Monday, January 26, 2009

I love Aldi's!

Some people may talk bad about Aldi's, but you know what? I love it there! Let me list the ways...

1. You can't beat the prices, they are pretty much the lowest around. Granted, it's these prices that have earned Aldi's a reputation as being for "poor people" but seriously, it's good stuff. Aldi's has changed quite a bit over the years and while I'll never touch their "Spaghetti Rings", I'll sure as heck gobble up their roasted garlic hummus. That's right... hummus, and it was damn good! It is my firm belief that most of the stuff is the exact same as their name brand counterpart. Basically, anytime the label says "compare to..." you know it's the exact same thing. Their "compare to Kellogg's..." granola, was the exact same as the name brand. Also, everyone I know swears that their Shique shampoo, which says "compare to Biolage" is the exact same as Biolage, and it's half the price. Companies do that. They like to corner the market... they earn more money that way. They put the name-brand stuff in a different package with a different brand name, label it generic, and voila. Now, not all stuff is like that. But a lot of it is.

Now why am I blogging about Aldi's on a vegan blogsite?

2. Animal products are expensive. To save money, you leave out the animal products. Cut out the dairy, the egg, the meat, and you've got a product you're able to sell for less. This is another way Aldi's is able to sell things for less, they lack animal products! It's so nice to read the back of a cereal box or a pudding box and see that it doesn't contain any milk, or to read the back of a can of beans and see that it doesn't contain lard. The majority of products at Aldi's are vegan. It's so nice to dig into a $2 box of delicious "Chocolate Peanut Butter Spheres" and know that it doesn't contain any animal. I mean, seriously, vegan refrigerated crescent rolls! It's good stuff.

3. The produce is great. While I advocate buying organic when you can, Aldi's has got the cheapest produce around, and no, it's not secondhand. Perfect, juicy, delicious, ruby red grapefruit for $.25 apiece. They're a buck at Walmart (I live in the Midwest here people). Portobello mushrooms, avocados for $.50 (they're $1.75 at HyVee!), bananas for $.39/lb. And best of all, a lot of the stuff comes from the USA, or at least Canada or Mexico. Buying locally is great, but buying from Mexico is a lot better than buying from Chile. I've found that food that travels the least amount of miles costs the least, so Aldi's is another sure bet.

Seriously... 25 cent grapefruit! That makes me so happy!

4. It's okay to be eco-friendly. Aldi's is already somewhat eco-friendly. They don't supply plastic bags and most people just use the empty flats the food came on. Even more people use reusable bags. I'd say, at my store, half use reusable bags, so nobody looks at you funny for being an "environmentalist". At Aldi's, you're just being practical.

5. Variety. There isn't the greatest amount of variety there, but it's gotten a lot better in the past couple of years. They now offer things such as hummus, raw almonds, unsweetened frozen fruit, whole wheat bread, and wine. I about freaked out the other day when I saw they had Basmati and Jasmine rice!

So as you can see, that's why I love Aldi's. I can feed two people really well on about $50 a week. And no, the stuff isn't secondhand and no, it's not expired. Unlike Sav-A-Lot whose food is thisclose to expiring, Aldi's has a normal lifespan.

So check it out. Just make sure you B.Y.O.B. (bring you own bags) and a quarter for the cart.


I ♥ puggies said...

We have an Aldi's but I haven't been to it yet. Honestly I didn't even know it was a grocery store. I'll have to check it out.

Anonymous said...

What a great review of Aldi's.
Thansk so much.

Justin said...

Thanks for this blog on Aldi, I am currently forced to patronize Aldi and I am quickly warming up to it. They are a German company and they are all over Germany. They are very european influenced, however I have to say I am surprised about the animal free products. Perhaps for added milk and butter and things like that. I never been able to find a can of simple vegetable soup or vegetarian baked beans. They have great priced soy milk, and yes most of the produced i read do tend to be USA as are most dry food products being made in the US so i feel better about that.

JesPlayin said...

I'm so excited to have found this post! I thought I was the only Aldi fanatic. I love that place! I've been telling all my friends to shop there. The selection IS getting a lot better too. Just the other day I was thinking ,'It'd be perfect if they had soymilk,' and guess what, the next week, they did! $2.29/half gallon, can't beat that! Here's my Aldi write-up done within a few weeks of yours:

Many Hands House said...

