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Jan 1, 2010 08:11 PM

Aldi Trader Joe Connection?

A friend of mine told me that Aldi and Trader Joe were owned by the same corporation, or at least in the US.

Anyone know if this is true?

And if so, are there are Aldi products that are the same as TJ and vice versa. I find both to be very affordable, of course Aldi is 100% no frills and TJ is all about thrills.

I am, like a lot of folks, on a minuscule monthly budget for groceries and I am trying to get geared up to stock up for the next month when I get my food stamps.

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  1. ALDI actually owns (indirectly, through a trust) Trader Joe's.

    1. You definitely won't find the same names on products, but you will find consistent good quality at Aldi. I suspect some items are the same, especially the orange chicken that's so raved about at TJ's.

      I'm no fan of TJ's. Yes, many of their products are cheaper than you'll find in a boutique grocery, but I've been dissatisfied with at least half the things I've bought there. Where I live, though, it's chic to shop at TJ's whereas people are unimpressed when you tell them you shop at Aldi.I find this stupid. If I were using food stamps, I'd stay out of TJ's altogether and make Aldi my first stop for as many items as I could. Their prices can't be beat.

      10 Replies
      1. re: Emm

        I agree Emm,

        Its rather ridiculous for folks to dismiss Aldi's because they may have to return their own cart (god forbid) or use a box (usually freely available in the aisle) to box up their groceries. This is particularly true when, in my experience, the quality of most items is very high and the savings are substantial. I make it my first stop and pick up extras they may not stock elsewhere. Nine times out of ten, I don't even need to make the second stop, my local store stocks nearly everything I need on a weekly basis. I have read a couple people say that if they were using food stamps they would shop at Aldi's. This is illogical to me. If you were on foodstamps and shopped at Aldi's your foodstamps would go further, but you would save no "money" because foodstamps cannot be used for non-food items (unless sold in the black market?). But if you are not on foodstamps and shop at Aldi's you save your own hard-earned money and can use the savings for whatever you like....

        I've also read several people dismiss Aldi's and praise Trader Joe's in the same post, as you illuded to Emm. It is almost as if these folks have their worth tied in some way to the decor in the grocery store they shop at.

        Some dude who became a gluttonous pig in this elder years, but who displayed a great deal of whit and wisdom as a you guy once said, a penny saved is a penny earned.

        1. re: PUSH82

          I would have no problem trashing ALDI and Praising Trader's Joes
          Recvently went to a brand new ALDI at college age daughter's insistence (she shops at one at school). Found mostly off brand, poor quality goods. The frozen items were very high in salt and fat content. The vegetables and fruit looked old. Milk was cheap, but dated out only 2 days, so throwing out 2/3 gallon makes it very expensive.

          Trader Joe's near me has lot's of fresh fruits and vegetables. Milk is dated out 10 days, Lots of low fat, low salt products available.

          I use my own bags, so it's not an issue in euther place. I like the Aldi cart deposit, Save dings in my car in the lot.

          1. re: bagelman01

            Don't get me wrong: there are some items I won't buy at Aldi. But if it was your first trip there, I'm not sure how you would judge the quality of a lot of the merchandise. Yes, they sell brands you haven't heard of, but some of them are comparable to well known brands. I was uncomfortable trying them, so I made a point to just try one or two things each trip. Usually I was happy with my purchase.

            I don't buy milk at Aldi, nor do I usually buy their frest meat. A frozen whole chicken I tried definitely seemed over-brined. I don't think their plain frozen vegetables have added fat or more salt than any other brand, though. Produce quality can be hit or miss--it's easy to decide whether to buy it or not.

            TJ's produce in my area is way more pricy than at the large chain groceries, but of comparable quality. I wouldn't consider shopping there for produce.

            1. re: Emm

              Not my first trip, but my first trip to a brand new built from the ground up store.
              I've had the misfortune of trying a good number of their products.
              Their plain frozen vegetablkes are inferior quality. Reminds me of when 'No Frills' first came out in the seventies.

              1. re: bagelman01

                I agree. We lived in Europe for several years and my hubby is a huge food snob. I don't buy the "salsbury steaks" at Aldi...or anywhere for that matter....but I do find some very nice upscale items there. The Grandessa coffee is superb....finely ground, rich, and 3.99 for a lb brick. It is labeled "german roast" Best I have had since living in France. It makes Starbucks taste like "Jus de chausettes" (sock juice) as a few french friends have rated our coffees. :~)

                I find brie there, and several other items that this sleepy midwest town can't seem to supply.... much less pronounce. I do miss Trader Joes...I went there regularly while living near our closest is an hour and 45 minutes away in St. Louis. :~(

                I really appreciate Aldi. We aren't rich....but mid-middle class, in an expensive area. I don't care if we are one day millionaires....I will still love Aldi. The meats are usually not as good as other places,but that is easy to detect. If it says "enhanced with up to a % of solution" you know you are paying for salt water...and it won't taste like a fresh steak house steak.

                I find excellent produce and dairy at Aldi, and think I would be silly to buy the standards elsewhere.

                Frozen veggies? Who needs frills? That is called "processed" and I prefer simple and pure. It is as easy to find simple and pure at Aldi as at the local high priced market. :~)

            2. re: bagelman01

              who throws out milk based on the sell by date?

