiers are lightning fast!

  36. I love Aldi. I feel very grateful to have one just a mile from my house – right across the street from our local Kroger affiliate. I get what I can from Aldi, then head across the street to grab the rest of my list. Rarely do I find anything that Aldi doesn’t do better or at least as well as, taste-wise, as the name brand or Kroger brand, and Aldi prices can’t be beat.

  37. Thanks for this great info. The last town I lived in had an Aldi, and I went once, honestly without giving a thorough combing and left feeling pretty meh about it, and never went back. It’s helpful to know what’s good to look for in advance. I recently moved, and a quick google search showed that one is in the process of being built here now. Woohoo! Thanks, Katie!

  38. Hmm — you’ve got me tempted to give it another try — the key selling points being the grassfed organic beef and the 85% dark fair trade chocolate.

    A few years ago, I visited one close to me, and found it depressing as all get out. At the time, they didn’t have much that was organic, and practically everything I picked up had objectionable ingredients.

    Unfortunately, by law Maryland grocery stores can’t sell beer or wine, so I’ll have to just be jealous of that gluten-free beer.

    One thing I need to know is whether their organic milk is grass-fed, and just as important, is it pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized? One thing that really irks me about “regular” grocery stores is that although most of them now carry organic milk, they ruin it by ultra-pasteurizing it. BLECH! Two most vehement thumbs down to ultra-pasteurized anything.

    1. Hey Julie – I would love to hear what your impression of the store is now. I feel like ALDI has really reinvented itself well over the past few years, and as a company the effort is to make the stores seem brighter, higher ceilings, stuff like that, but still with the small floor plan and efficient systems. I admit I didn’t check on the milk very thoroughly because I’ve yet to find any grocery store milk that was grassfed OR not UHT, so I have given up. We are lucky enough to have a raw milk herd share here in MI.

      🙂 Katie

      1. I haven’t gotten a chance to get in there yet, but as for organic, grassfed milk that is just regular old pasteurized, in Maryland we have “Natural by Nature” (That makes me think of the band, Naughty by Nature, and I start think-singing “We down with OPP! Yeah, you know me! . . .”), Trickling Springs (A Pennsylvania brand), and Snowville Creamery, and Ohio brand.
        For the Weston A. Pricey set, the Snowville Creamery and Trickling Springs also offer not homogenized milk as well. In Maryland, it is completely illegal to sell raw milk, even directly on the farm.
        People get raw milk for their PETS, though, and I HEAR the pets think it is deeeelicious. 😉

        1. This comment was awesome,my husband has a lyric to almost everything. I giggled lol. I’m glad I’m also not the only one who think-sings!

  39. Sheila Streicher

    Hmmm…I’m going to have to reevaluate. When I went there a couple months ago I wasn’t impressed at all. Glad to hear all they’re committed to.

  40. I was skeptical when Aldi was hailed so highly at the local Dave Ramsey class that I went to. I decided to give it a try when I was told that they would have organic food available. I now visit every week. It’s next door to where my daughter takes her guitar lesson, so I can sneak an extra errand into a bonus time. Because they offer fewer options, I can get in and out of the store in 20 to 25 minutes a week. We buy produce, produce, and more produce, along with organic and non-GM foods and grass-fed beef.

    Part of the reason why I enjoy shopping at Aldi is because the employees seem to enjoy working there.

    The two best pieces of advice I got before going to Aldi was 1) bring a quarter for the carts and 2) bring cash or a debit card, since they don’t accept credit cards and checks.

    1. Yes! Those bits of advice are golden because it certainly makes ALDI different – and I agree, I love how quick it is. I went to a big box store today and while I could get some things I needed, like labels for postage and socks, MAN did it take forever! Back to ALDI for the next month!! 🙂 Katie

  41. I stopped shopping at Aldi when we became a real food family. About six months ago, I stopped in with a friend and was pleasantly surprised to find plenty more natural options.

    While I ultimately prefer organic, if a product with a low price has a non-GMO certification and a clean ingredient list, it will end up in my cart!

  42. I have never heard of ALDI’s! I’m a fan of them now and I can’t even go to one-there are currently none in ND! That would be an amazing store to shop at. I currently shop at 3, sometimes 4 stores when I grocery shopping once every two weeks! I’m forwarding your article to my family and friends who can shop at one!
    Thanks for a great and thorough article as always Katie!

  43. I LOVE ALDI! I don’t get everything there, but I depend on them for a lot of things. The specialty selected applewood smoked bacon is really good, though I wish they’d bring back the nitrate free variety. Other favorites include wild Alaskan smoked salmon, soppresatta, naan bread, brioche buns, basmati rice, pita chips, butter cookies, fancy mustards, organic salads, specialty cheeses, chocolates. I could go on and on!