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Awesome! I knew there were fellow Aldi's lovers out there.

I just found organic ricemilk and mine. It blew my mind!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know if I trust Aldi's. If you notice, they are sneaky in the way they market stuff. For example, the spaghetti sauces have supposedly authentic Italian names and yet among the different names, if you read the small print all of the sauces with different names and jar designs are made from aldi.As a vegan I will not be visiting Aldi again because I know their lentil soup is made with chicken stock, the hummus was bad and the lettuce and squash are rotten after 2 days. The majority of their stuff is pure junk.

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Well, yes. Many brands are "sneaky" in that they have "authentic" names even though there is nothing authentic about them. Also, many companies make more than one brand of product and package them differently. It's all about marketing and giving the consumer "choices". Aldi's saves you money by limiting the choices you have available (and by sticking to many of the same products that they have available).

Many brands of soup that seem to be vegetarian are not. Both Progresso and Campbell's are guilty of this. However, at Aldi's you can find the beans and the lentils to make your own soup, and that's more of the point.

I will agree with you on the produce. It isn't the But sometimes when you don't have very much money and you just really want some strawberries or a salad, some vegetables are better than nothing. The basic rule of thumb is to not buy veggies if you don't think they'll make it more than a couple days, and if you can't really inspect it, don't buy it.

Some specialty products, like hummus and rice milk (both products at Aldi's) have a limited appeal so they don't sell as fast. It's not Aldi's fault you didn't read the expiration date. This can happen in any store where that product doesn't have a high turnover. You can't expect them teenagers to catch it every time! Though it has happened to me (at other stores) and it's not less disappointing, it's still my fault for not double-checking.

Yes, there is junk, but junk food sells and that's abundant at ANY place that sells food.

And finally, many of their products do contain HFCS, but sometimes when all you got in your wallet is $15, you're not able to be too picky. Sometimes all you can only afford is wheat bread, peanut butter, dried beans, and some soy milk. Aldi's has got you covered in that department and it has been a lifesaver for me, and others, judging by the popularity of this post.

Also, it's the same dude who owns Aldi's owns Trader Joe's so make of that what you wish.

Anonymous said...

I love Aldi's. I'm 33, my parents has shopped there ever since I can remember and I prefer shopping there too.

I was heart broken when they discontinued their cookie mix that use to come in a blue was my all time favorite and I still can't find a cookie mix that compares.

And how can you not be happy with a gallon of milk for $2.29 vs. $3.49 across the street.

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Well, I don't do milk, but all the Aldi's have been to now carry soy milk and/or rice milk, which is awesome.

The last time I was there I even found Amy's Organics pizzas in the freezer aisle for like, $5, which is a steal!

Anonymous said...

As a chef I can't say I'm a fan of Aldi I find most of their products rip offs of name brand products and very cheap imitations at that. I don't doubt that there are some good buys there but I since I don't buy processed foods (or very little) there is very little I could or would buy there. I much prefer to buy food from Trader Joes, my local co op or Wholefoods - at least that way I get organic food. I don't remember seeing a choice of organic food at Aldi but it's been a couple of years since I shopped there.

victoria hanshaw said...

To the anonymous chef, I don't think this post was intended for those who can afford to shop at Trader Joe's (though funny you mention this and in a comment above she says they are owned by the same man) or Wholefoods but I can tell you the Aldi's here now does carry some organic produce! It seems to get better and better. Although I don't believe in the whole "gluten free" trend, unless someone has celiac disease but they've also started carrying frozen gluten free dinners. Not all of us can afford all organic produce. I came here because after watching raw diets take about $400-600 and that is shocking (and insane) when you've only got $200 or so to spend on groceries! Some say, "You have to pay more for better health" but I don't have MORE to pay after my bills etc. That is how I ended up here, typing in "vegan" and Aldi's. At the least I can start vegan (from vegetarian) and add in a good amount of produce as well. Since I would love to go fully raw but it's not a possibility at the moment!

Elizabeth Arrowood said...

Why won't you touch their Spaghetti Rings?