HOME > Chowhound > Chains >

Discussion

ALDI Stores: Quality Products at Deep Discount??

  • d

Hi, Hounders,

With the holiday cooking season approaching, perhaps you have some opinions...?

I made my first visit to our local Aldi's (after an absense from Aldi's shopping since we lived in Europe many years ago) and was amazed at the low prices for staples compared to Kroger's.

I thought the prices were too good to be true, but maybe not? So I ask: What is your experience with the quality of your food purchases at Aldi.

I would like some comparisons especially for butter, eggs, bacon, cereal, crackers, spices, bottled sauces.

What would you specifically recommend and what would you stay away from?

Thanks so much.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. This question belongs under Chains. Searching that board yields:http://search.chow.com/search?query=a...

    1. I like shopping at Aldi and think the quality of a majority of their products is fantastic. Butter is the cheapest and no issues in using it when coooking. The cheeses are no different from the name brand basics - as good as if not better than Kraft. They carry a thick sliced bacon in plain as well as maple flavor that my husband loves. I use some of their crackers and cereals but have avoided any sauces - mainly because we use very little bottled products in our home. Sugar and flour are great for baking and I love their fiber bars. Sometime they will have some "one time purchase" items such as honey wheat pretzel sticks and they are GREAT! I have rarely been disappointed by purchases there - have fun shopping and saving money!

      3 Replies
      1. re: cooking4watts

        I so hope someone from Aldi ever reads this. I used to live in New York and was addicted to Aldis, especially for baking items. Their dark German chocolate bars are just heaven and I sorely miss them.

        also their Appleton hams are the best supermarket ham I've ever had. Not surprising since Aldis is a German owned chain. I desperately miss always having one of those hams in the fridge. There is certainly no equivalent here in Washington state.

        Bottom line the best thing about Aldi's is the attention to quality. And it's so inexpensive that if you don't like something you try out, it's no big deal.

        Aldis and Trader Joe's are owned by the same people. I just wish that Aldis had the same commitment to less preservatives and additive that TJ's has. I am extremely allergic to MSG and it's in way too many things at Aldi's.

        But for staples that would be my first stop, if only they would ever open in Washington state. If I ever get back to teh East Coast again, I am saving space in my suitcase for Aldis.

        I wish someone from Aldis would explain why they have no West Coast presence at all and so many close together back East. . We really,really need one here. And they'd make a fortune over night.

        I'd like to suggest Aldis form a partnership with Costco on the West Coast and work with that.

        1. re: gala

          Once again, I find myself correcting an incorrect assumption about Aldi and Trader Joe's. They are not owned by the same people or corporation. Trader Joe's is owned by a German family-owned company, Aldi North. Aldi stores in the U.S. are owned by a German family-owned company called Aldi South. While the two companies are owned by Karl and Theo Albrecht, they have had separate operations since 1960. Karl owns Aldi South and Aldi USA. Theo died in 2010 but his family owns Aldi North and Trader Joe's in the US. Karl Albrecht is the richest person in Germany with an estimated wealth of over $25 billion USD.

          1. re: gala

            Did you used to get the Appleton Farms Spiral Sliced Half Ham, the Half Butt Portion or the Ham Shank portion? The shank is very cheap at $1.19/lb over the holidays.

        2. I live in the UK and generally prefer Lidl to Aldi amongst the cheap supermarkets.

          I find that many of their prices are now pretty much in line with the discounted prices at the more mainstream supermarkets and, of course, Aldi tends not to stock premium products that I normally buy, such as free range bacon and eggs or organic butter.

          Where I do use them is for their tinned or jarred products. Often they will have products not available at more "British" supermarkets or, alternatively, have similar but at heavily discounted prices - their jarred sundried tomatoes are half the price of my normal supermarket.

          So, difficult to answer your question specifically. We probably visit about three times a year and tend to make a shop at both Aldi & Lidl (as they happen to be within a couple of kilometres of each other). We just look for whatever bargains are available at the time - probably spending around £50 at Lidl and perhaps half that at Aldi. Neither are shops I would want to vsiit regularly.

          This thread on a money saving forum may be of interest:
          http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/s...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            Living in England I visit my local Lidl in Gloucestershire at least once a week.

            average shop, £10.

            Cycling there makes you focus on what you want. Prices are great, quality is great and they run surprise opportunities, the other week it was 'Danish week', the best sausage and crisp bread you could ask for, oh, and hot mustard to go with the sausage.

            Holy Moly.... Off topic as usual.

            Here in Gloucestershire, but not not in Cirencester, Aldi are pretty good too.

             
          2. I've been happy with basic products. Their corn chip is the closest to Fritos I've found
            Produce has been fine and very reasonable. I tried a frozen dinner and it was not so good (even for a frozen dinner).

            1 Reply
            1. re: meatn3

              I think their quality and prices on staples are unbeatable. In my area, produce can be hit or miss. Overall I've been happy with their store brand canned and frozen prepared items, except the chicken pot pies which were inedible. They also offer weekly "special purchase" specials on name brand products at excellent prices. Even the fresh meat has been fine. Worth noting is their "double money back" satisfaction guarantee. All in all, Aldi's my first stop before shopping at a conventional grocery.

            2. I made my first trip to an Aldi's last week too. It was about a 35 mile trip, but I wanted to pick up the Crofton convection oven (the Flavorwave clone) that they had on sale for $40.

              I was surprised at how small the store was. I don't think it was even 10,000 sq. ft. I don't know why, but I pictured a huge cavernous warehouse. The layout and registers made the place look like a no-frills supermarket from 25 years in the future. And it was awesome that the cashiers had chairs! (I cashiered for 15 years, and always thought this was a great idea. It reduces fatigue and increases efficiency!) The place was super clean, unlike other bargain supermarkets in the area. Lines at the register got long, but moved quickly.

              So, here are some impressions on some of the items I got (don't remember all the Aldi brand names):

              Crisp Rice Cereal Treats w chocolate drizzle: OK, but vastly inferior to the original Kellogg's prepackaged ones.

              Egg Nog: Very good. Comparable to brand name egg nog.

              Jello cups (unrefrigerated): So-so. No Jello.

              Toffee chocolate bar: Outstanding. As good as the best stuff at Trader Joe's.

              And the convection oven is great. I used it for the first time last night, and cooked a 6 lb chicken perfectly in exactly an hour. The skin was crisp and the meat was moist inside. It is pretty large though, so clean up is a bit of a challenge. Still, I will definitely use it again.

              I didn't find the prices to be earth-shattering. They were comparable to sale prices at the major supermarkets for the most part, with a couple of very good bargains in the mix. (For example, the convection oven, and I also got some 100W equivalent CFC light bulbs for around $3. The 60W equivalents were around $2.)

              Did I enjoy the trip? Sure! Is it worth driving 35 miles every week for? Not really. Will I return? Sure, when I have the time!

              10 Replies
              1. re: zhelder

                Those cashiers get a lot of practice, considering a lot of people I saw at the local Aldi's had two or more carts full! My family always went to do one big shopping trip to get canned goods and other staples, basically filling the pantry. I actually prefer their boxed stuffing to Stove Top. I find the cereals to be pretty good, too. Ketchup, bbq sauce, the canned soups are good. I love the clam chowder. It's been a while since I've been there, the nearest one is 45 minutes away. The place seems kind of dismal but the deals are pretty good.
                ETA: The sodas are decent as well, if you're into that.

                1. re: spellweaver16

                  I like their stuffing too, especially the cornbread. Ketchup, mustard, salad dressings and steak sauce are good, nix the bbq sauce though. Too sweet! Some of the other condiments are hit or miss. I also love their turkey bacon and some of the lunch meats. Husband loves their bagels. I live 5 minutes away from two.

                2. re: zhelder

                  "And it was awesome that the cashiers had chairs!"

                  I take it that this is generally not the case where you are.

                  In the UK (and, I suspect, most of Europe), checkout staff have had seats for as long as I can recall (which is a long time). IIRC, it was enshrined into health and safety law under the 1963 Office, Shops and Railway Act. As you say, why would any employer want tired and inefficient staff when they can easily avoid it.

                  1. re: Harters

                    Not at all common in the USA, Harters. In fact, in some cases actively discouraged. Makes the staff look lazy, I guess.

                    1. re: Harters

                      Aldi is the only grocery in the US I have seen where the cashiers have chairs.
                      This might be possible since they don't bag groceries - just place them in an empty basket. At most grocers the height and arrangement of the check out station make it very difficult to cashier and bag from a seated position. Very seldom do I see a grocery where a cashier is guaranteed a bagger.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        In Europe, shops don't generally bag your purchases. In non-discount places, the checkout operator usually asks if you want them to bag but it's very rare you see anyone take them up on the offer. In discount places, they don't offer.

                        1. re: Harters

                          Yes, In much of the states the grocery is more of a once-a-week stocking up experience - so a bit of space is needed along with bagging while ringing. Or else the line gets bogged down...In urban areas without much private auto use it seems to be more as you describe.

                          1. re: meatn3

                            Yep. Usually once-a-week here as well. Most major supermarkets are on the outskirts of towns so a car is pretty much always needed.

                    2. re: zhelder

                      In Germany all the cashiers have chairs. I think it's great too!

                    3. Just in time for Christmas, one of this weeks special buys is a Nintendo Wii system for $250...
                      http://www.aldi.us/us/html/offers/58_...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: cavandre

                        Thanks so much for your detailed responses. I really appreciate it.

                        Looks like a good source for some holiday baking items. And I read elsewhere that the chocolates they carry are excellent and very inexpensive.

                        I'm going to add Aldi's to my list of good discount sources.

                        If any other good Aldi items come to mind, pls. let me know!

                      2. The Aldi cooking spray is really good. I think it was $1.19/can!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          I used Aldi ricotta yesterday for the first time. The quality exceeded any major supermarket brand I've ever bought. Thick, rich and delicious.

