General chatter - ALDI supermarkets




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modkittn
06-12-2008, 09:52 AM
Do any of you shop there? We have some near us and I'm going to go there this week. What I would like to know is if they carry any light/fat free items. There is another store that we have called Price Rite that operates just like ALDI (quarters for the carts, bring your own bags, large aisles of things) and they don't have light or fat free items.

Also, how often do you go there and what percentage of your groceries do you buy there?

Thanks!


ladybugnessa
06-12-2008, 09:58 AM
they have a whole line called FIT and ACTIVE.... I love Aldis!

BrandNewJen
06-12-2008, 10:55 AM
Fit and Active is iffy--- they LABEL it healthy, but if you're a calorie counter like me WHOA- watch out! Like their blue corn tortilla chips--- tons of calories in there! Just b/c it's blue corn doesn't mean it's healthy!!!

I find that if I'm searching for light stuff, Aldis doesn't usually cut it. (except for the Fat Free refried beans--- super tasty!) I buy a lot of staples there but then go to Tops or Wegmans for my light stuff.


GR8 2B48
06-12-2008, 10:55 AM
I love Aldi's too. The Fit&Active Line is great. I always buy my milk, eggs, some of my produce there. The prices are really great.
I never really thought about the percentage though. I would say approximately 1/2 of my groceries are purchased at Aldi's, I buy meat from a butcher's shop, and I shop at 2 or 3 other grocers.

ladybugnessa
06-12-2008, 10:57 AM
I don't buy a lot at aldi on a regular basis

but 1.25 for a dozen eggs
1.99 for a gallon of milk good prices

you can get frozen fruit
you can get old fashioned oats
you can get flash frozen chicken breasts

(as a South Beacher I seek whole foods more than worry about calories and there are things I don't get from the fit and active line due to white flour/sugar/bad fats)

Schmoodle
06-12-2008, 11:18 AM
I recently discovered Aldi's and am a big fan. I would say over the last month I've transitioned to buying about 75% of my groceries there. I also shop at the Farmer's Market and a local butcher and creamery, so it's been a few weeks since I've even been in one of my old "regular" grocery stores.
I am South Beach also, and I was happy to find that I can get lots of things there that fill the bill. I always read labels because for my plan it's important to know if there are added sugars, refined flours, hydrogenated fats and other nasties hiding in there. Everything of their label that I've tried has been really good or acceptable quality. I always get their turkey bacon, lowfat dairy products, bags of frozen fish filets, chicken breasts, turkey mignons. They have NSA fudgesicles, sugar-free popsicles, "breakfast" ham (also known as Canadian bacon, very lowfat. One week I was in there and they had their ground sirloin/93% on sale for $2/59, so I loaded up. Frozen veggies, fruit, and juices. I was happy to find enchilada sauce there that had no added sugars, and I've been hunting for that in the grocery stores for months.

ladybugnessa
06-12-2008, 11:24 AM
oh their SALSA is NSA and is great comes in mild and medium in a large jar for 1.29 or something like that.

kaplods
06-12-2008, 11:29 AM
Aldis is generally our first stop for groceries. Walmart can be as cheap or cheaper, but there's a greater risk of distraction purchases ending up in the car. We generally avoid Aldi's fresh produce for the most part, because there are cheaper and better sources of produce in our area (in the summer, Farmer's Markets are our first choice for produce).

glynne
06-12-2008, 12:22 PM
We love Aldi ~ there was one right up the street when we lived in NC. Down here in Houston, there aren't any, and we sure do miss them. We usually got our produce there and other stuff too. We would try there first, then go to Walmart and the other places to get the rest of the stuff.

