Can Someone Explain Aldi's to Me? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 56 Old 08-18-2008, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have them in our area, but I'm completely curious. Wikipedia has a big write-up of Aldi's, but I'm still left wondering what I'm missing. Before I started reading about it here all I had ever heard about it was a mother on another (non-parenting/non-frugal related) board ducking her head to admit that she shops there. But mamas here don't seem to have any shame at all. Is it like Save-A-Lot? We have one here...but I get the sense that Aldi's is better than Save-A-Lot. Is it?

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#2 of 56 Old 08-18-2008, 10:51 PM
 
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Lets see, you put a quarter deposit for use of the shopping cart. They have some cheap items (often the same price as WM) you bag up your own groceries and you bring in your own boxes or bags or you pay for them 5-10 cents depending on paper or plastic. I do like their produce and dairy prices but that's about it.

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#3 of 56 Old 08-18-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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sav-a-lot and aldi's are basically the same tier of grocery stores, low overhead, private label merchandise, no advertisings, bring your own bags, pay with cash, etc, etc
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#4 of 56 Old 08-18-2008, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
sav-a-lot and aldi's are basically the same tier of grocery stores, low overhead, private label merchandise, no advertisings, bring your own bags, pay with cash, etc, etc
When you say Private Label Merchandise--do you mean brand-names that you've never heard of? That was what turned me off of Save-a-Lot...I just don't do well with off-brand name stuff. That, and everytime I walk in the Save-a-Lot I feel like I've entered a city-warp...that I'm not in my same progressively cool town, that I'm in some scary nightmare shuffly-old-man scape that I've never heard of.
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#5 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 12:10 AM
 
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Yes, on the name brands never heard of...

I do some shopping at Aldis (or will when the one closest to me re-opens - closed due to flood damage). I can get some staple items there for less than any other store in my area - olive oil, parmesan cheese, butter, some jar/can goods. Sometimes they have clothing or toy items. They always have good dark chocolate. They are not my favorite store, but they make my budget feasible.

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#6 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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I just moved to an area with Aldis. They seem to carry one brand (theirs, I think) of items. So, there is one box of cornflakes, frosted miniwheats, frsoted flakes, etc. - not Post and Kellogs and Quaker and etc. Same with everything in the store, one brand of peanut butter, one brand of salsa, one brand of crackers, etc. Everything is out in bins or pallets for the most part. They have produce (bagged - not weighed at checkout) and dairy, frozen, canned, boxed, etc. stuff. Very little household stuff like cleaners, detergent, etc.

The price and quality seem very good, IMHO. I have made 2 trips in 2 months and have stocked up on pantry items while there.
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#7 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 10:04 AM
 
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They are a German-owned company (I think?), so they have all kinds of German specialty items at different times of the year. Around the holidays there are lots of fun items (yummy chocolates, almond roca, stollen, spice cookies,etc.). I also love the German dark flat breads and the herring in sauce. They also carry some good wines and beer that are very reasonably priced.

Re the offbrand thing: oftentimes the off-brands are made by the same producers that make the more well-known brands, but just with the Aldi label. For example, at the Aldi where my folks live, the local "Swiss Valley" milk producers provide their milk, but it has the Aldi "Friendly" label.
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#8 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 10:11 AM
 
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I love Aldi. I shopped there when we lived in Germany and I shop there now. I think their products are great for the price. If someone feels like Aldi is beneath them and ducking their heads to go in there, then the joke's on them. Sure, people who cannot afford name-brand items shop there for the deals, but the quality is excellent. They have a double-guarantee where if you find you don't like something, you return it and you get double your money back. No, it's not organic, yes things like flour are bleached white flour, but they have some really great items. I get my oil, eggs (when I can't buy local), produce (when I can't buy local or it's not in my garden), coffee (sooooo delicious), frozen veggies (you can buy haricot verts for 99 cents and elsewhere you'd pay $3 for a bag!!!), frozen fish, canned items. We certainly don't "have" to shop there, from a financial standpoint, but we love saving money and getting good quality. Aldi has that. They also pay their workers a living wage. Part-time job (not sure if it was stock or cashier), I saw several months ago in an ad, was over $15/hr.
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#9 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 10:58 AM
 
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Not only are they a german owned company, but they are the same partent company that owns Trader Joes.
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#10 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 11:15 AM
 
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I love Aldi's too. I also don't "need" to shop there because of finances, but I'm frugal by nature. I'm not hung up on name brands and I don't feel strange going there.

There is some name brand stuff, but most of their stuff is house brand. But it's generally very good, and they have an awesome refund policy if you don't like it, or so I've heard. I've never gotten anything I didn't like.
I can't comment on Save A Lot, as we don't have them. Aldi's doesn't have a huge range of things.

