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ALDI's [moved from New England]

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  • few Mar 7, 2009 01:09 PM
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Anyone been food shopping at an ALDI's yet? I friend o f mine tol d me about them (they do not live in CT) and suggested I try them out - the nearest one to me is in Middletown - anyone been to that particular one yet?

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  1. I Love ALDI - use the Wallingford one but am looking forward to trying the new one on Rt.80 when t opens.

    I find their prices great for dairy/soy milk, H&B, etc, their coffee is very good and cheap.

    It's not gourmet (though some of the chocolate is really good at Xmas time), but for staples and the kind of snacky stuff my kids like it's worth a trip.

    I go once a month and stock up.

    8 Replies
    1. re: debvil

      is it a cash only place - or do they take checks?

      is there fresh food items or is it all staples kinds of foods?

      1. re: few

        I would only buy produce that I plan to use within a few days - produce is not their forte IMHO.
        They do a lot of dairy/yogurt/cheese, prepackaged & frozen meats. I've done the ground beef & turkey but I often find these as cheap at my regular grocer.

        Just know 98% of the store is private label but I have read on other boards that it is produced by some very popular brands i.e. mac & cheese is a dead ringer for Kraft Mac & cheese.

        Looked up my list here's what I buy there:

        Plastic Wrap/Foil (CHEAP & good wrap)
        Ibuprofen/allergy meds
        Canola oil
        Chips/pretzels
        Salsa (the regular Casa Mamita Medum is quite good)
        mustards/mayo/pickles
        Canned beans
        Frozen Veggies
        Mac & cheese/Canned tomatoes
        Cottage cheese/soy milk/butter/eggs/american cheese (the $1.99 one is great)
        fruit roll ups (my kids ask only for ALDI brand now)
        Triscuit-y & cheezit crackers & pretzels
        Cereal (great selection & cheap)/Oats/Baking Mix/Peanut Butter
        Whole Wheat Bread
        Chicken Nuggets
        I bought the most delicious crown roast of pork for XMas - Frozen

        Cash & Debit is accepted (I think checks too) bring a quarter for a cart and bring your own bags or else they'll charge you.

        For my list (a month's worth family of four I spend $100) of course I supplement meat & fruit/veg from other sources but we save a lot w/ALDI.

        debvl

        1. re: debvil

          wow thanks for all that info

          hahaha -- last time I paid for a chopping cart was in Canada - but when you returned it you got your loonie back.......appreciate the heads up on the bags as well - will have to def give it a try on a run by Middletown int he near future whn I am ready to stock up again !!

          1. re: few

            They will give you your quarter back when you return the cart.

            Have fun!

          2. re: debvil

            A quick scan of this thread didn't find a mention of my favorite Aldi item -- the Grandessa popsicles. They come in four flavors and they are, in order of my preference, lime-pineapple, Caribbean, pina colada, and strawberry. These don't have HFCS, btw. The Caribbean flavor is mango, passionfruit, strawberry, pineapple, and coconut. They all have pretty good sized chunks of fruit in them. They're just excellent!

            Other things on my list:

            White chocolate - makes great truffles at Christmas time
            The nuts are great - especially the roasted or smoked almonds
            Produce - the stores in our area have great produce

            Disappointments:

            I found their chips to be overly salty for what I like. A couple of years ago, I got a spiral sliced ham there that was fairly tasteless. I think it was an Appleton ham. I see now that they have another more pricey label and may try that some time.

            1. re: Leepa

              I just discovered the Grandessa popsicles, and my fiancee and I both love them. I got the Caribbean style for myself, since she prefers naughty ice cream and chocolate, but I was pleased that she likes them too. They're actually healthy -- low calories, and I too noticed they didn't have HFCS. I intend to stock up on the Caribbean kind and try the others too.

              1. re: Leepa

                The caribbean ones are awesome. I also got a box of the pina colada (different box than the carribbean ones) and they are headed right back after one. Or being given away. Ughh. Maybe I just don't like pina coladas.

                1. re: Dax

                  We liked the pina colada ones, and LOVED the lime pineapple ones. They taste like really sweet, refreshing margaritas.

        2. There are Aldi's in Vernon Ct. and in East Hartford Ct. The one in Vernon is on Rt. 83 Almost behind the Vernon Bowling Center, the one in East Hartford is on Silver Lane. Donw past the post office headed west... Earle Ct.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Earle

            There's also one on the Berline Turnpike in Newington.