FrouFrou
06-12-2008, 01:17 PM
I haven't tried them but keep meaning too and have been curious about them. There was an article in the paper a couple of days ago about a woman who feeds a family of 5 on $350 a month so it caught my attention...I WANTED to know how, lol. She shoped at Aldi's and while I knew about it it's not in a convenient location so I forget about it. Definitely will have to make note and check it out when I buy groceries next week, and compare.

nanj
06-12-2008, 01:33 PM
I would never shop there because the first time I went it was the first of the month and all the people who had food cards and social security were there and it was a mad house. I kind of forgot about it and some one mentioned the fish selection and so I go there on a regular basis. Produce: Most of it is cheaper, but notice you must use it quickly. Dairy: Cheaper, but I'm like you and have to shop for my lifestyle and don't find that a lot of the Lite n' Fit stuff really dosen't fall into what I can use. The staples are a lot cheaper. There is a website called Aldi.com that has a menu planner on it that both my DD use. I usually can find the red, green, yellow peppers for 1.99 and there are 3.99 a pound at our local groceries. I looked at the sugars on there Lite n' Fit protein bars and they definitely are not for me.

modkittn
06-12-2008, 04:05 PM
Thanks gals. I don't have much to buy on this trip since I am traveling a lot next week for work, but I am going to go tonight, check it out, and report back in the morning :)

techwife
06-12-2008, 05:28 PM
I buy a lot of staples there but then go to Tops or Wegmans for my light stuff.

:cry: I miss Wegmans so bad... :cry:

I never shop at Aldi's. I don't know why. I just always question the food's origin. But, technically, I could question the origin of the food at Price Chopper (where I'm subjected to shop up here where there are no Wegmans). Who knows where any of the food we buy has been. Just the weird name brands make me skittish. I feel like I'm shopping in Mexico or something.

:dunno:

kaplods
06-12-2008, 06:39 PM
Aldi is a german company, and it's an extremely reputable company. Some of the packaged products are actually German products, from Germany, but in my experience, most are US products - check the labels. The Fit and Active "Crystal Light" has the exact same style of label as Walmart's version, so I suspect they are made in the same plant.

Many of Aldi's products are the same name brands you find in any grocery store. The "weird" brands are generally Aldi store brands, and they stand behind the quality so much that they have a double your money back guarantee (not just of the store brands, of anything you buy in the store). If you take anything back because you don't like it or have a problem with the quality, they will give you two replacement products, one product and your money back, or two products. We took back a jar of mustard because the seal was missing. We just wanted a new jar, and we even admitted that we weren't completely sure that one of us hadn't opened the jar and decided not to use it, but we didn't want to take any chances. The clerk (not even the manager) asked how we wanted the refund, and we just took two mustards. She also looked at the lot number (or whatever) on the jar we brought back, and immediately went to the shelves, looked on the boxes of product and pulled the box with the matching number. She told us they also had a "no chances" policy and that they manager would decide what to do with the product, most likely just discard the whole box. Or they might inspect all of the jars and if even one had a missing safety seal, they'd throw out the whole box.

Yeah, I wouldn't be worried about Aldi's quality.

Also, as for the first of the month and Wednesdays (SSDI pay out days for those with automatic deposit), they're easy enough to avoid. The clerks are very friendly (in every Aldi's I've ever been in, maybe because they let the clerks sit down) and will tell you when their slowest days and times are.

aphil
06-12-2008, 07:35 PM
I absolutely LOVE Aldi.

As far as store brands/generic brands go...a canned green bean, is a canned green bean. The same rules and regulations apply to all food factories here in the US, so the only difference is the label. It is no different than buying a Kroger store brand, or Wal-Mart generic. Why would I pay 25 cents more for a can of them, because the label says "Del Monte" on it? Does Del Monte do something so spectacularly different to their beans, making them better than ordinary beans? :lol:

I noticed something a couple of years ago. I happened to be looking at a can of baby formula-a generic store brand. It peaked my curiosity, so whenever I was out shopping, I checked on something. I noticed that the Wal-Mart store brand, CVS store brand, Walgreens store brand, and Kroger store brand are all made by the SAME facility. The only difference is the label. I would suspect that it is this way for a LOT of generic items.