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            What's it made of? Vegetable? Soy? Canola?

                            1. re: Fibber McGee

                              Milk. Whole milk and cream, actually.

                              1. re: Emm

                                Sorry. I meant the cooking spray.

                            2. I love the Rodeo Bill kettle chips - they are cheap and good! Also awesome is the "legend of Rodeo Bill" printed on the bag: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_zU2E4zybwZs...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: deibu

                                Those chips are really good. I served them to my BIL and he said "Krunchers are my favorite" when I told him they were from Aldi he was surprised.

                                And the cooking spray is really good.

                              2. .79 per 15 oz. for canned pumpkin was a half price bargain compared to Libby's even on sale. Their dozen eggs for .79-.99 gets my vote as the best bargain and I actually welcome the no-frills in and out in record time layout of Aldi's. I'm so over the two hour food mall experience. If I could find everything I need at Aldi's I'd be thrilled. Their produce and flower section has grown in size and quality recently and I thanked the store mgr. for keeping the site super clean the last time I was there. My husband & kids love the chocolate selections and even some of the bread (olive oil & rosemary ciabatta) has been surprisingly good. Keep on Aldi's!

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: HillJ

                                  I've never seen flowers at Aldi's. What area are you seeing them? Mine also doesn't have that varied of bread choices.

                                  1. re: meatn3

                                    Flowers and even house plants are displayed near the entrance and by the produce department. The fresh bread choices, more bakery style than commercially packaged, started mid year and the display was moved from the refrig case area to the front door with its own shelving recently. I live in NJ.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      In my area the flowers are usually near the checkout.

                                      Although I've posted before about some of my Aldi favorites, I'd never tried the toilet tissue until this week. The quality is excellent, on a par with Northern. The everyday price was comparable to supermarkets' specials.

                                      1. re: Emm

                                        I've visited/shopped three separate Aldi locations in NJ and the layout, parking lot, products and cleanliness of the store appears to be very individually managed.

                                      2. re: HillJ

                                        Wow! I'm in NC and the Aldi's are on the smaller side compared to ones I've seen (outside only) in other states.

                                        I find good quality housewares there on occasion. This summer I purchased an oval, lidded plastic container perfect for packing a salad lunch. The lid has a recessed slot that holds a fork. There is a small container forn dressing nthat fits in the lid very securely. I wish I had bought another. It was 1.99 IIRC!

                                        1. re: meatn3

                                          meatn3, my girlfriend bought the plastic container you're describing and raved about it, by the time I got to Aldi's all gone :( Same thing happened with their deal on electric tea kettles, missed that one too (I was thinking great gift idea at the time) but I have seen a number of houseware bargains there. The site I shop most is small but very clean.

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            I just saw the same container (different color) at Big Lots for $3 if you still are wanting one!

                                            I still use mine for my work lunches most days of the week.

                                            1. re: meatn3

                                              meatn3, thank you for thinking of me and posting here. My friend bought me a few of them a few months back and I love those containers. So easy for salads and sushi!

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                I'm glad you were able to get some!

                                                The only downside to them is they don't stack that well for storage due to the lid design. Most times it isn't that much of a problem since I come home, wash it and refill right away with tomorrows lunch.

                                  2. I have said it before but the chocolate chips are really great quality from Aldi

                                    1. I've gotten really fond of the Aldi's of Michigan. They frequently have perfectly functional extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars for low, low prices. My husband really digs the East German WERNESGRUNER beer that they carry. It's no high-gravity craft brew, but it's a very drinkable lil' german pilsner. The Winking Owl wines are a good bet to use for cooking (and not completely disgusting as drinkables), and they also frequently have argentine, french, and spanish wine offerings that are a-okay, particularly considering the price. This week? MALBEC for $3.99. i don't think all the Aldi stores carry alcohol, though.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: dingey

                                        None of the Aldi's near me carry wine or beer. :(

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          I'm sorry to hear that! I know that the Aldi in my neighborhood didn't carry it initially, either. it was a bizarre surprise to walk in one day and see the display. Another Aldi opened across town about a year ago, and last I heard, they're still not carrying it either. I don't know if it has to do with the numbers of available licenses or what. :(

                                        2. re: dingey

                                          My husband LOVES the mulled winter wine out at our Aldi. He stocked up for the winter as he was told it is going fast. He even told co-workers.

                                          1. re: dingey

                                            I don't mind the Monterrey Beer for $4.99/six-pack, which is made in Guatemala ...

                                          2. I have found a number of good bargains there, though a few misses too, their standard coffee in the large (33oz?) container was so awful I ended up returning it after one pot, and I have never done that with any coffee before, I have purchased their higher end coffee though and found it acceptable, though not a good enough deal to be worth switching from my normal source.

                                            overall if I had to go out of my way rather than it being in an area I normally shop anyway I probably wouldn't shop there. would much rather see a member of their sister company Trader Joe's around here. unfortunately there aren't any of them in florida at all.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: willdupre

                                              If I'm going to use a preground lb. of coffee the Aldi's Beaumont works well for say a lunch crowd. Preground coffee stales so quickly and I prefer grinding my own beans. Now if Aldi's started carrying whole bean, like TJ's it would be ideal.

                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                and when Aldi's was offering 15 oz. cans of pure pumpkin for .79 as opposed to 1.50 a can for Libby's, this holiday I was happy to buy twice as much for the same dollar.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  ...on the other hand I got so use to paying .79-.99/for a dozen large eggs that when the price "jumped" to 1.19 my mouth dropped. Funny, I got spoiled by Aldi's even though 1.19 is still over a 1.00 less than the grocery shops.

                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                  Ooh! The Aldi near us DOES have whole-bean Beaumont. I got a bag of "Zambian Blend" for $3-something, and it's all right. Granted, I like the locally-roasted stuff from the neighborhood coffee joint better, but they're now charging $11 for their smallest bags. I'm moving to the Zambian for daily use!

                                                  1. re: dingey

                                                    I tried two diff whole bean Beaumont brand coffees from Aldi's for $3.99/lb each and found them both bitter. The Zambian @ Costco for $9.99/5lb is a steal and FRESH roasted whole bean. Have you tried that dingey?

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      Sadly, there aren't any Costco's in our neck of the woods....

                                              2. Aldi's products are generally great...as good as and occasionally better than many "name" national brands. Shouldn't be too much of a surprise since they own Trader Joe's.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                  Tj's is "related" to Aldi, not tehnically owned by Aldi. Theo Albrecht, a German billionaire, owns TJ's and his brother owns Aldi's in the US. It is widely reported that their business operations are run separately and independent of each other.

                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                    This is true, but it's been getting more interesting recently. For example, Aldi ad that came in my junk mail this week has candy cane chocolate sandwich cookies. Hm, just like Candy Cane Joe-Joes, right? I wonder if they're exactly the same except for the packaging. Could be they are doing at least some joint sourcing. Obviously there are items in Trader Joe's that wouldn't ever be in Aldi, but there is some room for overlap.

                                                    Because these companies are privately held, it's not at all clear just how separately they are run. The brothers themselves are rather reclusive apparently.

                                                    1. re: CrazyOne

                                                      http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com...

                                                      Op piece from NYTimes. This remains THE question for shoppers familiar w/both store concepts.

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/417889
                                                      and, this is a CH thread from 2007 (pre poor economy) that is a very interesting read now that Aldi's has caught the attention of (more) savvy shoppers.

                                                2. Tried the french onion dip today and it was awesome. Sour cream's the first ingredient, which is why I normally seek out Berne's.....

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: dingey

                                                    I've found the consistency of quality of Aldi's products to be a lot better than Trader Joe's. Granted, Aldi sells the basics, and TJ's sells more so-called "gourmet" type items, but I end up throwing out about half the items I try from TJ's.

                                                    1. re: Emm

                                                      Emm, I wonder how much is ad marketing and how we (consumers) view labels. TJ's sure has pretty labels and Aldi's "no frills" label- but comparing just taste & price ..I wonder if we'd hesitate to buy no frills.

                                                      1. re: Emm

                                                        Why throw out an item from TJs? They will take it back if you didn't like it. This policy makes me much more likely to try a new item than I might in other stores (and usually it turns out to be a regular on my shopping list). I've returned items over the years, though, and never had a problem.

                                                        1. re: LAWoman

                                                          Yes, I'm aware of their policy about taking items back (the same as Aldi's, by the way). The TJ store is a long drive from my home, and I only visit a few times a year, so I'd have to go to the trouble of freezing the item (I guess), keeping track of the receipt, etc. It hasn't been a big financial loss to me, because I usually stick to the things I know I like and try new items sparingly, but I still find it surprising that I get so many things I don't like. Given the near-cult following TJ's seems to have, it just surprises me.

                                                    2. Okay, revisiting this post because the chocolate bars sold at Aldi's under the Moser Roth label come 5 bars to one package and run $1.69 each, offered in eight flavors. These are amazingly good and fantastic for baking uses. The Dark Chocolate 70% cocoa chopped in cookie dough or the Pecan Orange added to hot chocolate rocked us last night and is a steal, not a bargain. I'm thinking that buying eight packs; one from each flavor, broken down into the indiv. bars and turned into a chocolate library would make a fun stocking stuffer for our family of youngins. Get your supply while they last! :)

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                        I am SO going to drive up to the Aldi tomorrow. I really love (and haven't had in forever) those kettle chips they sell- some cowboy name, and I got a great deal on spices there. I did not love the condensed soup- it was really flat, just no taste and the star-pasta was really mushy (chicken and stars soup). I did not get any cold items (it's kinda far and I go when I have other business in that area.
                                                        I need some dark chocolate now!!