But I go there every other week or so and stock up on basics. I love the baking supplies, cooking oils, vinegars, canned tomato products, spaghetti (they have great whole wheat pastas) and sauce, butter, eggs, rice, beans, tortillas, ice cream, condiments, coffee, coffee filters, frozen fish, and some produce. They have absolutely the best chocolate ever. The trash bags, aluminum foil, food storage bags and cat litter are great.
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#11 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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I am familar with Aldi's from living in Germany as well as having one in our area since 1991-ish.

My mom loves Aldi for the produce, which is crazy cheap compared to the more traditional grocery stores.

I don't find much when I do stop (it is out of my way, about a 20-25 minute round trip) but once in while find oil or such.

I don't buy a lot of packaged foods like box mixes, frozen meats, etc. so I am probably not Aldi's target customer.

The store is very popular in my area and has a reputation as a good employer.

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#12 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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I like our Aldi's, too.

They have great chocolate, and at Christmas time, they sell the best chocolate truffles ever. For like $2 a box. It's a great bargain.

Around here, they sell Atlanta dairies milk. I see the AD truck in the Aldi's parking lot--it's just packaged as Aldi "friendly" milk. And the buttermilk has the Atlanta Dairy label. I'm sure many of other their products are identical to name brand ones, too.
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#13 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 03:15 PM
 
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#14 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
They have great chocolate, and at Christmas time, they sell the best chocolate truffles ever. For like $2 a box. It's a great bargain.
OMG how could I forget to mention the above. 2nd the cholocate recommendation.

In fact, after my parents divorced, my aunt was thinking aloud one day about missing the chocolate my dad would always have around the house. She couldn't believe it when I said "you mean the stuff he buys at Aldi's?"

She thought is was something terribly expensive and hard to get as opposed to being available at a store she drives by 2x per day.

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#15 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 05:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AnalogWife View Post
When you say Private Label Merchandise--do you mean brand-names that you've never heard of? That was what turned me off of Save-a-Lot...I just don't do well with off-brand name stuff.
Off brands are often (though not always) the exact same product in a different package...as in they're made by the same people and then sold to different distributors.
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#16 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 07:13 PM
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When you say Private Label Merchandise--do you mean brand-names that you've never heard of?

Depends on what you mean by "never heard of"....

Since I shop at Aldi's weekly, I have heard of Friendly Farms Dairy, Fit & Active, Cambridge, Clancy's, etc.

I find that while most of their products are not identical to the name brands, I prefer the texture and flavor of Aldi's products. Not to mention the price.

I : Aldi's!
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#17 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 09:47 PM
 
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Since someone mentioned it, their fit and active brand is a health food brand that is actually pretty good. It's nice to see lower fat/healthier options in a non name brand price.

I agree with everyone that they are really good for stocking up your pantry. I don't go as often because I've found a surplus store I can do all my shopping at at once, but I still go into aldi's from time to time when running low. It's true that they aren't always the most eco friendly choice in terms of being local or organic, but they are friendly as in you bring your own bags, etc. And a lot of products are lower packaging.
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#18 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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We buy all our alcohol at Aldis. DH loves beer and wine, but we cant afford it, but they have wine called Winking Owl for 2.99 a bottle, and I can usually make an exception for that here and there. I dont like wine, but DH does and he is totally happy with it. We have also bout their knock off bottled beer and everyone seems happy with it.
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#19 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 11:19 PM
 
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aldi's is SOOOOO much better than save a lot.

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#20 of 56 Old 08-19-2008, 11:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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aldi's is SOOOOO much better than save a lot.

That's what I'm thinking, I wish we had one! It doubt Aldi's sells 3-liter bottles of Diet Bubba Soda like at Save-a-Lot. /hurl/
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#21 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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I always wondered about Aldi's. I am constantly hearing about them on message boards. I went to their website and unfortunately there are none in southern California.
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#22 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 10:00 AM
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I always wondered about Aldi's. I am constantly hearing about them on message boards. I went to their website and unfortunately there are none in southern California.
Not yet! But maybe someday!

DH and I were considering moving back to my hometown of Phoenix, and we made a pro/con list, and I put down Aldi's on the "Staying in Chicago" side!
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#23 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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Hmm. I've never been to Aldi's, although we have one here. I'm going food shopping today, so, I think I'll head out that way and see what I can find. Y'all have made me curious.
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#24 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 12:31 PM
 
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Aldi is really nothing like save-a-lot. As others have posted, it takes the German model for grocery stores (ie. low overhead – no free bags and “renting” carts). And although there food is priced low, the quality is not (for the most part, anyways). Aldi treats its employees very well. My mother first worked for and Aldi distribution center in Illinois, when they first came to the US in the early 1980’s. Even back then, they provided a great wage (she earned a whopping $13/hr back then) and full health and retirement benefits. I’ve always found Aldi staff to be very happy and nice – perhaps because they are paid very well.

