Guess what? A new Aldi just opened up nearby, and I am super excited about it! And as if an Aldi close by wasn’t enough, it’s right around the corner from our Costco! Which is fabulous, because now there are at least two out of my three shopping stops closer together!
If you are unfamiliar with Aldi, maybe you are wondering why I am so excited about this. Well, first of all, because it reminds me of home – I used to go shopping at Aldi since I was a kid. And second, the money I earned with three jobs to put me through university wouldn’t have stretched half as far as it did without the discount supermarket. So, you can say, I am a bit fond of it. But the Aldi from back then is changed. A lot — and for the better!
Here are my four biggest reasons why I love it today:
It’s Cheap Because It’s Smart
Aldi is cheap. A few days ago, we bought almost everything we need for a week’s worth of groceries for a family of four and spent $80. But that does not mean, the giant grocer compromises on quality. The chain keeps costs down by doing things differently:
- More buying power & technology innovation. About 90% of all products sold at Aldi are private-packaged. Since the company has consolidated buying power at individual suppliers, implemented smart supply chain management, and manufacturing processes, and uses extensive packaging facilities, it can sell fresh produce and packaged goods at prices that are roughly 30% lower than Walmart’s.
- Reduced labor cost. Aldi’s staff is trained in all job functions, so anyone can be utilized to jump in and help wherever help is needed at that moment in time. This eliminated capacity downtime and saves costs. There are also tasks that are simply cut out completely. For example, the cashier will ring you up, and you have to pack your groceries at the provided packing tables.
- Smaller stores. A typical supermarket in the US carries about 30,000 different items — Aldi carries only the weekly must-haves. This results in lower rents, lower electricity bills, and less staff — and quicker shopping for you.
Their Commitment To Healthier, More Natural Food
You won’t find a produce section two complete aisles long as you do in other supermarkets, but the produce choices offered include everything you need on a regular basis. It is always fresh and great quality.
Another bonus point is that Aldi’s SimplyNature line — all made without the use of over 125 artificial ingredients or preservatives.
Besides that, Aldi has removed all certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and added MSG from all its own brand products, its dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cream cheese and cottage cheese do not contain growth hormones and their Never Any!” brand of meats does not have any added antibiotics, hormones, animal by-products or other additives.
Let’s talk about plastic shopping bags for a minute. On average, a plastic bag is being used for 12 minutes, but it takes more than 1,000 years to break it down. And yet one trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide per year!
Growing up in Europe, I was shocked at the amount of little plastic bags you can amass just by going grocery shopping. I try to bring my bags, and I always get nasty or confused looks from the cashier and other shoppers.
At Aldi, you bring your own, or you buy a reusable bag when checking out.
There are hundreds of other environmentally motivated reasons, but for the sake of this blog post I do not want to go about it now. You can read it all in Aldi’s sustainability report.
Better Shopping Experience
There is a revolution going on in the US food retail market. You could almost call it a landslide. Everyone is scrambling to create smaller, more convenient, more affordable and at the same time more exquisite shopping experiences catering to millennials.
Aldi already offers that. You can go in and out very fast by cruising the wide aisles that do not get rearranged every few months to keep things interesting. Products are easily viewable as everything is stocked at eye level on only two or three shelves.
General Aldi Shopping Tips
Shopping at Aldi – here are some tips to make your shopping trip fun and enjoyable.
- Get your own shopping cart. You have to get your shopping cart in front of the store by inserting a quarter – and you have to bring it back as well. (On a sidenote: That makes parking your car a lot more convenient as shopping carts are not left standing around, blocking parking spots or bumping into cars.)
- Buy two reusable bags on your first shopping trip. They are sturdy and very roomy. We put ours in the back of the trunk as soon as we have unpacked our shopping so that we won’t forget them the next time.
- Check out the center aisle for Hot Deals. Aldi and well as other European discount grocery stores offer weekly hot deals. You have to be fast, so if you get the circular and you want something, go before it is sold out.
Kosher Aldi Shopping Tips
Despite all the benefits listed above, if you keep kosher, shopping at Aldi can be a bit of a challenge at first. It feels like you have just entered a European supermarket and there is not a product you know of which you know for sure it’s kosher by just looking at the brand. Not even Philadelphia Cream Cheese. So at first, this might be a little challenging. But I encourage you, stick with it.
Here are some of our favorite items to buy there:
- Tribe Hummus (especially the triple pack with regular, garlic and roasted red pepper hummus)
- Baking Supplies (flour, baking soda/powder, sugar, etc.
- Dairy & Eggs (Organic milk costs $2.95 which is cheaper than Costco and eggs cost $0.99/dozen)
- Fresh pizza dough in a bag (find it in the refrigerated section, It is so yummy!!!)
- Frozen veggies (there are several with OU)
- Bread and baked goods (the sourdough bread is delicious toasted)
- Snacks for the kids
- Granola and granola bars
- Some spices are certified
Hopefully, the Vaad in Germany will bring out the Kosher Lists again at the beginning of January and I will then update this post with a list of all the kosher-listed Aldi products that sold here and originally packaged from Germany – if any.
I would love to hear about your experiences! Please feel free to share them below.