                                                        1. re: Boccone Dolce

                                                          BD, the "chocolate library" was a big hit with the youngins! A few adults wanted to know where their stash was. I think I've hit on a new holiday gifting tradition on the cheap. Last time I stopped in Aldi's they had a number of brand name food items including some amazing caramel popcorn from the midwest offered in several nut & spice varieties; packaged in a beautiful container. I was there picking up ingredients for homemade coconut macaroons and noticed a few .20 price increases...but still the lowest prices in my area for the baking basics.

                                                        2. re: HillJ

                                                          Aldi's is selling Strawberry truffles for $1.49/box...........OMG they are amazing!
                                                          If you don't get there quick, you're gonna be sorry!
                                                          I bought 40 boxes for my friends to enjoy.

                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                            Thanks for the heads-up! I'm off work tomorrow & will try to score!

                                                        3. The quality of Aldi food is pretty good. Some people might not like the particular taste of something, though, if they are used to some other brand.

                                                          That said, their half and half has some odd ingredients in it. I wish they had half and half that was just cream and milk.

                                                          1. I remember shopping once at Aldis in Dayton. They are now moving moving into the South Florida market where I live. I look forward to checking them out.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: h2Bn

                                                              I bought 2 of the 'Cuisinart-style' covered red enamel casseroles (for $29.99 each) to bake my 'no knead' bread in. What a steal! So far they have worked beautifully (even though others online have had some difficulties with them). I bought the covered plastic containers too, and we love them.

                                                              Now I am buying my everyday olive oil from them. Also chocolate, frozen peas, raisin bran (the best!), havarti cheeses, sugars, pickles, black beans and lots of other stuff. A very good resource, I think. Also that German beer (my son and husband thought I had paid premium for it) and some eiswine that was excellent.

                                                              I believe Trader Joe's is owned by just one of the two Albrecht brothers. And this particular brother also owns either the 'North' or the South' Aldis Company (The original company split into two companies (North and South) over a dispute over whether to sell cigarettes some years ago). At least this is what I recall from an article in the NYT. So TJ is owned by one of the brothers from the same family who started Aldi's. And this brother also owns one of the Aldi 'splits'.

                                                              I loved TJs when the Coulombs owned it. Not so much now.

                                                              I wish we could buy stock in Alsis, but it is all privately held. So too bad!

                                                              Thanks again for all the tips!

                                                              1. re: dumas

                                                                I'm glad to hear a review of the enameled casseroles. I've been eyeballing them and wondering if I should take the plunge.

                                                            2. WOW, I am so disappointed! Tiny store, NO brand names that I could find - I don't like taking chances on off-brand names, very limited produce, high ratio pork products to chicken/fish products and the prices are not that great ... especially for off brand items. I won't waste my time shopping there again and I will go back to my local WalMart, Sam's, Kroger, or Tom Thumb. Boo Aldi!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: DLCALLAWAY

                                                                Sorry your experience sucked...I think we could have told you up front that Aldi carries next to no national brands. If you read the thread almost everyone comments on Aldi-brand product.

                                                                1. re: coney with everything

                                                                  I find that one of the benefits, actually. Their own brands usually contain less "crap" than a lot of national ones do.

                                                              2. I am an Aldi's virgin. They have been in my area for years but I am finally going to stop by this week and check them out. My big question is do they sell a lot of natural food items? e.g. If I buy a can of beans, I want the ingredients to be beans, water and salt (no sodium benzoate or other unnecessary stuff).

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: mels

                                                                  mels, I'm an Aldi's shopper. As long as you read the labels you will see what items are "natural" and what items have additives. You will see a fresh produce section, real cheese items in the dairy case, real butter, a baked bread section. You will also see plenty of packaged items with less than ideal ingredients labels. So, like any other grocery store you will need to read the labels. What Aldi's won't offer is fancy packaging; one step up from a generic bottle or can. I would also warn you to check expiration on items that are seasonal or a Brand name the stores carry on occasion which appear to be end-lot items. I always walk away from those. Example: A large container of gift wrapped popcorn mix from a famous co. in Maryland...cheap price but clearly stale.

                                                                  The eggs this week were $1.25/dozen, I was happy! I am selective on what I buy at Aldi's but I enjoy the $$$ savings on the items I do buy regularly. Don't pass up the Euro chocolate section (if you enjoy quality cocoa) don't miss the occasional brand item in the freezer (this week it was Amy's brand veg lasagna & chicken burrito for $2.99) and don't compromise your preference for natural. Aldi's isn't going to offer you everything you seek.

                                                                  At Thanksgiving, canned pumpkin puree was .79/can and I bought cases. Natural and a great buy.

                                                                  I have learned to shop wisely at Aldi's; just another market in the sea of markets. Nonetheless, a good value for many items I use often and I've never seen $50.00 go farther than at Aldi's.

                                                                  Remember to bring a quarter for the cart and your market bag to pack! Happy shopping!

                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                    Thanks for the details, HillJ. I regularly shop TJs, Whole Foods, BJs, a local market, etc. so I am used to buying only certain things in certain stores.

                                                                    1. re: mels

                                                                      mels, that's how I shop too; all over for the best buys and best offerings. No such thing as one stop shopping around here. In a few months I'll see the food co-op, local wineries and NJ farms spring up with goodies and then I'll be really happy once the season opens statewide.

                                                                      My last stop at TJ's I was disappointed by the condition of the produce and only wound up with Greek yogurt and curry Naan. The store looked quite rundown. Whole Foods I frequent for specialty items, not a BJ's mem but Costco for coffee beans, Greek yogurt, some fresh fish, some produce (when off season for NJ), party items sometimes but Costco is my go to for film devel, eyewear, pharmacy, online service..even the travel program...so mainly NOT food. When Aldi's opened nearby, I was unfamiliar with the store as a personal customer; certainly knew of the chain. When they opened, eggs remained .55/dozen for three months and eventually ran as high as $1.55/doz.; now holding at $1.25...but is was the frequency of my egg purchases, and the price the lowest anywhere, that got me paying attention closely. I was surprised, and in some cases delighted, that Aldi's could fulfill some of my weekly shopping needs. The $$ savings has stretched my weekly food dollar quite a bit. Household of six, entertaining all the time..informed food shopping be thy guide!

                                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                                      I, too, am an Aldi virgin, and am finding all of this information extremely helpful. I understand that some of the items they carry have natural ingredients, but is anything they offer organic?

                                                                      Also, do they have "shopping cards" like most supermarkets give out for additional savings?

                                                                      Thanks in advance!

                                                                      1. re: Greengirl5

                                                                        I don't recall seeing anything organic, greengirl, but I'm not a frequent Aldi shopper

                                                                        No shopping cards for sure. And no coupons.

                                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                                          I have found the same as coney stated. All three would def. change the price values across the store at Aldi's. It's absolutely no frills for immediate savings but their product list keeps expanding and their seasonal buys can be downright cheap!

                                                                      2. re: HillJ

                                                                        When we had a big egg recall in the midwest, the brand Aldi sells was one of the only ones not on the list in my area.

                                                                      3. re: mels

                                                                        I'm in the same camp as HillJ - I don't buy a large amount at Aldi's since I buy primarily basic ingredients rather than much prepared foods. I try to hit them first and the price difference on even a half dozen items is huge - it really helps with my budgeting! What I can't get at Aldis I get at one of my other stops.

                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                          meatn3, I couldn't have said it better!

                                                                      4. "WOW, I am so disappointed! Tiny store, NO brand names that I could find - I don't like taking chances on off-brand names,"

                                                                        DUDE! you need to pay attention! your comment make you look like a fool! private labels are the entire concept at Aldis's -like walking into Starbucks and ordering a cup of Folgers coffee

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: exit 82

                                                                          No...it's like expecting to buy Folgers coffee and taking a chance on "Sally's Medium Roast." We were all newcomers once.

                                                                        2. I buy a lot of my "basic" food items here. I love Aldi's EVOO and butter, cooking oils, shortening and dairy products. The EVOO is the best on the market at any price and the dairy is a good as the national brands. I however don't care much for their pasta sauce. It is very pasty tasting. I think they add a lot of food starch to stretch the sauce and thicken it. I have no troubles with their meats fresh or frozen. They are very high quality. The fresh produce is not the best. Its usually not that fresh and suspect at best.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mellibean

                                                                            mellibean, too bad your Aldi's produce aisle is suspect; the new location nearby is outstanding and getting better with every month.

                                                                            Today I picked up a bag of 3 avocados for 1.79; typically 1.50/each in NJ. Mushrooms for .99, bag of baby carrots for .59, 4 large garlic heads for .69, bag of lemons for 2.00, flowers for 1.79, pineapple for .99, cantaloupe for .99. Then eggs for 1.05/dozen...a few other favs.

                                                                            Sure there are items I pass by but my $35.00 went farther at Aldi's then any of the other markets I visited today.

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              I'd recommend that anyone considering buying produce at Aldi visit multiple locations if they can. One of the two stores near my home routinely has better quality produce than the other. My best score last week was 6 nice sized, sweet navel oranges for .99. Eggs at my location were .79.

                                                                              1. re: Emm

                                                                                I'd agree with checking multiple stores for all "fresh" foods at Aldi, I've been to one near my house in Philly and wasn't terribly impressed, but then recently checked out one in South Jersey and was amazed to find Le Bus (local Philly) breads... ciabattas, baguettes, etc, seriously good stuff at bargain prices!

                                                                                I find that they are good for baking basics, especially if I need to make things in large quantities and need a lot of say, sugar or butter. The butter is the same quality and often ends up being the same inside packaging (with the same source code) as what you buy at Target. So, it's worth checking the price against your local big box store brand.

                                                                                My recent whim purchase was the aldi-branded triscuit-like cracker. Pretty close, a little saltier. But at a fraction of the price, totally worth the switch.