              1. re: scubadoo97

                We use a gallon about every 10 days. I would not use milk more than 4 days past the sell by date, so would be throwing it out.

                Also low fat milks do not hold up as well as full fat milk.

              2. re: bagelman01

                May want to look again - savings can be quite substantial vs. traditional grocers (including Walmart). While Aldi does have a limited number of products, we've found their fresh fruits and vegetables to surpass our local big store grocers (primarily Stop & Shop, Walmart and Shaws), although some items are admittedly better at the fruit / vegetable stands, albeit typically at much high prices.

                As for the milk, we've found it to outlast the majors in our area (Hood & especially Garelick). I've never seen milk dated out only a few days at our Aldi. However, since we don't use a lot of milk anymore, lately I've been getting their 2% half gallons for about the price of a quart elsewhere (with excellent shelf life).

                We've not been fully pleased with all their house brand items (generics) - especially their canned goods, but in many cases, we've found them to surpass the name brands on many items plus be substantially lower priced.

            3. re: Emm

              I'd be happy to try an Aldi's, but there are none where I live. They're just now opening their first store in what they call New York City, but I call Queens (Rego Park). They'll have to come a lot closer to me before I go to them.

              Chic or not - who cares? - TJ's has become my one-stop food store, apart from produce which I get at a nearby Korean store. Now and then I try a prepared food there that I don't like, but for me the hits have far outnumbered the misses, and whether for their prepared foods or for commodities like bread and cashews, I've nearly always been well satisfied.

              1. re: John Francis

                Today I tried their knock off (Fritos-esque) corn chips, under their name for their snacks called Clancy's. These taste just like Fritos to me. For the 9.5 oz bag, they charged only $0.99. That's a good price and the stuff was as good as the name brand.

            4. From Wikipedia's Theo Albrecht entry:

              "Theo Albrecht owns and was the CEO of the Aldi Nord discount supermarket chain. In the US he owns the Trader Joe's specialty grocery store chain. His brother Karl Albrecht owns the Aldi Süd discount supermarket chain. The two chains originally were a single family enterprise until a friendly division of assets in 1960. Aldi Süd operates the Aldi groceries in the United States. So Aldi and Trader Joe's, while owned by the brothers, have separate and distinct ownership and operations."

              Thats one reason why you won't find the same items in both stores.

                1. re: givemecarbs

                  Unless you buy only organic eggs; the .75-1.05 price per dozen at Aldi's is the best buy around. I stop at Aldi's for many basics like lb. butter, fresh bagged spinach, 3 bag avocados, garlic, a small bunch of fresh flowers for my assistant. This summer we gave the pork tenderloin a try and were very surprised by the quality. I noticed they started carrying fresh chicken parts. The Euro chocolate bars, specialty candies and treats have made wonderful additions to my gift wrapping for a few dollars. For my college kid, the detergents, bandaids, soaps, storage wraps, paper goods, sponges, etc.; all affordable. Every now and then Aldi's offers an amazing buy on small appliances. I will say this, Aldi's surprises me far more than it disappoints. They offer a money back guarantee if not delighted with a product. They don't dispute overcharges. This week a 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin was .79/each. Thank you Aldi's!

                  As for TJ's, I enjoy the Greek yogurt (only brand that freezes/defrosts well), pumpkin butter (grab it while you can), curry naan, some wine buys, jasmin tea and coffee beans. As the link above confirms, I find TJ's overpriced afterall they are re-labeling sourced brands. It's not a put down just a comment.

                  Aldi's offers space to move around, large parking lots and no frills shopping. TJ's is always crowded and hard to navigate my cart when I go, hate the tiny parking lots and the excessive packaging. Love the cow bell, tho :)

                  So, I shop at both...but I still hit the farm, the fresh markets, competitor grocery chains, Costco and the drug store before my shopping week is over.

                  Now if the big wigs could bottle the best of each of these stops into one stop, throw in an oil change and tire rotation while I'm shopping-I'd be very happy!

                  1. re: HillJ

                    Aldi's dark chocolate is very good, and at the price (the 3.5 ounce bar costs $0.99), is pretty hard to beat.
                    If you like Hershey's milk, you may not like their milk chocolate, because it's more European in character. I found all their chocolate to be amazing for the price. Don't diss them until you've tried a bunch of their stuff (read reviews here

                    1. re: emwill

                      The Euro chocolate bars, specialty candies and treats have made wonderful additions to my gift wrapping for a few dollars.
                      Which is why I stated above back in 2010....

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Thanks, HillJ! I just went to Aldi's on a fact finding mission. I bought a bunch of stuff I'm going to try and hopefully, come back on here to review.
                        You're right on that chocolate ~ it's crazy to buy anything else when theirs is so good and such a steal.

                        1. re: emwill

                          Keep an eye out for the mini chocolate library Aldi's offers around late November thru early December. I bought a few dozen as stocking stuffers. Nice little wrapped pkg. of six. for under $4.00.

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Will do. Thanks for that tip.

                2. I agree with the poster who said that most of the stuff at Aldi is of poor quality, but once in a while they sneak in a German product (I understand ownership of both Aldi and TJ is German). I have found excellent Spaetzel there, very good German-made Jaffa Cakes, and imported chocolate and other candy. Also last summer I was getting beautiful fresh big fat blueberries at Aldi for 99 cents a pint. So it pays not to be a snob and at least go in and look around.