I'm just wondering, because I have been hearing so much about Aldi, and found out there is one about a half hour away from me. I usually shop Market Basket and haven't ever been to Aldi. I'm curious, for instance, how much do they sell pasta/pound, toilet paper per roll, that kind of thing.
New Englanders: Aldi or Market Basket (Aldi unfamiliarity question)
I went to Aldi's once & hated it... primarily because I filled up my cart and went through checkout before I realized they don't take credit cards & had to put everything back!! (I don't carry cash, have no debit card, use credit for everything & pay it off at the end of the month...) So make sure you bring cash and a quarter for your carriage. I don't remember if you had to pay for bags.
It is a very small store (at least the one near me is). There were 4 aisles... the first was all junk food. The produce section was minuscule (about 8' square section in the back corner of the store), but the prices were very comparable to other low-cost groceries around here (Price Rite, for ex.) and looked to be in good shape. It looked like they had a lot of frozen/canned stuff. I don't know, we're vegan & don't really buy much prepackaged stuff, so I tend to buy mostly produce -- so there just wasn't much in the store that I was interested in. It was almost like a large convenience store. I can't imagine driving 1/2 an hour to go there, it just wouldn't be worth it, there are lots of similarly-priced stores around here with much wider selection.
Also, they put their produce in individual packaging (i.e. a 3-pack of zucchini). I've heard they are owned by the same company as Trader Joe's which also does that... It drives me crazy that they do that lol. But I have also heard (but not confirmed) that you can get some TJ's items at Aldi -- minus the TJ label, and a bit cheaper -- if that's a draw for you!
So basically, I was not a fan, but also never gave it a second chance since I don't like cash. If you plan a trip there, you may want to plan a trip to another grocery store on your way home, in case you aren't able to get everything you need. But maybe you will have better luck than I did!!
I find their prices on many foods very cheap compared to other off brands but if you are concerned about high fructose corn syrup and such, you will need to watch the ingredients.
We buy the following from them:
some specialty foods like water chesnuts and sauces (they don't always have these things)
I use Aldis for when money is tight and I need to stock up on stuff. I find most of their products to be a good quality and it can save me a lot of money. I am not a fan of their meats but will buy salami and a few other prepackaged stuff. I love their chocolate. I think it is worth checking them out. Make sure to bring reuseable bags, a quarter and cash. I spend between 60 and 120 depending on how much stocking up I am doing.
There has been an Aldi's in my area for years and years and I was familar with the chain from my time in Germany.
I know a lot of people who absolutely love it but they all also shop somewhere else, like they will go there for bananas, milk and juice on the way to the "real" grocery store to get the rest of the stuff they need.
I get good reports on the fruits and veggies but as cruncy mentioned, all produce is packaged which turns me off as I don't need or want to manage an entire bag of peppers when I know I will only use one. (Apparently this practice is to reduce bruising and waste.)
The one in my area is small and I stop in occasionally. The bags are 6 cents each and the store does accept debit cards, not sure about credit cards. I like their chocolates, nuts, trail mixes and some of their house brands for pasta, crackers and such. There is lots of packaged, prepared foods, side dishes in boxes,
They accept debit as well as cash.
I am a from scratch cook with mostly whole foods and I get most of my animal products from a local farmer. I use Aldi for
Organic blue corn chips
Frozen slender green beans
Dried pinto beans
Marshmallows and crispy rice for treats
Chocolate bars and assortments
White German wines
The prices are incredible and they guarantee satisfaction.
I'd try it if I were you.
Our Aldi is too small and far away to justify making a trip for us. Although I thought their prices were good, they were not significantly cheaper than the store brand at our local grocery. Also it was heavy on packaged and frozen foods so like a pp said we would still have to go to another store, which with our gas prices pretty much negates any savings. Since you mentioned yours is 30 minutes away I don't know if it is worth it unless you go to that area frequently, but maybe the once a month idea would work.
Cool. Is anyone here familiar with Market Basket who can compare the two? We have a nice (new) MB where I live and I shop there exclusively because the deals are great. Sometimes people complain that MBs are run down and "dirty"--some actually really are, but ours is new and quite nice, plus it is in a comparatively small town. Any comparisons would be great! For instance, at Market Basket, I get extra sharp cheddar for $3.33/lb, beans are .60/lb, pasta .99/lb, apples .99/lb, whole Springer Farms chickens are $1.89/lb (I try really hard to buy natural meats that are humanely raised. Can't always, but try.) What is their meat like? Thanks so much for all the info so far!
I do almost all the shopping and cooking for my family, and I absolutely LOVE Aldi!
As others have already said in their comments, there are some great buys there, but some pitfalls as well. In talking with other Aldi shoppers, I've found that the quality of produce and store cleanliness varies from store to store.
And while I've generally been pleased with the quality of the products I've bought there, there are also things that I've been greatly disappointed in and would never, ever buy again.
I've recently started documenting my experiences at Aldi on a blog - check it out when you have a chance...Cheers!
I've found that fresh meat is one of the things Aldi doesn't do so well - they have a very limited range and the quality is generally not what I can get at other stores. Their prices are not really that competitive with other stores also.
I DO buy ground beef there, and their boneless fresh chicken breasts are usually, but not always, a good buy.
I'll also occasionally run across discounted packages - such as "$1 OFF", "$5 OFF", and so on. These packages are usually still 2 or 3 days away from the "pull by date", so I'll stock up when I find them. They've been perfectly good.