Aldi is wonderful. Canned goods for 39 cents, a gallon of milk for $2.89-when it is often well over $3 in other stores now. There are MANY healthy items there-frozen chicken breasts, bagged salad, frozen fruit, bran flakes, and so on. It makes a HUGE difference when you are saving 10 cents up to a dollar on each item. HUGE difference.

I just bought a package of fresh bing cherries there for $2.99 a pound-they are averaging $3.99-$4.99 a pound at Kroger and Wal-Mart.

The quality is just fine...their store brands (Fit N Active, Bon Italia, etc.) are no different than "Sams Choice" at Wal-Mart...

HarpoChicoGroucho
06-12-2008, 07:35 PM
I used to go to Aldi occasionally -- but their lines are always SOOO long and it takes forever to get through a line because they let their cashiers sit instead of stand, which I think it just slows them down. And people would always have at least one cart completely full -- and some would have two. I haven't really been there since I started eating better -- I'd always get those little breaded stuffed chicken breasts (Kiev, Cordon Bleu) -- they were so good. I remember them having cheap snacky, sugary food too -- cookies and lots of different chocolate. It was definitely not a good store for me. It was my "load up on crap" store. I haven't really been back to check out the healthier options they have.

aphil
06-12-2008, 07:39 PM
Oh...something else I forgot to mention. At times, Aldi gets in special deals and shipments-name brand items, and special things. I got my son a Step2 brand Sand and Water table, complete with patio umbrella for $49.99.

The list price for this in popular catalogs was $99.99!!!!!! SAME exact playset. They have a lot of special shipments in that change each week...check the ads!

kaplods
06-12-2008, 09:18 PM
I've actually timed the Aldi lines, and at least locally, they move a lot faster than traditional grocery lines, because they don't bag your items, the items go right into the cart and you bag at the bagging counter, or at your vehicle.

Different stores are going to vary of course, and it depends on how you're used to shopping. Small groceries that are rarely busy, you might feel Aldi lines take forever. Comparing to Walmart, or other Superstores, light speed in comparison.

In our area there's alot of disdain for the Aldi, to the point that some people will act disgusted if you mention Aldi, and some people will be embarassed to be seen in the store (they always say, "we just buy toilet paper here - my response is "then you're crazy," kidding of course).

I used to be very afraid to try products that I wasn't familiar with and then I got sick couldn't work and my husband lost his job to downsizing and we moved to Wisconsin were hubby had family, was able to get work, and the cost of living is lower. We went from a combined income of about $75,000 to $25,000. Things got better when I got my disability, but hubby's degenerative joint disease was getting worse and a very bad fall on the ice, shoulder surgery.... put us both on disability. We had good jobs, so our SSDI is sufficient and better than most, so I'm not going to complain about our income when so many have it so much worse, but it is a fixed income and we've learned to cut costs where we can to stretch our money further.

Anyway, with a little "encouragement" to experiment, we found out that as
as Aphil said, canned grean beans are canned green beans. Speaking of which, a friend of mine invited us for dinner (when we were still living in Illinois) and he made a green bean casserole (you know the one, THE green bean casserole, with cream of mushroom soup). I've never been that impressed by the dish, but there was something about my friend's that was different, I couldn't put my finger on it, but it was much better than I expected so I asked what he did differently - it was the mushroom soup. Instead of Campbell's he used Aldi's brand. 49 cents a can. It's the only cream of mushroom soup that I've ever found that makes an actually good bowl of soup, not just a recipe ingredient. Their tomato is great too. I buy both frequently. They're much better than Campbell's and half the price.