          2. Nope--Aldi is actually closer to my home, but I'm sold on Xpect Discounts and PriceRite in Cromwell for discount staples and produce.

            6 Replies
            1. re: kattyeyes

              funny - I never foudn the deal in Xpect that great to go out of my way for.....when my local IGA grocer has a sale - it is as good as I would see in the paper for Xpect - guess it depends on what you buy

              1. re: few

                Milk used to be (for at least 10 years) a great buy at Xpect. Went this weekend and it was just as expensive as anyplace else. My mom says it varies week to week. For produce--PriceRite had a flyer over the weekend for red and green peppers/99 cents a pound. Ground turkey and ground chicken are also a good buy there. For me, it's not that far out of the way so it makes sense, but I agree, depending on what you buy, it may not be worth the extra miles.

                1. re: kattyeyes

                  A little off topic, but when it comes to groceries and dairy (milk, butter, eggs) you really can't beat WalMart. I find them cheaper than Aldi's (and they are about a half mile apart in Providence).

                  1. re: OOliver

                    Yeah but they are NOT Walmart, worth any trip from anywhere to avoid that corporate mind set ;)

                    1. re: jspear

                      ITA with that, jspear.

                      Aldi is a strange shopping experience, IMO, but they do have some interesting stuff and good prices on many things.

              2. re: kattyeyes

                I actually stopped in to check out the Middletown Aldi last weekend. It's not for me--I'll stick with Xpect and PriceRite...and the regular supermarkets and mom & pop places, of course.

              3. I was there on Saturday. Nice and clean so far. All private label. I read they are the parent company of Trader Joe's, so they have similar products. The little produce they had was good. Prices are very good. $1.49 for butter. Not sure if that's regular price or sale. AA grade is AA grade. Doesn't matter if it's Land o' Lakes or Bob's Butter. It's only a couple miles from my house, so I'm sure I'll use it for some things. Right now we go through circulars for 3 supermarkets plus Price Rite and now will include Aldi.

                6 Replies
                1. re: germay

                  There have been Aldi's in Waterbury & Wallingford/Meriden for over 10 years and we used to go there twice a month and stock up on staples. More recently, we have been going to Price Rite in Hamden. Great prices on staples, fruits & veggies, cereals, canned goods, dairy. You can't do all your shopping there, but you can get probably 90% there and save LOTS of $$. They carry a lot of name brands and I've seen some new items there before seeing them at the big the bigger stores and much, much cheaper. I usually have a shopping list and cross off as I pick up the item at Price Rite and then go to Shaws or Stop & Shop to get the other items they don't carry. They've got a great ethnic foods section too.

                  1. re: germay

                    Related to Trader Joe's?? Hmmm.... when i lived in DC I always shopped at TJ's! So whats the premise with ALDI? Just discount, or natural?

                    1. re: germay

                      Aldi's is a German chain of discount private label food and general merchandise. There is much confusion about the relationship between Aldi's and Trader Joes. After much research the relationship as far as I can tell is that Trader joes was started as an independent company using money from the Aldi (Albrecht) family trust. They do not share any common management. Two completely different companies. Having said that both companies dedication to private label and augmenting with closeout brand names on special buys must be more than a coincidence.

                      In any event, my wife uses Aldi for dry goods...no meat, no produce and occasionally ice cream. She keeps her "Aldi" quarter for the cart in her cup holder and heaven help her husband if he ever spends it at a Dunkin' Donuts again. We find the quality of their cereals, cookies, crackers, juices, lunch box snacks...that sort of thing every bit as good as named brands and significantly cheaper than even Walmart and Target private labels.

                      1. re: late to dinner

                        There are two Aldi companies, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. Both are owned by the Albrecht family. Aldi Sud owns Aldi in the US. Aldi Nord owns Trader Joe's in the US.

                        Theoretically, there is no direct management connection between Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, and therefore no direct management management connection between Aldi US and Trader Joe's in the US.

                        Theoretically, there is a management connection between Aldi Nord and Trader Joe's in the US, and between Aldi Sud and Aldi US.

                        Are you with me? I'm not sure that I'm with me. Ah well. Only the Albrechts know for sure and they ain't talking.

                        TJ's was originally geared to the more adventurous palate, while Aldi US was just about cheap. We don't have either in Canada, so I can't compare local shopping experiences.

                        My sense is that TJ's (which inspired the hugely successful President's Choice Insider's Report in Canada 25 years ago) is becoming more like Aldi. Both chains share a philosophy of private labels, minimal service, centralized logistics, cutthroat buying, and rigorous pruning of SKUs that don't move in adequate volumes.