                                                                          2. I so miss my NY Aldis. The very best ham I've eaten anywhere was an Appleton ham I bought there for about a third of what one would cost at Costco. And their Moser chocolate is the steal of the year. Fabulous dark chocolate for almost no money.
                                                                            i could go on and on. but everyone finds treats there.
                                                                            I don't understand why there are none on the West Coast. i am in Washington. Has anyone heard of any plans for expansion out this way?

                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                            1. re: gala

                                                                              Agreed, those Appleton hams are very good..and spiral sliced.
                                                                              Their chocolate is also very tasty. Cheap Haribo gummies .90 cents a bag.
                                                                              Just got a 3 lb black forest haM for 8.99 (2.99/lb). slice it up and serve with european style mustard and pumpernickel and rye bread.
                                                                              Also their light cream cheese (neufachatel) is the best and only 1.29 per 8 oz block.
                                                                              Finally their Dole bananas sell for .39 cents a pound.
                                                                              All good stuff, and the best prices around.

                                                                              1. re: rochfood

                                                                                I like Aldi a lot and some things are hit or miss but those gummies are a total miss. They taste like I licked a glade air freshner and not in a good way.

                                                                                1. re: Dax

                                                                                  You are referring to the Haribo Gold gummies I mentioned ?
                                                                                  Wow..Haribo Gold gummies are my favorite.
                                                                                  What kind do you like ?

                                                                                  1. re: rochfood

                                                                                    I like gummies so I grabbed a bag on one of my last aldi trips. They tasted like very perfumy flowers. Not sure the kind of gummies as i didn't know they had more than one kind.

                                                                                    1. re: Dax

                                                                                      yeah..they sell some cheapo kinds that are not very tasty..the regular ones in particular. the house sour worms are decent.
                                                                                      But Haribo Gold are world wide known German brand which are the most fruity/flavor intense ones out there. They are not not as soft as the cheaper stuff. They are smaller bags ..but since ALDI is discount german purveyor..they sell them cheaper than any where I've found. About 90 cents a bag.
                                                                                      They come in a Gold bag. check em out next time, I think you'll like em.

                                                                                      1. re: rochfood

                                                                                        You are right, the Haribo are the good ones. The house ones are disgusting and I only ate like 5 before throwing them away. We ate the first bag of Haribo Gold before we even left the store. I recognized the bag when I saw it, but not the brand name immediately. I think they were $.89/bag.

                                                                                        1. re: Dax

                                                                                          Yeah,

                                                                                          The .89 house brand gummies aren't that great. They are made in Mexico. They are very soft and have strange colors and flavorings. When I was eating them, I was thinking, "I don't think these things are too good for me".

                                                                                          Most of their other candy, especially the chocolate is really good.

                                                                                          Robert R.

                                                                            2. I recently tried the feta cheese at Aldi's (1.99 for a small container). It was just the size I needed for my stuffed peppers. Once the dish was prepared it had no flavor from the feta at all.

                                                                              I'm generally happy with my Aldi's purchases so this was a surprise. Live and learn!

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                Aw, that IS disappointing! The tubs of crumbled gorgonzola a pretty serviceable and seem to hold their flavor.

                                                                                1. re: dingey

                                                                                  Good to know!

                                                                                  Between watching calories and my SO not home lately I'm not using up larger amounts of groceries, so the size was quite appealing.

                                                                              2. <rant:>

                                                                                I hate to be a dissenter here (o.k., not really) but...

                                                                                With me it's the principal of the thing. I'll be damned if I am going to pay 5 cents apiece for bags, or put a quarter in the slot in order to get a shopping cart.

                                                                                First of all if I make a really big trip I might fill ten bags. No, the extra 50 cents won't break me, but it won't break them either. But like I said, it's the principal of the thing. If I only put five things in each bag, and they amortized the cost of the bags across my entire order, they would only add a penny to each item I bought. Fercrissakes! Add the penny and chuck in the bags! The more I put in each bag the less the price goes up. I am sure they have priced the bags so they aren't losing money on them. I suspect they are a (small) profit center.

                                                                                And, yes, I know get the quarter back when I return the cart, but I don't want someone else's diseased quarter. Seriously, I realize this is to to ensure the carts get returned to the front of the store, but I do that anyway. I'm getting punished for other's laziness.

                                                                                </rant>

                                                                                48 Replies
                                                                                1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                  You get the quarter back and the bags are reusable or you can bring your own. While I can't fulfil my entire shopping order @ Aldi's I am delighted that there are still a few stores around that offer no frills shopping. Frankly, I'm not a fan of grocery stores that build and rebuild only to charge me more for food or install show pieces like fireplaces and marble counters to make the store more "homey"...fercrissakes-it's a waste of $$$!

                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                    I agree with you on most of your post, but you don't save money bringing your own bags or buying them there. The "bring your own bags and save money" line is a scam.

                                                                                    If I'm honest, my reasons for not shopping at Aldis is more than my post indicates, but it goes against my grain to have to pay a quarter to unlock one of your carts for the privilege of spending my money in your store...even if I spend less of it.

                                                                                    I like "no frills shopping" up to a point. I want a store with a decent meat dept, produce dept., and a good deli meat dept. I don't need fancy, just a meat cutter that knows his/her stuff. The deli needs only slice-to-order deli meats and cheeses. Add a decent selection of fresh produce and I'm a happy camper. Aldi is lacking in these areas. I also prefer one-stop shopping for groceries.

                                                                                    I also concede I can be a bit fussier, with just the two of us in the house and two salaries. Things might be different if I had a bunch of crumb snatchers to feed.

                                                                                    1. re: al b. darned

                                                                                      Then based on your additional comments, al b., Aldi's is just lacking what you seek. The last time I was in an Aldi's store my cart was far from full but my wallet loved it. I still managed to score some great buys in their produce, meat, cheese, dairy and household item aisles...for far less than a neighborhing store. I reused the bags I had bought over a month ago and left with my .25 cart entry.

                                                                                      I'd rather receive discounts w/out cutting coupons. No slight to the extreme couponers out there but I don't stock pile, buy more than I use or buy a brand just to receive a discount so many of the so called deals you have to work for in grocery chains don't work for me. I'd rather go to the farm than buy days old produce, but Aldi's fills another nitch-staples at a bargain.

                                                                                      Large family or small, if I'm happy with the merchandise and the price, you've got a loyal customer. My only complaint is a lack of cashiers. The location I frequent rarely has more than 2 cashiers at a time and the lines can get quite long on a weekend.

                                                                                      Aldi's has had a hire sign up for some time but I haven't notice any add'l cashiers on staff yet. HIRE people, Aldi's!

                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                        Old thread, I know, but I'm low on staples and thought I might try out one of my local Aldi's. What's the deal with the bags? Can I just bring paper grocery bags from other (competing) grocers or do they have to be the reusable kind?

                                                                                        Any other tips for shopping Aldi, especially new ones in the past couple of years since lots of the discussion in this thread is from 2009 & 2011, a couple of years old now?

                                                                                        I think I read somewhere that Aldi now carries organic foods? How are those on quality and price?

                                                                                        Also, do they carry any bulk items? Grains, beans, nuts, or spices? And if no, how is the price and quality of these packaged items?

                                                                                        Dried whole wheat pasta?

                                                                                        Thank you!

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                          TDQ, you should be able to bring any bags you want. The ones in my area put your groceries right back in a cart after they ring them up and you push the cart to another area and bag them yourself.

                                                                                          No bulk, and I haven't noticed a lot of organics by me. Can't say about the pasta

                                                                                          It's a random shop for me. They have some German things I like--chocolate, spaetzle et.al, and last time I went they had a frozen Tarte D'alsace-like flatbread that I scooped up (very tasty, but gone now, they are much like TJ's in that respect).

                                                                                          I wouldn't depend on Aldi for everthing on my list.

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            I have an Aldi-NJ and PA experience only.

                                                                                            I bring my market bags usually or just pack up my goods once I get to my car since you need to return the cart back to the cart station anyway.

                                                                                            In my area, Aldi's sells standard brown bags for 6 cents and their own freezer style bags for .99 and heavier market bags for 1.39.

                                                                                            As for the buys, get to know your location. Brands and goods differ at locations and that's also true week to week within the store. Aldi's has started carrying a small amount of organic produce. Brand name cheeses keep coming in and Fage yogurt has been deeply discounted there.

                                                                                            Yesterday the fresh floral arrangements were $1.99 each.

                                                                                            My typical stop includes best prices for the week on: white eggs, soy milk, AP sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, tonic water, club soda, baby carrots, white mushrooms, 3pkg avocado, brand goat cheese, white vinegar, 10 pkg lemons, Cuties, walnuts and dark chocolate bars. Roughly $32.00 total.

                                                                                            They do sell beans, rice, whole wheat pasta and egg noodles. Ask the Mgr what day is stock day, quality will be dictated. On price, other than a triple coupon deal on some random item-no one in my area is beating Aldi's on price week to week (even if I'm not buying all the deals).

                                                                                            With regard to location-they do vary. Another Aldi's about 20 mins south of me is horrible, unclean store, I won't go in. Another just outside of Philly is very small and cramped and doesn't carry much in the way of produce, I stopped going there. And there's a new competitor on Aldi's tale called Bottom Dollar Food that's popping up all over the Philly area and that has me very curious. http://www.bottomdollarfood.com/About

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              I have shopped at three or four ALDIs in the St. Paul, Minnesota, area, and have not yet found one that was dirty or that had surly staff. The staff works very quickly and efficiently, which I guess can translate into "throwing food around". And the "just-in-time" staffing sometimes means a wait at the checkout, but it's rarely very long.

                                                                                              The organics selection, IME, is *very* hit or miss. They did make a splash a couple of months ago with their new line of packaged organic products but I haven't seen much of them since. Maybe they just didn't sell at the ALDIs I shop at most. The products I tried were not bad, but most of them were products I just don't buy often -- more processed and starchy.

