Aldi opened a location near us about 6 months ago and it is now included on our regular weekly grocery store stop along with Walmart. We have been comparing Aldi prices and quality with comparable Walmart and Food Lion store-brand products (by no means trying to recommend one chain over another – these are just the 3 grocery chains closest to us). The trick to shopping at Aldi is to focus on solely on items that are on sale in their weekly flyer, because those are the items where you can really save money.
If you are looking for savings by switching to store-brand (versus name brand) groceries, definitely compare the quality from all your favorite stores. While Aldi’s Cream of Mushroom soup is only .49 cents, it has a slightly thinner consistency than Walmart’s Great Value brand at only .50 cents. Brand name Cream of Mushroom soup (at .94 cents a can) is definitely creamier and richer. But if you’re only using the soup as a base ingredient in another dish, the off-brand pricing is a great deal.
Aldi store-brand prices compared to Walmart store-brand prices tend to be within a few cents of each other ( a few pennies more or a few pennies less). The big difference is when Aldi’s has a sale on specific products.
For example, Walmart’s dozen Great Value Large White Eggs are normally .68 cents and Aldi’s price is usually .69 cents. But when Aldi’s eggs go on sale, they drop to .49 cents a dozen.
The standard pricing for Aldi’s products isn’t always consistent. An item that we reliably bought for months at one price has fluctuated for the next two months. Aldi’s butter was lower than Walmart’s price for quite a while, but now the Walmart butter has a better price point at $2.08 a pound.
That said, just know your product prices. Or do like we do; take pictures of the product and price for future reference. And test the quality yourself. All this information is subjective and everyone has their own preferences and tastes. This information is based off our experience in switching from brand label products to store brands, both in pricing and in quality.
The one thing that can be said about Aldi’s is their cashiers are by far the friendliest we’ve encountered. They are also incredibly fast; so fast that they have our items checked out before we can even get them all out of the cart.
Note: the pricing as of March 2020.
What You Should Buy At Aldi’s
Produce (when it’s on sale and still fresh)
When produce goes on sale at Aldi’s, it is usually at a really nice discount. Not sure if it’s that same at every Aldi’s, but we find their produce isn’t usually the freshest. If we buy produce at Aldi, it has to be on sale and it’s usually meant to be cooked within a day or two. Unless it’s on sale, the pricing is very close to Walmart’s produce prices and Walmart produce is almost always as fresh as it gets.
Both button and baby bellas have been on sale for as low as 1.49 for 8 ounces, compared to $1.88 and $2.08 regular pricing at Walmart. We are big mushroom eaters so we love the savings. One note however, their mushrooms are rarely fresh and should be cooked/prepared right away. They always start to get a little slimey within 2-3 days.
We’ve seen the price go down to $1.29 a pound compared to Walmart’s regular price of $1.98 per lb. But again, the ends of the asparagus are usually dried out, meaning they aren’t the freshest. We buy these for dinner the same evening, or chop up and freeze for a future meal.
This is probably one of the better Aldi finds when they drop to .99 cents a pound (half Walmart’s regular price of $1.88 lb).
A 4 lb bag of navel oranges for $2.29 (.58 cents a pound) versus Walmart’s average regular price of $1 per pound.
Their on-the-vine tomatoes have gone for $1.39 lb, compared to Walmart’s $1.55 a pound.
Common block cheeses tend to run about .24 cents an ounce compared to Walmart’s .185 cents per ounce, so unless they go on sale there’s no real savings. However, for less common cheeses you can usually save plus get excellent quality cheeses. And you definitely have to try their smoked white cheddar slices! We just bought a package of their smoked gouda slices and will report back once we try it out.
When cheese goes on sale at Aldi’s, we typically stock up, then vacuum seal and freeze what we won’t be using within the week. If you are buying block cheeses to grate later for meals, grate them before freezing and lightly toss in cornstarch to minimize sticking. The consistency of any cheese changes after freezing and tends to make it crumbly and difficult to grate.
The majority of store-brand canned vegetables are .49 cents. At Walmart, the Great Value brand is .50 cents. Not a huge savings necessarily, and the quality is fairly comparable. However, Aldi’s Young Sweet Peas are a definite must. If you are a big Le Sueur Young Sweet Peas fan and are used to paying $1.50+ per can, you’ll definitely enjoy the savings. Although Aldi’s peas are a little softer, their peas are the same size and very similar sweet flavor as Le Sueur. We’ll also be trying out Food Lion’s Cha Ching brand, which is sold at .40 cents a can.
Aldi’s honey roasted and cocktail peanuts were only $1.99 a pound. This comparable to Walmart’s Great Value prices. The only difference we could find is that Aldi’s cocktail peanuts don’t seem to have as much salt, which is good if you are cutting back salt intake (bad if you like salted peanuts).
When they are on sale, Aldi’s dairy products like milk, cheese, sour cream and butter are usually at a decent discount below other grocery chains. Again, when they’re not on sale you are usually paying the same or slightly more than competitors.
Sliced Deli Meat
Specifically, their Black Forest Ham slices. These have really good flavor (not watered down like a few other brands). They come in a deli pack of 1 pound, which we break down and vacuum seal into portion sizes to avoid waste.
Snacks (Maybe/Maybe Not)
Clancy’s Corn Chips
Their corn chips seemed like a great bargain at .75 cents but they were underwhelming when eaten alone. However, combine them with a big bowl of dip and the difference would probably not be that noticeable. The one thing we’ve noticed is that the thickness and crispness of the chips seems to vary, a lot. Sometimes, they really crispy, uniform in appearance and thickness. Other times, the chips seemed stale, had large air pockets in the chips, or were just too thick. In all fairness we usually buy brand name snacks and we haven’t tried the Walmart store-brand corn chips yet so they may also be underwhelming.
Clancy’s Cheese Curls
Being big Cheetos brand fans, we didn’t have high expectations for these .99 cent cheese curls. Most copy cat cheese puffs taste like styrofoam covered in powdered fake cheese. We were pleasantly surprised with the Aldi brand. The flavor of their cheese curls are not as intense as Cheetos brand, but still very good. We could definitely binge-eat a bag of these.
What To Avoid Buying At Aldi’s
While their paper products are comparably priced to Walmart store-brand prices, they seem to be lesser quality. The paper napkins were really a disappointment.
In general, you can usually get better pricing and quality at competitor stores.
Having tried Food Lion, Aldi, and Walmart breads, hands-down Walmart wins. Their italian loaf for $1.00 which is baked fresh daily can’t be beat. Even their store brand sliced bread at .67 cents is softer and stays fresh longer than any other brand we’ve tried.