I’ve been lucky enough to always live in places with Aldi stores and have always shopped there for basic items like bread, cereal, cheese, canned goods, and some produce. Although I do not purchase meat there – I don’t buy meat anywhere but a butcher, really . My DH and I save significantly by shopping at Aldi ($45 for groceries in stead of $80 for the same food at Meijer). As for the *no name* brand merchandise, Aldi is like most grocery stores. Kroger, Meijer, and the like all have there own *branding*. And contrary to popular opinion, these products are not lesser quality. In fact, they way they work is this: grocery chain A pays name brand company B (like Quaker) to make granola bars for them with at a local factory and box them in their own label. Usually a grocery store works with what ever the local name brand factory is to produce a product. For example, the hometown potato chip factory made chips for all the grocery chains, as well as their own brand name, where I used to live.

I personally love the fact that Aldi requires a deposit for carts, because it means clearner parking lots. I’m also a fan for charging for bags. This means that people will use cloth bags, reuse paper/plastic bags, or reuse the shipping boxes rather than create more trash. I really can’t say enough about Aldi! : Love the place and may actually work there if I can’t find part-time job in my field.
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#25 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 01:57 PM
 
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Oh I agree they bag policy is wonderful. I can hardly ever pull out my reusable bags fast enough at the store with the kids. by the time I get it all on the belt and pay its bagged and I'm distracted by tantrums

ANYWAY!!

LOVE Aldi, even being gluten and ODD dairy free we find plenty that we can use. Now they aren't organic mostly or hormone antibiotic free BUT I find they are better quality then say Kroger's brand

I don't shop often there because its not convenient to where I live but when I can I stop it. Plus they own Trader Joe's and often have some of the same things with different labels
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#26 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 09:33 PM
 
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Aldi is a great help in keeping the food bill down.
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#27 of 56 Old 08-20-2008, 10:11 PM
 
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I just made my first Aldi's stop today and I have to say, I found some great buys. I haven't found a local butcher yet (we just moved) and although I didn't buy any meat, I noticed the prices were very good (we're also throwing around the idea of going vegan again, so I am not going to stock up on anything just yet.)

For now though, the cheese was a great deal (beats my lowest price book price by $1/lb) and I did notice A LOT of the fit & active brand and some of it was organic.

Hmmm...we got to the dairy at the end of the trip, so I couldn't really spend that much time, but I'd love to go back and fill out my pricebook b/c I know they're going to beat the other grocery stores around here.

I don't remember ever renting a cart in America before, but used to do it all the time when I lived in Poland and Hungary. And it reminded me of exactly that kind of grocery store.

So, I don't know - I don't really care who's brand it is, as long as it is a good price and doesn't have awful/terrible things in it. I did notice that several staples (spaghetti sauce and something else...? oh, pancake mix) didn't go in my cart b/c they both had hydrogenated something or other. But, they're both on my list to make from scratch anyway, so it wasn't a big loss.

I thought it was very nice and I will be going back.

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#28 of 56 Old 08-21-2008, 12:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kalisis View Post
.

So, I don't know - I don't really care who's brand it is, as long as it is a good price and doesn't have awful/terrible things in it. I did notice that several staples (spaghetti sauce and something else...? oh, pancake mix) didn't go in my cart b/c they both had hydrogenated something or other. But, they're both on my list to make from scratch anyway, so it wasn't a big loss.

I thought it was very nice and I will be going back.
They carry two "brands" of spaghetti sauce. The cheapest one does have HFCS. The slightly more expensive brand does not, and it's still cheaper than even the house brand at my regular grocery store. And it tastes great.
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#29 of 56 Old 08-21-2008, 08:03 AM
 
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At ALDIs, the "Happy Farms" brand label looks exactly like the Crystal Farms label that our biggs (a SuperValu store) carries. I'm sure they are made by the same company.

We have multiple ALDIs here in Cincinnati but none of them are convenient. I heard a rumor, though, that's one's going in nearby. I may have to add them to the rotation if that happens. :
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#30 of 56 Old 08-21-2008, 09:30 AM
 
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They also pay their workers a living wage. Part-time job (not sure if it was stock or cashier), I saw several months ago in an ad, was over $15/hr.

Really? This might be worth a look next time I'm in the US.

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