                                                                                              The ALDIs I've shopped have always carried random organic produce at random times. I'm not used to finding organic produce at ALDI, so I don't usually need to buy it when I get there, but what I have purchased was of good quality. The conventional produce has been decent, too -- I've seen far worse in far more expensive supermarkets. I just wish they did not shrinkwrap almost everything.

                                                                                              I have never purchased fresh meat at ALDI. I don't want to support what I'm sure is factory farming and a lot of it is injected with water that adds up to 15% to the price. No, thanks. I have purchased some of the frozen specials and they've all been of good quality at a decent price. The frozen seafood has been good, too -- the stuff that's not from China -- and it's obvious it's cared for in transit. It's not all full of ice crystals and freezer burn. Cheese has been just fine, considering what you're buying. I read in a couple of places that their house brand cheeses were from Sargento; I don't know that that's true, but it would not surprise me.

                                                                                              Middle-aisle stuff has rarely disappointed. Their regular coffee was a loser, but I'll echo the thumbs up for their "Donut Store" coffee -- it has taken over from Eight O'Clock as my favorite coffee for the buck. Tuna is at unbeatable prices. Dry goods (there's no bulk anywhere in the store) are good, though there's not much for whole-grains/whole foods. There's more of that in the frozen aisle, which usually is a stock-up stop for me. Specials/limited-time products have always been of good quality, IME. I've never tried their cleaning products.

                                                                                              All in all, I'm an ALDI fan. I'm fortunate in that I have somewhere easy to get to for organic meat and produce. But for staples -- and, probably, for the way most Americans eat -- the nuisances, like the shopping-cart quarter and the limited selection -- are more than made up for by the *low* prices and the get-in-get-out experience.

                                                                                              1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                                                                                Thank you, everyone, for your thorough and thoughtful replies. I will check it out! (And bring my own bags!)

                                                                                                (P.S. Steve, I know exactly what mean by the shrink-wrapped produce--TJ's does that, as you say, and I find it wasteful and annoying.)

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  Except for cheese we. Uy all of our dairy at Aldi. The 'Natural' peanut butter is good. The baking goods are fine. Generic cereals seem ok although we don't. Uy much of that anymore (my guess is they are made by Malt-O-Meal down in Northfield.) The only real bad product I can recall was a frozen lobster bisque that we tried several years ago and if I were so inclined (I wasn't) I could have brought the container back and they would give the purchase price back.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                    Most of Aldi's ready to eat breakfast cerals are made a Ralston Food's in Lancaster, Ohio. I don't care for Aldi's cheeses either they are rubbery and tasteless (bars or shreds) but most everything else is fine.

                                                                                                2. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                                                                                  This is pretty much my experience there, although we find their whole wheat pasta to also be decent but do not care for their brown rice.

                                                                                                  Also like the Donut Store coffee.

                                                                                                  I have never purchased their tuna. Which canned one do you like?

                                                                                                  Their avacados are frequently less than $.50 each but can turn black inside practically overnight so check their firmness daily.

                                                                                                  1. re: Dax

                                                                                                    I buy their solid white tuna.

                                                                                                    My perception is that there has been a gradual deterioration of canned tuna over the years. Used to be you could count on "chunk light" tuna being mostly chunks. When the name brand chunk light tuna I bought started looking like cat food, I moved to solid tuna, but not often because of the price. But ALDI can bring in non-Chinese (Thai, I think) solid white tuna for a little over a buck for a can. That seems like a good deal to me.

                                                                                                    1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                                                                                      I agree that Aldi's canned tunas are pretty good. But if you want canned solid white tuna the way it was years ago (not the crappy scraps that Bumble Bee and others are lately), head for a Wegman's if there's one near you; their solid white is truly solid filet with little liquid. It's only .99 per can and it still comes in a 6oz can.

                                                                                                3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  You can bring any kind of bag. They cashiers out the groceries back into your cart and there's a bagging area. Sometimes I leave laundry baskets in my trunk and load the groceries straight into those.

                                                                                                  Shopping tips- walk up and down the aisle. You never know what you'll ind. I've seen some organic stuff in random places. I buy the generic cereals- just as good as the name brands. Bought a crock pot from there. Their "home" section sometimes has great products (like a kiddie pool, laundry rack, kitchen towels).

                                                                                                  No bulk items. But their prices are fantastic on what you mentioned. I buy lentils, dried beans, brown rice, white rice, spices, flour, olive oil, whole wheat spaghetti and Pasta. The nuts come in small packages and are in the baking section- the prices are ok. I could sometimes get them cheaper in other places, but if I'm there and I need it, the prices are good enough to warrant not going elsewhere.

                                                                                                  Keep in mind they don't take credit cards.

                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                    Hmm. I've never had a problem using my "treat it like a credit card" debit card at ALDI. They do ask if I have to punch in the PIN (I don't). And away I go.

                                                                                                    1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                                                                                      In NJ you either pay cash or punch a PIN into the debit card scanner. The transaction won't' go thru without a PIN. And since my bank charges $1.00 for every PIN scan I bring cash for Aldi shopping.

                                                                                                      1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                                                                                        If it's a debit card, Aldi will accept it. If it's a credit card, they will not. They ask for you PIN because if you provide it they do not have to pay the small (pennies) fee for the transaction. I always give my PIN when using a debit card at Aldi.

                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                          Odd. I don't believe I've ever given them my PIN or had to punch it in on the machine. Minnesota.

                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                            Also in MN; I swipe my debit card, the cashier asks "Pin or no pin?", I answer "No pin" and we're done

                                                                                                            1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                              If you don't have a PIN, how do you use the card in an ATM?

                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                I don't think they're saying they dont' have a PIN, they're saying they choose to use the card as credit, not debit (the latter requiring you to input a PIN). My bank charges a fee for every transaction with the card used as debit (inputting a PIN) but not when used as credit (no pin required), even though the money comes out of the account the same way. But places that require cash or debit, I have to put in the PIN to use it or pay cash or write a check. I don't shop at Aldi's so I don't know their policy, just explaining the PIN comment above.

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                  I do have a pin that I use at ATMs. My credit union protects my card if at the POS I choose the "Credit" option and sign for the transaction. Aldi does not ask me to select credit or debit on the POS. I usually don't have to actually sign unless the amount is over an amount determined by the store. The money is deducted the next day from my checking account rather than billed to me monthly as would happen if my card was actually a credit card. I can't explain how this works; I just know that this is the process.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                    It's a debit card. If you have a PIN and the card works at ATMs, it is also a cash card. Somehow, if the PIN is entered it saves Aldi some money on the transaction, at least it does in Minnesota.

                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          OK, thank you to everyone for your feedback. I did make a shopping trip to my local Aldi.

                                                                                                          My first dilemma was to decide whether I share snare one of the TWO stray shopping carts from the parking lot and make 25 cents on the deal. Not knowing the etiquette, I decided against it (but in hindsight, wish I'd done it.)

                                                                                                          The selection was pretty much as I'd expected from reading this thread. Lots of knock-off/off-brand stuff, limited selection. Just one size of eggs, just one kind of whole wheat bread, that sort of thing.

                                                                                                          When I got to the check-out there was some confusion because the cashier (for whatever reason) hadn't rung through all of the previous customer's purchases. There were still a dozen or so items on the conveyor belt even though that woman had already paid and was packing up.

                                                                                                          The clerk just sort of stared at me like I was supposed to be doing something. So there was this awkward moment where the clerk, the previous customer, and I had to discuss whose groceries were whose, then me frantically unloading my cart while the cashier finished ringing out the previous customer.

                                                                                                          I had set out some bags before I left the house, but in my rush to get to work, I inadvertently left the bags behind. So, I had intended to buy some bags but had already rung out and paid by the time I realized she never asked me if I wanted to buy any bags. I just assumed there would be a point where she asked (just like the point at Whole Foods where they ask, "Did you bring your own bags?") There wasn't. So I had to interrupt the next customer's transaction to ask the clerk what the deal was with the bags.

                                                                                                          THen there was the whole weird thing about you can buy these less expensive paper bags, but they don't have handles, or those more expensive plastic bags. Because I wanted handles, I opted for the plastic bags, which I found frustratingly narrow and almost useless.

                                                                                                          I didn't buy any produce because from reading various comments on Chowhound, I had the impression it's all near expiration date. And it's not under refrigeration at the Aldi I was at. I really only have time to do one major grocery shop a week. I don't want to have to shop daily for produce so I can use it up before it goes bad. I might not mind shopping daily at a farmers market kind of setting for what's freshest, but I'm not into buying what I fear might be nearly spoiled produce,

                                                                                                          Anyway, as far as the other items I bought: toilet paper, coffee filters, paper towels: all fine. Knock-off Cheez-It's: I and my husband are pretty convinced that Sunshine foods just sells its burned batches of Cheez-It's to Aldi. They weren't bad, honestly, but obviously had been in the oven a little too long. On-sale frozen pizza: okay for cheap frozen pizza (my expectations were pretty low, I'll admit). Whole wheat bread: absolutely awful. I wouldn't be surprised to find sawdust as an ingredient. There are some things I bought that I haven't tried yet.

                                                                                                          Honestly, though, maybe I shouldn't have gone on such a gray, soggy day, and maybe I was just a little rattled about the whole check-out experience, but my overall impression is that I was shopping like a poor person, not a thrifty person just spending money wisely. Just something about the whole warehouse experience perhaps, or that panic I felt while standing at the cash register that "I hope I brought enough cash." I don't know.

                                                                                                          I suppose I wouldn't mind just swinging by once a week to buy staples milk, bread and eggs, except that 1) I found the bread to be an abomination which means I'm going to have to stop somewhere else for bread anyway and 2) I didn't find the checkout experience to be very fast, but, rather chaotic (partly, I'll admit, but not entirely because of my own confusion over buying bags), so I anticipate a bit of an ordeal instead of a quick in and out for basics.