Getting my feet wet with Aldi's, I'm a lot more adventurous about shopping. The same friend who filled me in about Aldi's also tipped me off to health food stores and oriental and other ethnic groceries for big savings. If there's an oriental grocery store in your area, it can't be beat for oriental vegetables and condiments. A $3 bottle of soy sauce (about the price for 12 ounces in a grocery store) is a quart or more, and not a cheap all-purpose soy sauce, but gourmet soy sauces like mushroom soy (highly recommend, very yummy) and a bag of bean sprouts that would cost $3 in the grocery store are 69 cents. Not to mention all the fun things to try that you'll never find anywhere else.

We grocery shop about once a week, but except for perishables, we buy for a month as we visit several different stores. at an over-run/outlet store (like a Big Lots, only privately owned). Every Friday they get in health food and gourmet food store items (when these stores order too much or find an item isn't selling they sell it to these stores - this is before the sell by dates run out, it's not expired food). So we've gotten all sorts of wonderful buys there. Once they had a huge lot of fancy gourmet varieties of dried beans, for 39 to 59 cents for a one lb bag. I forget the brand, but it the gourmet section of the grocery store they sell for around $5 a bag. I bought one of every variety (and since dried beans last forever if stored properly, I wish I had bought more). The oriental grocery is nearby, but we only stop there about once every couple months, because what we buy lasts for a very long time.

Then we shop at the Farmers' Markets during the months they are open (May/Junish through November).

Sam's Club (great for saving money if you have space to store in bulk and aren't tempted by the convenience foods that aren't a good deal). We get our prescriptions here as it saves us hundreds of dollars a month and whenever we pick up a scrip, we take a walk around and look for deals. Three of my very favorite are the spring salad mix (a huge box of greens for about $4, a "bag" in the grocery is almost the same price and only has a couple servings in it, and goes bad more quickly) - Snap peas (same situation)for about $5, and mini-bell peppers in a large bag. The peppers are orange, yellow and red, very sweet tasting, but only about three inches long for about $3.50. They also have an asiago cheese spread to die for, I find the $8 for the large tub a bargain, but the calories not so much, so I buy it twice a year - Easter and Christmas.

The health food store we go to for bulk tvp (textured vegetable protein, great to extend or replace ground meat for a lot less fat, more fiber, fewer calories and no more than about 1/3 of the price of cheap hamburger per serving), hummus, and fresh ground almond or cashew butter (very rarely, because that stuff is just TOO yummy).

A lot of people tell us they could never shop like us because we have more time on our hands, and to a point that's true, but we're really not spending that much more time than other people. We used to shop a bit like this even when we were both working 10 to 12 hour days. We'd just pick one store, shop on a Saturday or Sunday when we found bargains that would keep and we had space for in the pantry and the freezer, we stocked up.

My husband's dad takes this to extremes. He has a mini "grocery store" in his basement. He has a big chest freezer in the basement, but put up 7" tall stainless steel shelving units, several of them in a rows, and buys his favorites by the case (like Aldi's olive oil). My hubby and I kid him about it all the time, and have even joked to ourselves that we would buy him his own grocery cart one Christmas for a gag gift.

What is really funny is that when we're invited to a potluck or when we entertain, our friends tend to comment on my "gourmet" recipes, and how expensive they must be to prepare or how much time they must have taken, but a bargain hunter with a crock pot can do amazing things.

A book that I HIGHLY recommend is "Good Cheap Food" by Miriam Ungerer (there are several editions available from amazon starting at around $2, used).

Pieinthesky
06-13-2008, 07:50 AM
ALDI is my fave supermarket (along with Lidl) which is pretty much same!
Its really cheap for things like meats and cheeses etc . . . but i would usually buy veg and fruit locally as their selections are not usually that big!:carrot:

aphil
06-13-2008, 07:53 AM
Our Kroger, and Wal-Mart lines are HORRENDOUS if you go on the weekend. Aldi lines do move much quicker!

