Monday, February 20, 2012

Food find: Aldi

Aldi is like the TJMaxx of grocery stores. Lots of close-outs, lots of bargains, constantly rotating inventory. I've read a lot about Aldi, mostly on money blogs, so I was excited to learn there was one near me.

I'll admit--it's not the greatest shopping experience ever. Leaving aside the fact that it was in a sketchy neighborhood and you had to pay a coin deposit for a shopping cart, 85% of the inventory is stuff I would never buy. Off-brand cereals and cola, dented cans of beets, Mexican candy. That sort of thing. And you had to bring your own bags.


The produce was dirt-cheap.

There wasn't much produce--no lettuce, and nothing beyond the basics. But I got grapefruits and plantains for 29 cents each; a 10-pound bag of potatoes for $3; a 5-pound bag of sweet potatoes for $1.29; heads of garlic for 25 cents each; a 5-pound bag of onions for $2; and a gallon of milk for $2.59. I spent a grand total of $12.82.

Let's break that down. A gallon of milk at Sam's Club is $2.99; in regular grocery stores it's at least $3.29. The local supermarket chain was running a $1-each sale on grapefruits. Plaintains typically run $1.99 a pound,  and I'm happy to find onions for less than 80 cents a pound. I figure I saved at least 50%, maybe 75%, off that same haul anywhere else. And hey, an onion is an onion is an onion. It doesn't matter if the produce isn't top quality, for things like potatoes and onions and garlic.

There's a lot of stuff at Aldi I won't ever buy (frozen seafood? Nope), but I'll definitely be going back to check out the produce sales.


  1. We used to shop at the Aldi when we lived in Europe. I didn't realize they had them in the U.S.!! We shop at something similar called the Grocery Outlet. It's maybe a little bit more put together than Aldi, but all sorts of great deals, even on things like shampoo and toothpaste.

  2. Yes, produce is definitely one of the better deals at Aldi's. Other things can be hit or miss.Their cereal (one of their own weird brands) is fine - no worse, and maybe a tad less sugary then other more mainstream brands. Flour, sugar, crackers, nuts, tortilla chips (the blue corn ones) are all good. Everyday olive oil, plastic bags of all kinds and laundry detergents (though not the dishwasher detergent) - all fine. Usually their meats look suspicious, but the pork tenderloins are really good. Some of the chocolate they import from Germany is quite tasty too. Occasionally, they get a batch of regular brands - I've seen Kerrygold butter, Eden Vale stilton and Breyer's Ice cream there on occasion - not sure how they come by these items.
    Although I shop there about twice a month, I can't say it's ever an uplifting food shopping experience, but it is cheap.
    The same company also owns Trader Joe's !! I guess they cater to both ends of the food selling spectrum. MIkeinkansascity