                        I have heard from several industry sources that they get their prices through a combination of high volume buying, sole supplier relationships for each product, and unusually fast payments to their suppliers. I'm not in a position to know whether this is true.

                        1. re: embee

                          Trader Joe's very much feels like an upscale Aldi in the way the aisles are set up.

                          1. re: embee

                            From what I've heard years ago, the "unusually fast payments" is that they pay their suppliers in cash.

                      2. would you say that Aldi's is on the same level as an Xpect Discounts? God I hope the service will be better than the Xpect in North Haven and Easy Haven.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: triggs73

                          I find ALDI cleaner & friendlier than the XPECT discounts in East Haven/North Haven.

                          XPECT is crazy (I buy there occasionally) - -in N. Haven I saw a throw down between 2 grannies over eggplant once - wacky.

                          1. re: debvil

                            You conneticut people can Shop ;)

                          2. re: triggs73

                            The Aldi's I've been to are much smaller than Xpect Discounts, so don't expect to see all the merchandise at Aldi's that they carry. So, being small, the checkout areas are usually not very big and do get a bit congested, but the lines usually move pretty quickly. Aldi's and Price Rite both have the types of register lines where they don't bag for you; they just put it into another carriage and you bag it yourself against the wall where they have counters.

                            1. re: joan mar

                              I'm all about the cleanliness and service...of course price plays a big part, but if the other factors aren't there then see ya. Good to know...look forward to trying Aldi's then.

                          3. You need to give ALDI a try. You won't get everything you need but some things are just so cheap it's worth experimenting. They sell a box of 4 frozen 6 oz. sirloins for about 6.50 that are great for a quick steak dinner. I don't like the nuts but I really like the Vanilla Wafers. The frozen pizza wasn't so hot but the frozen salmon was pretty good. So what if it's from China?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Waquoit

                              I'm not even going to touch the China comment other than saying that some people don't like to eat toxins and others aren't too keen about the environmental consequences of the poor fish farming practices over there. Others see a low price and it doesn't matter...

                              However - I hardly see the sirloin offer as great. I can go to the butcher and get 24oz. of fresh NY Strip, cut how I want it, for $4.99/lb vs the $4.33/lb at Aldi for frozen stuff in a box. And while I don't buy it - I think the sirloin may run for $2.99/lb. Who cares if I'm supporting the local butcher instead of the German discount chain.

                              1. re: Jestner

                                The local butcher sure cares. I've also never heard of a recall on tainted meat from a local butcher either, but sure have heard of them on pre-cut frozen meats.

                            2. We were out doing errands yesterday and ended up stopping at the Aldi's in Bristol. Got a feww standard things but made sure I read the label to find the country of origin! The items from China I just put back on the shelf. Has anyone tried the frozen asian meals, just heat and serve? They were made in the USA....mostly! The gallon milk was a good deal and it tasted very good, butter was reasonable as well.

                              1. p.s. the cheese curls were also very yummy, we ate half the bag on the way home!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: javaandjazz

                                  I recently went to the new Aldi's in West Haven. Very clean and it is a very different experience. I tried the frozen Asian Beef & rice and I did not care for it. Very salty and not a very good flavor.

                                  Back to the comment about Xpect in East Haven. I used to frequent that place and shop on my lunch hour. I was once literrally rammed by an old lady and her shopping cart on purpose. Those shoppers mean business!

                                  1. re: jesoda

                                    I've bought only a couple items at Aldi I was unhappy with. I didn't take them back for a refund, but I believe they do offer one.

                                    FWIW, their store brand of Lean Pockets were terrible, as were the Kirkwood chicken pot pies. We also recently bought some frozen flounder filets which were so thin as to be difficult to cook--they fell apart. The list of items I've found to be of good quality and value is lengthy, though.

                                2. I go to the one out by me once a week. My husband loves their mustard, spaghetti oh's and their milk was down to $1.69 a gallon last week. I also get some great breaded tilapia filets that only come around once a year (I stock up big time). There are a few items that are not great, but you find some good stuff.

                                  1. The chocolate chips from Aldi are very good! They are only $0.99 a bag and are of very good quality.

                                    1. They have the BEST cheddar cheese mini rice cakes! Much better than Quaker. The caramel is okay, but the cheese . . . fab! I grab 4-5 bags every time I go.