                                                                                                          Anyway, I should probably give it one more chance now that I know the deal, but I'm not really relishing the idea of a second trip...

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            Give it a few more trips. That check out confusion must be rare, because every time I've shopped at Aldi (hundreds of times, the store is a mile away) the clerks have been quite efficient. The clerks will never ask you if you want a bag. They are at the checkout and you just put them on the belt along with your other purchases.

                                                                                                            About the produce...We have been mostly quite satisfied with the quality. It's easy to tell the freshness, even with the packaging on some of it.

                                                                                                            Which Aldi location did you go to? I have been to different Aldi locations and the vibe is different at the store on Rice Street (this store had a security guard when I was there a while ago) or Univeristy Avenue when compared to the Mounds View, Blaine, or Coon Rapids locations.

                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                              Franklin Ave.

                                                                                                              Hmmm...the bags were not accessible. They were behind the counter and you had to ask. That's not really a show-stopper though. Next time I intend to bring my own.

                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              So re the checkout- they're usually pretty efficient. Could have just been an off moment. Fr the next time, keep your bags in the trunk. I usually have a bunch of plastic grocery bags.

                                                                                                              I usually buy the produce even though its not in the fridge. The store I shop in has so much turnover that they are constantly putting out fresh merchandise. The employees will usually get stuff from the back if you ask.

                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                TDQ, your first Aldi's experience pretty much mirrors my own. I wasn't wowed at first and it took me a few visits to find the knack and the things I really came to buy. I'm a convert now. Aldi's stock changes pretty often and they also have seasonal items.

                                                                                                                Recently I bought the sunflower seed bread. It's a pumpernickel thin sliced slab with flecks of seed throughout the loaf. I really like it toasted with goat cheese and lox for breakfast. I probably passed that item without noticing it dozens of times and then I had lunch with a friend who had bought the bread. Come to think of it, a good deal of my best buys from Aldi's started out total accidents.

                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                  I'm going to look for that bread!

                                                                                                                  And I'm very jealous of your breakfast.
                                                                                                                  It's my toughest meal of the day.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                    These flat loaves come in sunflower seed, traditional German pumpernickel and the 3rd flavor escapes me at the moment. Maybe someone else reading along will recall. They freeze really well too.

                                                                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                  Aw that sucks.

                                                                                                                  In Alabama, our bags are right under the conveyor and are self-serve and they never ask if you need any.

                                                                                                                  The vegetable produce shelf life is about a 2 weeks unless a) bagged (ie cheap spinach, sometimes as low as $.99/bag and pre-washed) in which case maybe 3 weeks or b) avocados which can change in about 2 days. Fruit lasts fine.

                                                                                                                  Their kettle chips are good as are their knock off wheat thins (even the light ones) and triscuits.

                                                                                                                  The cheapest loafs of bread at $.99 are weak but they're "upgraded" ones (not sure what they are called) at around $1.79 are a good bit better. They're also $2-3 less than name brand loaves of bread. The English muffins are fine for about $1 if you like toasted English muffins.

                                                                                                                  The pizzas are pretty bad, at least the regular mama cosi ones.

                                                                                                                  Their whole grain mustard, which they don't always carry at mine, is a steal at around $3 compared to Maille (~$6) which we also devour by the jar (mostly for vinaigrettes, salads and with good salumi)

                                                                                                                  You can apparently return anything for a full refund and they also offer some type of replacement (ie probably a refund on the bread plus another loaf of your choice) but I have not returned much.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Dax

                                                                                                                    Although it has been some time since I've had the Aldi pizza from the refrigerated case, I would put it on par with Papa Murphy's bake-at-home pizza. I have not had the frozen pizza.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Dax

                                                                                                                      Great tips, everyone. I'll definitely give it another try. Maybe even the produce :).

                                                                                                                      And next time I'll check under the conveyor for bags (even though I intend to bring my own...). Maybe only the plastic bags are behind the counter?

                                                                                                                      I'll look for that sunflower bread HillJ!

                                                                                                                      I probably should have returned the bread... I'll try to remember that for next time if I'm dissatisfied with anything.

                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                      1. Always bring your shopping bag(s)
                                                                                                                      2. Always have a quarter for cart "rental".

                                                                                                                      These things are usually not a problem for those from outside of the U.S.

                                                                                                                      Generally, as in all grocery stores, shop the perimeter.
                                                                                                                      I avoid most, if not all, Aldi "branded" packaged stuff--overly processed IMO..
                                                                                                                      We don't eat meat, but I have heard not-so-good things about Aldi meat. YMMV.
                                                                                                                      We go for the dairy (Jarlsberg cheese! Inexpensive milk and cream) and basic produce: onion, garlic, citrus, peppers.

                                                                                                                      I think the flowers and plants (when fresh and available) are great! We also hit the frozen case for our favorite Aldi-brand purchase: fruit bars! We also shop the Aldi (aka German) chocolate isle when we are feeling the need (and waistbands) for "sweets".

                                                                                                                      It's not an "everything" store, but can be a nice supplement to a CSA or Farmers' Market or small local grocer in my experience.
                                                                                                                      p.s nuts! forgot to add nuts. Almonds especially, much much cheaper here. Good to know if you bake.

                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                        Aldi probably won't work as your "one major grocery shop a week" place; I know it wouldn't for me. I go about once every 2 weeks to restock my favorites.

                                                                                                                        That said, I still stand by my newfound appreciation for Aldi produce. Although I don't think it is refrigerated the turnover is so great that it is often cold from the frequent restocking. The cashiers at the Rice street store are unfailingly cheerful and amazingly efficient. Frankly, I have experienced a lot more problems lately at the Byerly's near my house (rotted produce, sale prices not programmed into the computer 12 hours after the weekly circular comes out, indifferent customer service) than I ever have at Aldi.

                                                                                                                        I did not care for the Mama Cosi frozen pizza either.

                                                                                                                        Oh, and for a more peaceful shopping experience, try the Woodbury store. I stopped in last Saturday afternoon to check it out and was one of about 12 people in the store. I had read that some stores have some more upscale offerings based on neighborhood demographics but this did not seem to be the case here.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                          I think the local store manager has some say about the 'specials' they have at their store. Just prior to Easter the Columbia Heights Aldi had frozen pierogies while the Mounds View and Coon Rapids locations did not. (Columbia Heights has a lot of residents of east European heritage, ie. Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, etc. although not as many as they used to have.)

                                                                                                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                          Just judge the produce with an educated eye. Last year they always had zucchini at amazing prices. They were nice, firm and lasted as long as those purchased from the farmers market. Blueberries were another terrific purchase. Just look it over carefully and know the product.

                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                            Definitely give it another chance. Or two. That whole checkout thing was an aberration, given my experience.

                                                                                                                            One hint if you forget the bags -- grab an empty cut-down box or two from the "shelves" and take it with you to the checkout. Make sure the cashier sees it first and most of them will put it in the extra cart and fill that rather than just tossing items into the cart. I've been known to move a couple of items out of a shelf box onto the remaining items if I'm truly desperate; sometimes there's a wire cage full of empty boxes in the store.

                                                                                                                  2. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                    All your quarters are someone else's "Diseased quarters", unless you get them straight from the Mint.

                                                                                                                    And since you return the cart anyway, there's no punishment!

                                                                                                                    1. re: L2k

                                                                                                                      That is exactly what I was thinking ...

                                                                                                                    2. re: al b. darned

                                                                                                                      >>I'm getting punished for other's laziness.<<

                                                                                                                      Practically every rule/law in this country was put in place because of someone else's laziness, carelessness, rudeness, or just plain stupidity.

                                                                                                                      Since people won't do the courteous thing on their own, the company feels obliged to try to legislate common courtesy.

                                                                                                                      I understand why it happens, but like al b. darned, I find it annoying. And ubiquitous.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Transplanted Texan

                                                                                                                        Or maybe the cart/coin thing prevents my car from being dinged and dented by roll away carts in parking lots. That's worth a quarter! Whatever the reason for the policy it's not a dealer breaker for me and the thousands of people shopping at Aldi's. I hope the location near me continues to operate, expand, hire people and offer great deals.

                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                          Yep--my understanding is that the quarter-cart thing is basically to ensure that people don't leave them rolling and rusting all over the parking lot (as seen in epidemic proportions at other establishments) or roll them home to the apartment building up the street, etc.

                                                                                                                          There are a shocking number of people in this world who think that basic rules of civil conduct do not apply to them, and there's nothing like working a service/retail job to see these types at their worst. Having spent a good deal of my teens and twenties working in retail (including grocery stores), the various tricks used by Aldi and some other retailers to mandate small details that SHOULD be a matter of civility actually kind of tickle me.

                                                                                                                          I don't know if it's a by-product of the rules or if there's only certain personality types among the general populace who are willing to put up with the rules, but my experience has been that Aldi generally seems to have the most diverse and polite group of shoppers I've ever encountered in a store. I wish they had better meats and produce, too, but dang...if you're in the process of pinching pennies and living low on the hog, it's grocery Mecca.

                                                                                                                          1. re: dingey

                                                                                                                            You lost me at: living low on the hog, it's grocery Mecca...but the rest of your comments reflect the kind interaction I've experienced shopping at Aldi's.

                                                                                                                            I wouldn't shop anywhere just to save $ but if I can find what I need and save $ all the better. Aldi's doesn't fill my entire shopping order each week but they contribute to the amt.. of green that stays in my wallet. Thank you, Aldi's!

