Aldi: What’s In It For Us? Part 1

Photo Feb 01, 6 37 32 PM

Do you shop at Aldi? I love the place.

For the uninitiated, Aldi, the world’s largest grocery store chain, is what is termed a “limited selection” store — they carry only the most popular items, perhaps a tenth of the selection you would find in your big grocery store. Further, the vast majority of it is their own house brands. Combine this with very simple stocking and display, making customers bag their own groceries and insert a quarter to access a shopping cart (you get it back when you return it) to eliminate the cost of having an employee round up carts, and you get low prices.

This does not mean low quality, however. I find Aldi house brands to be uniformly good. I suspect that many, if not most, of them are made by the same big names as manufacture the stuff you see advertised on television, minus the advertising budget. Aldi’s house brands have eliminated transfats and MSG. More and more, they have “health food” items — wild-caught salmon fillets, grass fed meat, cage-free eggs, meats raised with no hormones or antibiotics. One glorious day I got Kerrygold butter for $2.49 a pound. They also have low fat and gluten-free lines, but, being carby, those don’t interest me. “Read the labels” remains my best advice.

Since cost is a big concern for many new low carbers, I wanted to make a video touring my local Aldi, showing you all the low carb stuff that’s available. I asked the manager; she referred me to Aldi’s American headquarters. Sadly, they put the kibosh on the notion; they have a strict rule against video recording in their stores.

But there’s nothing to stop me from showing you stuff I purchased there, and letting you know the prices. So that’s what I thought I’d do.

I’d been to Aldi over the weekend, hoping to buy pork rinds. Sadly, they were out. So when I found myself on that side of town yesterday, I ran in and grabbed a few things. Here’s my haul, and the prices:

3 pound sacks of “party wings” — just cut-up wings — $4.99 each (this was a sale item)
8 ounce blocks of Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack, $1.69 each
1 pound packages of bacon, $2.79 each
Avocados, 50c each (!)
Crystal Creek Cabernet $9.99 each
85% dark chocolate, $1.99 each
Pork rinds, 99c each (I actually bought a dozen, but thought they’d clutter up the photo)

As you can see, these are prices worth driving across town for.

My one caveat regarding Aldi is that I usually can get meat cheaper during loss-leader sales at my big grocery stores. But when Aldi has a sale on meat, it is often very good. Back in the fall, I stocked my freezer with chicken thighs at 49c/pound. I scrutinize the circular in my newspaper every Wednesday, and, since the weekly specials are in limited supply, if there’s a great price, I get in the car and go.

This is not a representative sample of everything I buy at Aldi, just what I needed yesterday. I’ll post more stuff, and the prices, when I buy it.

Food is not the whole game at Aldi.  Aldi’s house brand of laundry detergent, Tandil,  is the best budget laundry detergent I have ever used. I suspect it’s really Tide, but can’t back that up. I buy their disinfecting wipes, dishwashing detergent, and other household supplies. I can think of more interesting things to spend my money on, like rib eye steaks.

Just so you know: I have no financial interest in Aldi. They have not paid me. I don’t own stock (though I’d happily buy some, given the opportunity). I just think they’re a great resource for people trying to eat well on a tight budget. If you’re low carb, LCHF, keto, even paleo, there’s likely to be a deal for you.

9 Responses to Aldi: What’s In It For Us? Part 1
  1. Janet
    February 2, 2017 | 8:25 pm

    I love Aldi too! I need to see if their bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers, which went on sale yesterday, are low-carb. Their prices are good and so is the quality. I also like the size of the store. It’s kind of nice not feeling like you have to spend a couple hours in the store. You can go through all the aisles in a reasonable amount of time.

    • Dana
      February 8, 2017 | 11:04 pm

      Bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers? How did I miss those?!

  2. PennyC
    February 2, 2017 | 8:28 pm

    I just recently started shopping at Aldi (mine is 1/2 mile away) and I’ve been amazed at the quality AND prices. They have smoked salmon and gravlax at 3 oz for $3.99. Heavy cream. Cage-free organic eggs. It’s WAY better than the packaged kind at my grocery store. Their Italian sausage is great, and I agree with you about non-food items…I saved $3 on a roll of parchment paper. Haven’t tried the laundry detergent yet, but I can vouch for their dishwasher stuff. I also get their whole-wheat bread and garlic bread for my guy there. You can leave there with bags of stuff, look at your receipt, and do a double take. Thanks for this post!

  3. Judy
    February 2, 2017 | 9:37 pm

    I have been shopping and saving there for years. Their heavy whipping cream is 1.69 a pint, in season (ie baking season) cream cheese is .88. there are vegetable and/or fruit special every week………..I stagger the buying of them to have a variety on hand. And like you, I am only mentioning the things I buy for low carb. Other consistent low prices are lunchmeats (look @ carb count)cheese, smoked salmon. I’ve just about pared my food shopping down to only Aldi…

  4. Madeline Winter
    February 2, 2017 | 10:22 pm

    Yes! I love this place. There was one near me. It is closed because they are expanding and remodeling. I can’t wait till it’s done.

  5. Connie Reeves
    February 3, 2017 | 12:18 am

    I too am a loyal Aldi shopper. Would love them exclusively, but there are things I need they don’t carry. I am so glad someone else likes their detergent. It’s the best at any price that I have ever used!

    • Dana
      February 8, 2017 | 11:03 pm

      I tried a whole lot of bargain detergents, and very nearly gave up on the idea — I got tired of throwing away tee shirts with indelible stains on them. I had a truly dreadful experience with some powdered detergent I got at Sav-a-Lot: It simply would not dissolve, no matter what I did. It left gritty white junk all over my still-dirty clothes. I even tried putting the stuff in a bucket, adding water, and letting it sit, hoping I would wind up with liquid detergent. No dice. It never did dissolve.

      Then I found Tandil. Brilliant stuff — as I said, I suspect it’s really Tide with a different label, and a very different price.

  6. Dana
    February 3, 2017 | 4:00 am

    Ooooh, a bigger Aldi? Yay!

  7. Meemaw
    February 3, 2017 | 1:40 pm

    Hi Dana!
    I’ve been a loyal ALDI shopper for almost 40 years! In fact, many of the recipes I post on my website are loaded with items you’ll recognize from ALDI. Great food at low prices…What’s not to love?
    xoxo
    “Meemaw”

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