                                      Also, here in Birmingham, they have a really good Hispanic section. The corn tortillas are surprisingly good. As good as any other name brand, but much cheaper. You can't beat the avocados at 49 cents either.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: sheilal

                                        I buy the crispy taco shells. 99 cents a box about a third of the price then the regular grocery store. With a hungry teenager in the house I need plenty of shells for taco night. I also get the fat free refried beans which are quite good.

                                        1. re: libgirl2

                                          Make your own taco shells, and they'll be better and a LOT cheaper. It's a piece of cake- just get some oil warm enough that a piece of tortilla sizzles when it hits the oil. Hold half of a corn tortilla submerged in the oil, using tongs to hold the rest in a taco shape. Wait about 15-30 seconds until it's crisp, then flip the tortilla and cook the other half the same amount of time. Drain them upside down on paper towels. I've had some friends who can't cook report back thrilled that they didn't have to buy those cardboard taco shells anymore.

                                        2. re: sheilal

                                          Sheila, is this the one on Greensprings or the new one (or I just noticed what looks to be a new store) on Crestwood?

                                          1. re: Dax

                                            Dzx, I frequent the one in Trussville since that's my base of operation.

                                            Also, I just discovered the hummus with tahini. Very, very good with a nice creamy texture. Also, picked up the roasted garlic hummus (haven't tried it yet - couldn't stop eating the other kind), but it doesn't have tahini in it. I suspect the texture is a bit coarser. I might add a bit of sesame oil to it to give it a more authentic flavor if it needs it.

                                            I also picked up a bag of the new ranch flavored rice cakes. They're really good, but the flavor is a bit overwhelming after just a few. I can't eat them on end like I can the cheddar cheese ones (which is probably a good thing).

                                            1. re: sheilal

                                              One just opened on Crestwood near Eastlake Mall (Birmingham, AL) this week. I stopped in yesterday during lunch but didn't really want to buy much so I picked up some jerky for (3.5 ounces for $2.99) and some buffallo mozz (made in Wisconsin - 8 ounces for $.99). Both were good enough but not that great of a deal to make me go back. I could see using this place more if I wanted to serve lots of food to a group on the cheap(er). They are going to get beer and wine soon, so I'll be back to try those.

                                              If I used more eggs and milk, I'd definitely take advantage for a dozen large for $.89 and a gallon of milk for $1.49.

                                              I noticed a TON of brand name packaging style with random generic names on them. Are these just generic brands made by the majors as you would find in other big stores? I cannot imagine the real brands would stand for it otherise.

                                              1. re: Dax

                                                I went again yesterday and picked up a number of items just to give them a shot. I rarely buy private label except when I used to have a TJs near me. Anyway, good prices on milk (if I can drink the gallon before it expires), cheese, garbage bags, re-usable tupperware, frozen pizza, nuts, jerky, canned goods, etc. The dry good staples and such. I doubt it will be my regular store but it's reasonably close to me (about the same as Publix distance-wise but much cheaper). Produce looked good and inexpensive, about 1/2 pre-wrapped.

                                                I will say I'm a fan of their "double guarantee" (in theory anyway, I haven't tried it):

                                                http://www.aldifoods.com/us/html/comp...

                                                "Quality, taste and satisfaction are always DOUBLE guaranteed at ALDI. If for any reason, you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money."

                                                But do they replace the product with another of the same product (plus give the money back)? I guess that's ok if it's spoiled but if it tastes bad ...

                                        3. I live in Florida and recently started shopping at Aldi. It's amazing how cheap everything is, yet all my purchases have been good quality. Their bell peppers are super-cheap compared to Publix -- I think a 2-pack of green bells for $1, and a 2-pack with one red and one yellow for $2. Their dried fruit and yogurt-covered raisins are great bargains, as were the French bread, genoa salami, and a 2.5 pound bag of frozen chicken tenderloins for something like $5. They even marked down bagged salads to 25 cents the last time I was there! I was surprised to see a giant Pizzeria Uno deep dish frozen pizza that was only $5, so I picked that up for the next lazy, laid-back night where we feel like a treat and don't want to cook.

                                          The only disappointing thing so far were the strawberries, which were moldy by the second full day they were in my fridge. To be fair, they are out of season, and it was only $1.29 wasted.

                                          Next I plan to try their plain yogurt, cheese, and hopefully they have canned black beans since I go through a lot of those. I've never been to a Trader Joe's before, but I'm pretty impressed by Aldi so far.