I also love the fact that in the Aldi parking lot, because of the quarter cart thing...that you don't have the idiots leaving their carts all over the place. (I HATE this...big pet peeve, especially when they leave it 2 spaces away from a cart corral!) It is amazing how the power of one quarter can make people suddenly able to walk across the lot to take their cart back. ;)

The quality of the food there is just fine, some of it is exceptional. They basically cut the costs not by sacrificing quality...but by being able to have less overhead costs. No bag boys and cart boys to pay, for instance. They have less overhead because of smaller stores...they can be smaller because they have one brand of brand of green beans-instead of regular stores having the store brand, Del Monte, and Freshlike. Three brands of the same exact thing...it saves shelf space, and since they do this on everything, the store is much smaller.

I am also a frequent Big Lots shopper as well. I bought a ton of Gerber Graduates toddler items (individual juices, etc.) for about 1/3 of the price recently-they were not expired. I frequently find Kashi cereals, and other healthy items there as well for $1.99 a box, instead of $3.00 a box. We bought an Eddie Bauer car seat at Big Lots, because it was a close out. The same exact model was being sold in Babies R Us for over $100, and we got it for $70.

Big Lots is a FABULOUS place to get holiday decorations as well-I bought the most beautiful tree decorations there last year-they look like peaches, apples, and pears dipped in gold, and then sugared. They are gorgeous.

I am also a thrift store shopper...I have actually bought like new hard cover books over the years of many of the plans people follow here at 3FC (Body For Life, South Beach, Somorsizing, The Makers Diet, Atkins, and many others...) for a buck or two each. It has helped me here, to be able to answer questions and be knowledgable about different plans.

I am a HUGE bargain shopper... :D

modkittn
06-13-2008, 08:06 AM
Ok so I didn't make it to Aldis. My list was SO short (I will be gone for 4 days on travel for work next week) that it wasn't worth it to drive out of my way. I got some things at Walmart and some at Price Rite (Aldi's sounds very similar to the Price Rite to me) and only paid $42. I did look more around the Price Rite and discovered I should be shopping there for more things. If I could do 80% of my shopping at Price Rite or Aldis, then I need to start going there way more often.

ladybugnessa
06-13-2008, 08:37 AM
BTW Aldi's and Trader Joes are owned by the same family.

I love both.

kaplods
06-13-2008, 12:56 PM
One warning:

Bargain hunting can become addictive! I definitely have a lot more fun shopping than I ever did when I bought name brand retail.

My mom hates thrift stores because she can't count on them having what she wants. I love thrift stores because even if they don't have what I went in for, I've found so many cool things I wasn't looking for. I always check the clothing racks, even though I almost never find anything in my size. And yet a couple years ago, in a church thrift shop I found a classy beige LONDON FOG rain jacket in my size for $5.

I sew and crochet. I love buying vintage buttons at the thrift store, because they're often so unique and beautiful and CHEAP. The church thrift store we go to, sorts the buttons and sews them onto cardstock squares. So it's exactly like shopping in the sewing shops, except buttons that would cost $15 or more (if you could find anything like them) costs me 30 cents. My button collection also reminds me of my grandma, and the hours my brother and I would spend playing with the buttons in her button jar. We'd sort them by shape, color, material, size, better than any "Memory" game.
I've also found some really expensive yarn still in the original packaging (quick sniff test for cigarette smoke or mildew odor). I bought a large bag of yarn, about 10 skeins for $2. I found the yarn brand online, and it would have cost about $10 a skein. Now I didn't save $98, because there's no way on earth, I would have paid $100 for 10 skeins of yarn (you've got to be careful of that kind of thinking as a bargain hunter - you only save money if you pay less than you budgeted for, it doesn't matter what the retail price would have been).

I very rarely pay full price for books. Between the library, garage sales, thrift stores, amazon.com and hamilton books online, I've come to consider 1/2 price "way too expensive." Before buying a book, if I can I borrow from the library first, so I can determine whether I really want to own it, and what I'm willing to spend.

