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A Short Tour Through ALDI: Is It For You?

Many people love ALDI, a few people dislike ALDI, and many just don’t understand ALDI. By the end of this article, many folks should have a better idea of whether or not ALDI is a spot worth checking out.

ALDI is a close relative to Trader Joe’s, literally. Owned by the same family, both stores are designed to save on overhead costs and pass those savings on to the customer. This might become obvious upon entering ALDI. The inventory is displayed in its shipping boxes, somewhat like a large warehouse store. At first glance, it may even have that dollar store feel, but don’t judge it just yet.

German chocolates for those rough days.
German chocolates for those rough days.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Generic brands and German brands line almost every shelf, with a few familiar brands sprinkled in. That box of crackers may look like Cheez-Its, but it’s ALDI’s brand. ALDI’s brands have no added monosodium glutamate (MSG), no trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and no artificial colors, flavors. On ALDI’s website, it claims to have tested and designed its brands to exceed the national brands in taste and quality, and they have a guarantee to back that up. ALDI’s double guarantee states:

If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied with any product, we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money.

Here are a few ALDI must-haves, according to some ALDI shoppers and Houston Press readers.

These familiar cookies are only $1.39.
These familiar cookies are only $1.39.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Benton’s Cookies

Do these look familiar? ALDI’s version of popular Girl Scout cookies would pass a blind taste test and at only $1.39 a box, this makes the list of ALDI must-haves.

ALDI often has a great assortment of cheeses.
ALDI often has a great assortment of cheeses.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Cheese

From flavored goat cheese for only $1.99 each to German Butterkäse slices for $3.49 and seasonal goodies like English cheese from Happy Farms for $3.99. Have unexpected guests popping by? These little cheeses can be easily doctored up to make a nice snack tray.

These sweet breads are enough to warrant a trip to ALDI.
These sweet breads are enough to warrant a trip to ALDI.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Bread

These items alone are enough to make a trip to ALDI. Gluten-free breads, Brioche buns and dinner rolls and brioche sweet breads, one swirled with pastry cream and the other made with chocolate chips are extremely addictive. These won't last a day on the counter. Addictive.

Grill up this Italian bread as an accompaniment to a rustic meal.
Grill up this Italian bread as an accompaniment to a rustic meal.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

A rustic loaf of Pan Turano Italian bread for $3.69 is perfect for brushing with olive oil and throwing on the grill. Or serve it for brunch with smoked salmon and cream cheese. White and wheat breads, sliced brioche, pita and naan are also available at ALDI.

Organic olive oil for $3.99.
Organic olive oil for $3.99.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Various Oils

ALDI sells organic olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oils and more and the prices are extremely low. A twelve-ounce bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil is only $3.99.

Check out this little wine wall.
Check out this little wine wall.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Wine and Meat

Craving a steak and a nice red? Grab both at ALDI for a reasonable price. Several wines start at only $3.99. New wines are always coming in, so finding one to enjoy is easy. Grass-fed meats are sold and certain types of fish that are fresh and never frozen. Grab the weekly circulars in the store to find out which items are on sale and which items are coming next week. For example, fresh steelhead trout at $9.99 and Simply Nature Fresh organic grass-fed beef stew meat at $6.99 will be available February 14.

Housewares and seasonal items line the middle aisle of ALDI.
Housewares and seasonal items line the middle aisle of ALDI.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Housewares

In the middle of the store, shelves are lined with various products that change weekly. Everything from stainless steel trash cans, deep fryers, pillows, dog beds, clothesbaskets and plants. It’s usually a long line of items that the trained eye must sift through for bargains, but they’re in there.

ALDI has a decent produce section.
ALDI has a decent produce section.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Produce and Frozen Foods

Last week ALDI had avocados for a quarter each. That’s a steal. Other produce items are usually found at a much lower price than the larger grocery store chains, however the selection isn't as large. Various frozen foods can be found in the ALDI rotation, such as Sea Queen stuffed clams, crab cakes and shrimp and crab ravioli for $3.69.

What would you create with these ALDI goodies?
What would you create with these ALDI goodies?
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Miscellaneous Items

There are so many inexpensive items at ALDI. Its brand of sriracha is only $1.99. German favorites like spaetzle, pork schnitzel and even German chocolates are all available. Canned goods are another cheap win at ALDI. A 10-ounce can of diced tomatoes is 45 cents at ALDI. Canned organic beans are only 89 cents.

ALDI is the place to shop when trying to save money or when looking for something a little different. Many of the products are “limited time” products, which means that they are only around for a while. So if something sticks out, grab it, because it may not be there next week. But the good news is, something new and unique will replace it.

Pulled chicken sandwich made from all ALDI purchases.
Pulled chicken sandwich made from all ALDI purchases.
Photo by Jennifer Fuller

Here are a couple of more things to know before making a trip to ALDI. In order to cut down costs, ALDI doesn’t employ people to gather and return shopping carts. Shopping carts require a 25 cent deposit, which is refunded once the cart is returned. There are also no sackers. ALDI bags are available for 10 cents each, and once customers have paid, they move over to the long wall and bag their items.

ALDI is nothing fancy and may not be an all-in-one stop shop for many but it is definitely worth checking out. .

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