What's All the Fuss About ALDI?
So what’s the all the fuss about ALDI? That’s the thing… there is no fuss! It’s just an easy-to-navigate, no frills, no fuss grocery store. As promised, I’m following up on last week’s post in which I compared the cost of several items across five popular grocery stores, and am focusing on German-based discount grocery retailer ALDI. I must admit that even though I’m a Frugal Frisco Momma, I had never shopped at ALDI until this week, though I’d always been curious.
Let me tell you- ALDI is a GAME CHANGER if saving money while still purchasing high-quality products is your jam. But it’s going to look a little different than you’re used to- while there are a few name-brand products available, most items are either the ALDI store brand or other brands I wasn’t familiar with until this week. So if your family is picky about brands, ALDI won’t be your one-stop-shop. But if your household is a little more flexible, you can get all your shopping done at ALDI just like at a normal, big-box grocery store. You’ll just pay a lot less.
There are some great pros about ALDI, but a few cons as well. Here are the pros:
Fewer options - This is a pro to me. I often get overwhelmed at the grocery store, especially if I’m shopping with my kids, so having two options instead of six to choose from would really help me save time and sanity.
Fewer people - The two times I’ve been to ALDI, at two different locations, there have only been a handful of other shoppers in the store. If you’re like me and just want to get in and out without having to navigate the entire population of Frisco, this is a huge pro.
Smaller concept - Did you forget to pick up yogurt and now you’re at the shampoo end of the store? Not a problem at ALDI! You won’t have to backtrack a quarter-mile to get those precious yogurt tubes. ALDI only has 4-5 wide aisles, so it’s super quick and easy to navigate.
Fresh produce - I’m picky about produce. While I do most of my shopping at Walmart, I rarely buy fruits or veggies there. But after carefully inspecting the produce at ALDI, I can say without hesitation that I feel comfortable buying their produce. There are a surprising number of organic produce items as well!
Charcuterie - Having girlfriends over for wine and nibbles? ALDI should be your first stop to fill up that charcuterie board! I was very impressed with their sliced meat, cheese, and cracker options. And we already covered the fresh produce like grapes and bell peppers. Pair with some Winking Owl ALDI-brand bottles of wine and your girls’ night in will be a complete success! (Disclaimer: I am in no way a wine snob. A $40 bottle tastes the same as the 2-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s to me. So take the Winking Owl recommendation with a grain of salt if your taste buds are easily offended by cheap wine.)
I was consistently surprised by the options and prices on every aisle I wandered at ALDI. But it isn’t perfect… The cons I noticed are:
Fewer name brands - As I mentioned earlier, if your family are sticklers for name-brand products, ALDI probably isn’t for you. I would say that my family is a little flexible on some items, but are definite brand loyalists on others. So if you’re like me, you probably won’t be able to get all of your shopping done at ALDI.
Fewer organic options - While I was surprised that ALDI had any organic options at all, there aren’t going to be as many as at a larger, big-box grocery store. The good news is that most of the “dirty dozen” items had organic options at ALDI. But if you like to buy everything organic, then ALDI probably isn’t for you.
No frills - Goodbye, impressively organized shelves, ambiance music, free bags (bring your own), free shopping carts (rent one for a quarter), and employees who sack your items for you (sack them yourself). ALDI has absolutely no frills. While this doesn’t bother me, I know that the shopping experience is important to some people, so the streamlined, Germanic efficiency of ALDI may be a turn off to you.
Drumroll please… Now for the price comparison. This one took a while, y’all, because once I learned that ALDI offered mostly non-name brand items, I realized that I needed to go back to Walmart to research prices on their non-name or store brand items, otherwise it wouldn’t be a fair comparison. So yeah, you could say I’m a little sick of grocery stores. Here’s the comparison:
As you can see, ALDI WINS, and by a fair bit considering the price differences between the other five big-box stores were only a few cents to a couple dollars. This exercise has made me an ALDI convert. Not only because of the potential savings, but because of the ALDI experience. If I’m going to spend my time in a grocery store, I want it to be fast, efficient, and without 1,000 people in my face. And I won’t complain about saving money either. I’ll probably still continue to go to a big-box store for the name-brand items my family is picky about and for paper products and meats, but otherwise, you can find me at ALDI!