My First Experience Shopping at Aldi

aldisignAfter writing my post on Store Brand vs. Name Brand I have been dying to get into the Aldi that opened just down the road from us in March. Yesterday  I had my first opportunity to visit and here is a little bit about Aldi and an explanation of my experience there.

About Aldi

Aldi is a discount grocery store chain that started in Germany somewhere around 1913. Aldi operates in the US, UK, parts of Europe, and Australia. There is over 1,000 stores operating in the United States carrying approximately 1,400 items. The majority of the items at Aldi are store brands owned by Aldi. There were a few name brand items like pringles and grape nuts.

The Experience

When you first pull up to an Aldi store you notice the small size of the store and the lack of cart return areas. All of the carts at Aldi are stationed by the front door and are daisy chained together. In order to obtain a shopping cart you must first insert a quarter into a small recepticle on the cart to release it from the chain. When you have finished shopping and return the cart you get your quarter back.

aldicarts-closeup

The food in Aldi is basically just stacked in the boxes it came in.  This particular Aldi funnels you past the chips and snacks to get into the store and you are then free to browse the five or six aisles they have.  They provide a limited supply of meat, eggs, and dairy. In addition to food they carry some sundries and other random things. They had trees and some small electronics on this particular visit. When you go to check out be prepared to pay for bags or bring your own, you are also going to have to do all of the bag filling.  The pressure was on for me at this point, the lady at the register moved faster than Flash Gordon and just tosses the items directly into the cart, at least she was gentle with the eggs. Paying required the use of cash or a debit card, no credit cards allowed. In all it was a good experience, just crowded due to the small size of the store and we haven’t actually eaten anything we bought there yet.

Cost Comparison

After we finished at Aldi we went and completed our shopping list at Walmart, while we were there we checked the prices on the items we were able to get at Aldi.

Item Aldi Price Walmart Price Variance
Generic Corn Chex $2.19 $2.16 + $0.03
Chunk Pineapple $0.89 $1.00 - $0.11
Shredded Mozarella $3.29 $2.98 + $0.31
Unsalted Butter $1.49 $2.50 - $1.01
Large Eggs $0.49 $1.46 - $0.97
1 Gal 2% Milk $2.19 $3.22 - $1.03
Cream of Chicken Soup $0.49 $0.78 - $0.29

While there were a few items we picked up which actually cost me more at Aldi, overall there were significant savings for things like milk , eggs, and butter. If you live near an Aldi and have never been in before I recommend stopping by and at least buying your milk and eggs there.

Photos: (whgrad)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SJ April 20, 2009 at 11:31 am

I think my fav parts w/ aldi is that their 99 cent arizona ice tea’s go for 69 cents.

That and I found cheap ground beef b4, it was like 99 cents/lbs on special

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2 Trevor @ Financial Nut April 20, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I’ve never heard of Aldi before. Interesting! Those small savings can make a huge difference over time.

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3 Bible Money Matters April 21, 2009 at 2:11 pm

We’ve got an Aldi’s somewhat close to us, and occasionally they will have a great deal on laptop computers, or GPS systems. Otherwise a lot of their stuff is generic type brands – cheap and generic. Some of our friends swear by their food though, and we have found some of it to be very tasty!

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4 Biergartler August 20, 2009 at 1:44 pm

We Germans love our ALDI. Actually the two Brothers are sharing the german market into ALDI SÃœD(south) and ALDI NORD(north). This two old couples named Albrecht are one of the richest guys over here and i would say they have ballbreaking prices compared to other supermarkets here in germany. They even started around two years ago selling meat which is also of great quality and price.

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5 Terri August 21, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Most of the items we have tried are as good or better than name-brand or the off-brand from Wal Mart. I just finished reading an article on another web page, and they reported most of the items are made by well-known companies (Kelloggs, Tyson, etc). I went to our local Aldi yesterday (NW Ohio), and there were expensive SUVs and other high-end cars in the parking lot. This just shows Aldi is not just for “lower class” shoppers. You have to get used to a small store, bagging your own items, and paying for a shopping cart (you get your quarter back when you return the cart), but it is worth the effort in my opinion.

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6 Adrian July 16, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Most of Aldi’s “off brand” items are actually made by the same manufacturers that make the name brand stuff. Only difference in the majority of cases is the packaging. I have found very few items at Aldi that did not meet my standard of quality – in many cases their products exceed the quality of many name brand items. I love Aldi. I drive over 25 miles to get to my nearest Aldi store, and it’s worth the trip every time. One hundred dollars spent at Aldi are the equivalent of two hundred dollars spent at another grocery store. Aldi is the best. When I move, I will make sure the is an Aldi nearby.

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