                                                                                                                            1. re: dingey

                                                                                                                              Well said dingey. I worked in the deli dept of a small indy supermarket in my teens and it left me really disillusioned about people. If I were president I'd be tempted to decree that everyone has to work a service job for six months just to see how things look from the other side of the counter.
                                                                                                                              Took a nice little quick trip with my friend John who had never been to Aldi this past friday. Got everything I needed in case I lost power during the snow on sat near Phily (I did!) quickly and easily. John grabbed way too much stuff and didn't have enough money to cover all his snacks and drinks and the cashier remained patient and sweet as John held up the line while he asked her to take off random items, about two thirds of his order one piece at a time. I was impressed. Plus the flyer has some nice holiday chocolates on sale soon. That cashier was so nice that I forgot to smack John in the parking lot. I owe him one. :)

                                                                                                                      2. There is a new shopping center going in near the mall I frequent when running errands, and I'm finally going to have an Aldi close enough to be worthwhile (currently the closest is 45 minutes away, and not near anything else I need). I doubt it will be a one-stop-shop for me, but I'm still excited to have the option at all. I already try to bring my own bags most of the time, so that isn't a problem. The quarter for a cart might take some time to get used to since I rarely have change on hand, but I expect I will just end up keeping an Aldi-quarter in the car ash tray.

                                                                                                                        1. currently they are carrying in my area, a 1# bag of pastachios for around $6. they are compariable to the nuts we were able to get before the embargo with Iran many years ago now.

                                                                                                                          1. my first visit to Aldi's was about a month ago, prices were good for things I would use like canned beans and creamed corn at 49c a can but beware a lot of their goods are Made In China including foods which I won't buy.
                                                                                                                            The large size Half and Half was $2.49 I was pleased with that. Much of the food is junk food like sodas, candy, chips, instant ramen, stuff that I rarely ever buy. I think Aldi is great if you are having a party and want and need those kind of things and paper products and if you don't mind the no-brand items. I would go again with a bit more time on my hands and see what's worth having.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: smartie

                                                                                                                              You need to check labels in any store this days, you'd be surprised how much come from China. It's not just Aldi's

                                                                                                                              1. re: LikestoEatout

                                                                                                                                true and I do, cheap = China. I make a real effort in every store to NOT buy Chinese made goods.

                                                                                                                            2. Stop & Shop is selling 15 oz. cans of pure pumpkin for 1.99/can this week and Aldi's is and will be selling the same size can of pure pumpkin for .99/can until their supplier stops offering it.
                                                                                                                              I'd call that a bargain.

                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                And it made a great pumpkin pie Monday!

                                                                                                                                1. re: Dax

                                                                                                                                  Good for you Dax! I buy their canned pumpkin by the pallet and save 1/2 on every can.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                    I sure hope you work in the food service industry somehow... if not, that's a heck of a lot of pumpkin for your family to eat!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ditdah

                                                                                                                                      Yes & yes Ditdah. We love pumpkin and we have some issue getting our hands on it all year long.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                        I'm glad to hear the pumpkin is good. I find that some products at Aldi are wonderful, and some are deeply discounted for a reason. I'll have to stock up on the pumpkin! (Although I don't see a pallet in my future...)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ditdah

                                                                                                                                          Couldn't agree more on the quality and consistency of Aldi's. They def. have a place in my overall food budget tho. And their canned pumpkin is not only good quality pure canned pumpkin at half the price but that price or LOWER the entire run (Oct-early Dec). Happy shopping!

                                                                                                                              2. Their weekly meat special could use some help. $1.59/lb for pork shoulder...Wegmans sells it for $ 1.29/lb.
                                                                                                                                I have some cooking in my slow cooker right now. I am however using some Aldi Tuscan garden bottled cole slaw dressing to make some cole slaw. It was good before,, and I think it was only .99cents a bottle.

                                                                                                                                1. I'll preface my post by saying I'm not much of a coffee critic or coffee 'snob' but I do like a good cup of coffee (although I no longer even drink it daily). Several months ago I bought a 3/4 lb. bag of the Walmart brand of whole coffee beans and was not impressed. I went back to the Aldi pre-ground grocery store variety of coffee. A few days ago I bought a 3/4 lb. bag of the Aldi 'Donut Store Blend' of whole coffee beans. The package was the same color as Dunkin' Donuts, you get the idea. Anyway, I found it to be quite good and worth the extra money, I think it comes to about $6/lb. I should say I have never purchased the real thing, the Dunkin' Donuts whole coffee beans. They might be far superior.

                                                                                                                                  1. I actually live right next to an Aldi's...personally, I love it!

                                                                                                                                    A gallon of milk (Skim, 2%, or Vit D) is always under $3. They always have great deals on fresh produce! I've gone several times to find 99 cent pineapples and 29 cent avocados. Their spices are also quite cheap...99 cents for an entire bottle, affordable extra virgin olive oil, 99 cent tortillas.

                                                                                                                                    I wasn't a big fan of their knockoff Oreos though. I have noticed that they've started carrying Fage yogurt (about $2.29 for a tub of 0%) and they also have Kefir.

                                                                                                                                    1. This is a pretty good blog but will be better when/if guest contributors can review products.

                                                                                                                                      http://aldishopper.blogspot.com/

                                                                                                                                      I'm not affiliated with this blog in any way.

                                                                                                                                      1. My experiences:

                                                                                                                                        Most commodities - milk, eggs, coffee filters, canned foods - identical with major store brands.

                                                                                                                                        Snack foods vary. Some of the chips distinctly have that off-brand flavor (IE, you'd never confuse their potato chips with Lay's.) The snack meats such as beef sticks and pepperoni are pretty good and cheap but not as full flavored as major brands like "Old Wisconsin".

                                                                                                                                        Fresh vegetables are surprisingly good, if you select well and take care of the veggies. Example: their asparagus is quite cheap by the pound. However, theirs is somewhat dry and has dried out stem ends, because it's; shrink wrapped the store does not mist veggies.At home I trim the ends off and place the bunch in a can of water in the fridge like a "bouquet" - this keeps the asparagus lively and brings it back. Onions, fresh garlic, mushrooms, potatoes, and fruits are usually a great bargain.

                                                                                                                                        The worst experiences I've had have been with Aldi's store brand meats.

                                                                                                                                        "Grandessa" thick sliced bacon in a 1.5 lb package for $5.49 seemed identical when cooked to normal non premium store bacon. It was definitely not comparable to Wright bacon which WalMart has on sale for $5.99 at times. (I returned it after one meal using it and got a refund.)

                                                                                                                                        The individually wrapped beef filets at $1.89 for a 5 oz filet seemed like a great bargain. I grilled a few several months ago that were wonderful. One I grilled recently was full of tough connective tissue, almost like silverskin, and it was so "stiff" that it hurt my gums to chew. I will not buy these now. However, a pair of beef filet mignon filets for $4.99 we got a month ago was tender and succulent.

                                                                                                                                        The small pork tenderloins at $3.99/lb are a good bargain. Two things: again like the beef filets, the tenderloins I've bought and cooked recently are full of tough connective tissue that really should have been trimmed, which reduces the yield. And the Aldi pork tenderloins shrink like crazy when cooked.

                                                                                                                                        Aldi runs some fantastic deals on Smithfield products, like ham steaks for $3.99/lb and smoked pork chops for $4.99/lb (one third less than Kroger per pound.)

                                                                                                                                        I think with meat at Aldi's, you definitely get what you pay for. I do not consider Aldi very reliable for fresh meats.

                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: donw9876

                                                                                                                                          And ironically...meats are usually the one thing at ALDI that are not a good deal. Their meat prices seem not as competitive as most of their other things.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: rochfood

                                                                                                                                            We've tried the Aldi's here a couple of times and I'm just not feeling it. The coolers are always malfunctioning so there's condensation on all the doors, the shrink-wrapped produce looks like it's wet inside, and the cashiers are absolutely  surly and handle the groceries like they are disgusted by them. Prices are ok but easily matchable at other places and you don't have to screw with bringing your own bags and that stupid cart slot. Where others choose to shop is no concern to me, but Aldi's is off the list for our household. 

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Samalicious

                                                                                                                                              Where are you located? Our experience with Aldi has been about the opposite of yours. The store is clean, I have never seen a malfunctioning cooler or freezer, the produce more resembles what donw9876 wrote. The only meats I have purchased are the fresh pork and chicken and they have always been fine. We have occasionally bought the cheap all-beef hotdogs when feeding a crowd of young people. The staples are all comparable to mainstream grocery stores. Finally, the cashiers at the Aldi stores I have been to in Minnesota are all efficient, and personable. We know them by name and they know us by sight. Oh, and the prices are all mostly about 30% lower than regular grocer stores.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: rochfood

                                                                                                                                              My thoughts exactly as far as the meats.

                                                                                                                                              As far as Don's comments on the chips, I love their kettle chips and "baked lays."

                                                                                                                                              And no offense Don, but the $1.89 5 oz filets are scary and filled with some brine solution.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Dax

                                                                                                                                                I think the house brand regular potato chips from Aldi are much better tasting than Lay's.

                                                                                                                                                The meats there? I avoid them like the plague. One wonders what they're hiding behind the heavy handed brining.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I go to Aldi for price and taste together. The meats are not much better priced than most grocery stores. I don't buy a lot of grocery store meat anyway but make sure it's not brined if i can help it.

                                                                                                                                          2. Overnight our local Aldi's was transformed! The crew rearranged the aisles and merchandise, added new refrigeration units, there's a new bread dept. New products in every aisle, a larger home appliance/housewares dept., countless new cheeses and dairy products, more produce and fresh flowers to select, on and on. I even found fresh herbs today. More jarred imports too.

                                                                                                                                            Well...I've been a fan of this location since it opened but my loyalty meter just went up.

                                                                                                                                            Has anyone else experienced a remodel at their Aldi location?

                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: brilynn79

                                                                                                                                                I went back this afternoon to take a better look around. Truly a transformation for this location. I'm loving it. I bought a bunch of chocolate bars to make mousse this week and brown sugar I was low on. Spent $8.00-love me Aldi's!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                Ours did this about two months ago and at first it was a pain to learn where everything had moved but we are getting used to it. They did change out the fridges and add more cheeses, plus more sliced loaf bread options. As someone else noted, their original plain wheat must have been primarily comprised of sawdust but the newer (and slightly more expensive whole wheat) is better.