      1. The nitrite free bacon is a regular here in the midwest/Chicago area. It’s about $5 for a 12oz package. The naan bread is wonderful but at $3.29 for a package of 4, it’s a bit out of the budget. Every once in a while, they will mark the naan down to $0.99 because of the dates on the package….I buy every package they have and pop them in the freezer for quick toaster oven pizzas for lunch!
        Their picante sauce and fajita mix are both really good as well….usually a special buy and I snap them up when they get marked down.
        Oh and the ‘natural peanut butter’ is really good, low sugar and low sodium…I haven’t tried the organic yet.
        No one mentioned their oat bran bread. No HFCS and at $1.39 a loaf, even if it’s not the best, it’s far better than any other bread at that price. ;>)

  44. The closest Aldi’s is about 30-45 minutes away, so I don’t get to go there that often, but I do enjoy it when I go. We are a family of 5 with two teenage young men, and we homeschool, so saving money is huge around here. Hubs was raised rather ‘brand-conscious, but even he can see the benefit of having 3 meals with Aldi store brands i/o 1 with national brands.

      1. You might want to read the label on the blue corn tortilla chips. Last time I looked, the corn is organic, but they are fried in vegetable oil, which would probably be GMO soybean.

  45. Lynne Calender

    Thanks so much for this post, I thought ALDI was only canned and boxed goods, this is awesome!

    Blessings on your holidays!

  46. Agree totally about Aldi. Love all of their SimplyNature brand products and thankful they are adding more. Wish they would bring back the organic canned black beans, kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste and the spices. Those were special buys recently that I hope they will make permanent. Love the organic pasta and sauces and produce that is available. Wish we had cilantro available at our store.

    1. LouRae,
      I’ve found that ALDI is super receptive to comments, so I would absolutely approach the store manager about the cilantro and write to corporate via email or their Facebook page about the organic canned goods and spices. I didn’t realize those were special buys! I totally bought the canned beans. I’ll have to write in that comment myself. 🙂 Katie

  47. ive never gotten produce from aldis in western ny (ive shopped at prob 10 aldis) that wasnt old n needs to be used in 2, maybe 3 days tops. i rly dont buy their produce. ive never seen organic produce at an aldis.
    their chunk cheeses all taste the same, no taste bland. i rly dont buy cheese there.
    their eggs, butter and milk are always cheaper than anywhere.
    their chocolate is phenomenal.
    their chips are all better than namebrand.
    they have great buys on nongroceries like toys, kitchen items, seasonal stuff.
    aldis is nice for some stuff but i wish they would store their produce better so it had more shelf life. its needs to be kept cool till time of purchase.
    americans dont eat much produce tho…

    1. Helene,
      We usually get cheese at Costco because we go through SO much of it, but if you’ve never tried that Specially Selected havarti, it was really something. Have you been there recently? From what I understood, all their stores should have more organic options now, but they do differ slightly from state to state. I’m sorry to hear that the produce wasn’t fresh! I am thinking that should be improving too with the commitment to high turnover foods, but again, every store will be different.

      Thanks for chiming in! 🙂 Katie

      1. I live in the buffalo, my area and love Aldis. I have never had a problem with produce. They also have a huge selection of organic and gluten free items. I am a weekly aldi shopper. One complaint is that they seem to run out if hamburger rolls frequently.

      2. When ever I have shopped at Aldi, someone is restocking, and bringing the products out of the -cooled- storeroom. Everything is stored in there, and I have seen the employees wearing coates and gloves because it’s such a low temp, for everything, including the produce.

    2. I used to work at Aldis in the northern Ohio area and I am shocked regarding the produce situation where you live. The Aldi policy has a very high expectation and standard when it comes to produce. There are rules about how much you can put out. They reject shipments just because of quality, even on advertised items (which can make customers mad, but its better than a bad product). All the produce that requires refrigeration is refrigerated every night. I’ve worked at 6 area stores and I would guess the longest a piece of produce would be unrefrigerated would be 1-2 hours.

      The only reasons I could see bad produce at any Aldi store is a poor store or district manager, or a low turnaround because the customer base doesn’t buy it.

      I would contact corporate and name the stores you have tried. They may have a common District manager that needs replaced.

      Also, don’t forget they have a double your money back guarantee. And I’m sure if you got to know your local store manager and you are not pleased with the selection on the floor, they might run in the back and bring out something fresh. Especially if you comment about they quality and you being unsatisfied.

      1. Bowling green, ky store also has so so produce. They never have good grapes and I have noticed their produce goes bad way faster than normal.

  48. I haven’t shopped at Aldi in a while, and this post makes me think I need to check it out again. But for chocolate, you should check out Askinosie Chocolate (they’re local to me and awesome – they go beyond fair trade to a stake in the outcome). www.askinosie.com (I’m not affiliated with them; just a fan.)

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