Often people think of hard core bargain hunters as people who live stark, stoic lives without nice things, eating inferior food, wearing inferior clothing, and generally doing "without" (and there are people who do, by choice live this way). But the best bargain hunters do so in order to enjoy a lifestyle they otherwise couldn't afford.

aphil
06-13-2008, 02:03 PM
I agree...

I bargain hunt so that I can have NICER things. If I hadn't had found it at Big Lots, my toddler wouldn't be in an Eddie Bauer car seat, I can tell you that! :lol:

When I save money on groceries by getting staples at Aldi, and clipping coupons and checking sale ads for everything else...it leaves me more in my budget for things that I wouldn't be able to afford if I paid full price for everything: a nice bottle of wine, nice furniture, dinner out for a family of 5...

November2007
06-13-2008, 02:20 PM
Hey Kaplods---I'll be in WI in the beginning of July....u want to take me shopping with you? :) ---or do you just know of any places in the Milwaukee/Menomonee Falls area?
I want to shop in little ethnic or health food stores in my area, but honestly, I'm scared to for the first time.......and I don't have much luck finding them in my small part of Alabama.

Sassy_Chick
06-13-2008, 02:39 PM
We've shopped at Aldis they are fine, but we found that Wal-mart is just as cheap on things or sometimes cheaper and Wal-mart is open 24 hrs, which is a must for me since I work nights. Aldi's has very limited hours....But we went there A LOT when we were trying to make our money stretch farther, you sure can get a lot of groceries for less!!! But now with me working nights and DH on days, and no Aldis close by, just easier for us to go to Walmart..........

But they have good things, not so sure how much "health food" they have, but they get more and more new stuff everyday it seems. (at least last time I went)

Oh I had to add after seeing aphil's post, had to comment -- I love Big lots!! :)

Good Luck!!!

JetSet1982
07-02-2008, 12:00 AM
I have an ALDI very close by, but as others have mentioned, the hours aren't so great. Best price I can find on milk though!

kaplods
07-02-2008, 12:38 AM
Hey November 2007,

I have to say I'm not much of a hardcore shopper anymore, 90 minutes of shopping is about my limit, as is about 2 hours in the car (unless, we're going to see my family in IL, it's a 5 hour trip, and when we get there hubby
and I are wiped out for about two days). Chronologically, we may be young middle-age, but physically our bodies are seniors.

I don't know the Milwaukee area very well either (I'm actually an IL native, and haven't really explored much of WI except the Wausau area).

I was scared to go into my first ethnic grocery too. A friend finally talked me into it, and he went with me. Talk about uneventful, the owner had an accent, but spoke very clear english, and it was just like any other small grocery store (I'm not sure what I was expecting to be different).

Good Luck. I hear the Milwaukee area has Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. When I can tolerate longer car rides (hopefully hubby can too, as right now, they're rougher on him than on me) I'd like to go to Madison. It's a little closer to Wausau and also has Trader Joe's and Whole Foods (I've heard so much about them on this site, I really want to go).

Amy8888
07-02-2008, 01:20 PM
I love this thread! I needed to be reminded to try Aldi again. I was going a lot before, but when I was pregnant with my first and had morning sickness I began to associate Aldi with that, so it's been hard to get back. But I think the store might actually become pretty popular soon. Let's see, it's green because you are encouraged to bring your own bags; and it's cheap, which is great given that we are in a recession.

I visited the Aldi website awhile back and noticed that even the company admits that you probably won't be able to buy everything you need there. I think it's great that they come out and tell you that you might still need to stop at another store. But I think it's a great store for the basics, like I used to buy frozen chicken breasts there.

And one time I bought a chocolate bar there. I don't remember the brand but damn, that was one awesome, smooth, gourmet chocolate bar. And of course, really cheap.

And I have to remember that you can use a debit card there now. They used to only take cash so if you were just trying to stop in and didn't have cash on you, then forget it, but now that's okay.