                                                                                                                                                Not food related, but we grabbbed one of those 10 ft offset umbrellas for $60 last week. This is a great price compared to the box stores and/or online vendors if the quality is reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                  The Aldi closest to us made the same change in January.

                                                                                                                                                  They also sold several 6' refrigerator and freezer units for $200 each. That would be a bargain for the small ethnic grocers that are around or independent convenience stores.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                    Even one for a BnB owner or caterer!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      Which Aldi is that, John? I am in your general area and usually shop the Rice street store.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                        Mounds View at County Road 10 and Long Lake Road.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Just got back from our local Aldi store. Pleased to find out they are tip-toeing into the organic arena. I picked up jarred salsa and a bottle of olive oil. They also had dried pasta and a few other packaged goods. I'd love to see this trend spill over into the produce and dairy sections!

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                                      I have seen some organic produce, not much but I do recall there was some.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Danger! I just noticed Aldi stocking their Benton brand of samoa cookies (the ones with the coconut and chocolate) for about $1.79. Yeah, I realize I'm only supporting my growing belly rather than the GS organization, but at 1/2 the price, I can live with that. And they are damn good out of the freezer (where I store almost all GS cookies).

                                                                                                                                                      Edit: I mispelled samoa! Great tip on the crust HillJ.

                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Dax

                                                                                                                                                        You are too funny Dax. Those samao cookies make an excellent crumb crust for homemade ice cream pies.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I generally look at the Aldi's ad just for what the weird specials are that week. Picked up some nice silpat knock offs very cheap. In general, the store in my location is small and dismal, the produce not worth the bother and the clerks are surly.

                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                          How disappointing for you. Our nearby Aldi rocks! Recent redesign of the store layout solidified my devotion.

                                                                                                                                                          and while my eyes are on this thread, I thought I'd share this fun write up on the top reasons this blogger thinks Aldi rocks:

                                                                                                                                                          http://www.susanhardy.org/2011/10/foo...

                                                                                                                                                          Especially liked the comment about German food stuffs you can buy!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                            Where do you live? I think it sounds as if it is a store management issue. The employees at my Aldi's in a college town of 50K [Ames, IA] are efficient and polite. Although the produce selection isn't huge, the prices are phenomenal and quality average or better. I bought a package of four specialty lettuces specialty-packed together for pennies on the dollar in comparison to what our regional high-end grocer would charge and the quality and taste was out of this world].

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                                                                                                                Actually I'm in Salina, KS now. (Guess I need to update.) The Tulsa Aldi store were much larger and had better produce.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                                                                That package of 4 heads is $1.99 in our Aldi (Bhm, AL) and we get it nearly every visit for a two weeks worth of salads. Apparently "Artisan Lettuce" is also the brand name.

                                                                                                                                                                http://www.taproduce.com/consumer/tra...

                                                                                                                                                            1. We've only dashed in to our local Aldi in the past. Remember buying our last two Thanksgiving turkeys there. Also trays of frozen hash browns...

                                                                                                                                                              But we're weaning ourselves from Kroger. Just have had tooooo many bad experiences with that mega grocer. So earlier this week my wife and I dedicated a exploratory trip to Aldi.

                                                                                                                                                              Our major impression, was a "wow" for the prices and freshness of the produce offered. Brought home a five pound bag of baking potatoes, a package of three broccoli crowns, a head of cauliflower my wife declaired "beautiful", four sets of green onions, an artisan mixed greens tub, and mini sweet pepper package.

                                                                                                                                                              Baked four of the six potatoes in that five pound package for dinner that night. Could have been a meal in themselves. They were fresh, firm and tasty.

                                                                                                                                                              Did some other light shopping while there (more frozen hash browns, a package of frozen five inch cheese pizza rounds...). But the small, but impressive produce section won us over. Looking forward to the next shopping stop there.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Here's a good article in my local newspaper about Aldi's. It covers some comparisons to other chains and Aldi's history: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/arti...

                                                                                                                                                                My wife and I shop there for fresh produce and commodities [eggs, milk, bread] a few times per month. Prices for commodities can be up to a dollar cheaper [such as milk] and are of acceptable quality. Produce is incredibly well-priced and often of average to above-average quality. However, do look at it closely. I have bought private-label canned veggies and beans that are well-priced and decent quality. I read some comments that people feel that the fresh produce may not last long, but with a look over it before selecting, I have had produce last as long as any high-end store or farmer's market. I really think where some of the real cost-savings comes from is Aldi's sells irregular [and smaller] sized citrus, for example [versus buying old and nearly expired produce as some have suggested]. The most frustrating thing is that if I find something that I really like, it may or may not be in stock each time we shop there. Overall, I really like Aldi's for produce and commodities.

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                                                                                                                                                  I really enjoyed the article. Aldi has won over a great many originally hesitant shoppers in my area. The increase in new customers has changed how quickly I run over for advertised bargains now--they sell out a lot faster.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                    They do sell out of the advertised specials,but the employees will usually let me know when/if they expect more.

                                                                                                                                                                    I recently bought an over-the-sink strainer and mandolin from there.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: cheesecake17

                                                                                                                                                                      I picked up a knock off silpat from Aldi's from their advertised specials. I'm pretty happy with it. Probably should have bought more.

                                                                                                                                                                2. I shop at Aldi's once in a while, but their stores kind of creep me out. Is it just me or are all of their employees stone-faced and emotionless? They don't even smile, or acknowledge you, or offer any help with anything - they just walk right past you and ignore you, and when you're checking out, they just robotically ring your stuff up with a blank look on their faces.

                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm in St.Paul, MN and the employees of the Aldi where I shop are personable, helpful and seem to be particularly sweet and patient with the large number of the eldery who shop there. The cashiers enjoy chatting about their favorite products (a la TJ's) while ringing up my purchases at lighting speed. I like shopping there more than I do at a nearby upscale supermarket where the employees are much more interested in each other than they are in their customers.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                      I shop mostly at the Mounds View Aldi and have a similar impression. The manager is a young gal who has been there for years and many of the cashiers have been there for years as well. They always acknowlege me and when I make eye contact with them when they are working in the aisle we exchange some form of greeting.

                                                                                                                                                                      If someone has an Aldi store with less than friendly staff, it's not about Aldi but more likely about how friendly the people are in general to relative strangers in their part of the country.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pwmfan

                                                                                                                                                                        The cashiers are always super friendly, and make great recommendations. I was there recently, and the only one on line, and the cashier offered to show me where the blueberry cheddar was located.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Atomic76

                                                                                                                                                                        Oh, that must just be your location. I've shopped at a few Chicago locations and have always had friendly cashiers. That being said, they have so few staff per store who are required to do a lot of work - perhaps they were just preoccupied?

                                                                                                                                                                      3. Our Aldi has the 4.99 mandolines if one is looking to tiptoe into using that particular cooking tool.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have to confess I haven't tried either one, but I got a Vermont Country Store (VCS) catalog yesterday after having been at Aldi's for the first time the day before that. The various stollens and the descriptions in the VCS catalog looked suspiciously like the ones at Aldi's- for a lot less of course. Aldi's $4.95 vs. about $20-25 from the VCS catalog. Edited to add that the ingredient lists for the Aldi's stollens looked pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: janmcbaker

                                                                                                                                                                            I was at World Market this weekend janmcbaker and noticed they had 2-3 stollen options for under $10 each. I have not tried them though ...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: janmcbaker

                                                                                                                                                                              Vermont Country Store has a wonderful catalog, but they are expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: janmcbaker

                                                                                                                                                                                By the end of November I'll start to see pre made, boxed Panettone everywhere for sale. The grocery, bakery, Italian specialty stores..and Aldi. It would cost me more to make it from scratch.

                                                                                                                                                                                Aldi will be where I buy it because the Panettone is delicious and the best value around. Panettone freezes well, makes fantastic french toast, btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                So I'll be stocking up.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: janmcbaker

                                                                                                                                                                                  The butter and almond stollen from Aldi was really great. I believe it was Deutsche Kuche brand.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. The cheese selections at Aldi are way up. I counted 12 different styles. All within the $1.99 to $4.99 price range., The brie pallet was whipped out. Holiday goodies.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                    And the Dubliner is back. $3.29

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, I saw the Dubliner there.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My local Aldi has eggs for .49 per dozen,limit of 3 dozen per person. I just stocked up.

                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kat

                                                                                                                                                                                      Here I was thinking the .89/dozen/limit 4 was a super deal-that is a downright steal! I bought 2 dozen and stocked up on the $1.29/# unsalted butter, no limit for Christmas cookie baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                        Can't beat those prices. Guess I need to give our local Aldi another try.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                          The surrounding grocers keep trying but Aldi has them beat week after week on basics.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                                                            our Aldi isn't nearly as nice as some of the ones listed above, but that said, my biggest problem with Aldi is that I don't feel like I can go there in one shopping trip and get everything I need/want. So I have to commit to the time and a trip to two stores. And, of course, it isn't conveniently located anywhere close to my preferred store. However I use a lot of butter and eggs in holiday baking, and I'm a sucker for cheese. It's enough to make me give it another try.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I hope you have a better experience. I can't buy everything I need/want there or anywhere actually so I'm typically all over the joint food shopping wise.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I found that they had good prices for baguettes in France, which is to say, it's not hard to find a cheap good baguette in France, unless Aldi is the only option...

                                                                                                                                                                                      The quality is decent enough, particularly when I don't have a choice. Greens, cheese, baguette, and fruit juice for less than €3-4? Good.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Haven't been to one in the US yet, though every time I'm by the 46th St. SEPTA station in Philly, it's tempting.