The Aldi Experiment
For many of us, grocery shopping is more about routine, than it is experimenting with someplace new. We shop at our usual stores, make our normal purchases, and head on our way. Sound familiar? It does to me. For years I have frugally and faithfully shopped at several local grocery stores. Until today. Today I decided to shake things up, and experiment with a new store in my area, Aldi.
What is Aldi
ALDI is a discount grocery chain that operates over 1,000 stores in 31 states with almost 95% of their products sold under exclusive ALDI select brands. Click here to see if Aldi is in your neighborhood so you can do your own Aldi Experiment.
The first thing I noticed when I walked in was that I didn’t recognize any of the brands on the shelves. No “name brand” products - anywhere. I wondered (and worried) about the taste of these new, generic looking foods.
The other difference was with the store shelves. All the food items were still in cardboard cartons and displayed on pallets rather than neatly stacked on shelves. Not a big deal, but certainly different from what I was used to.
Unlike my usual stores, Aldi had fewer selections. Some products like chips, for example, only had one manufacturer. Other products like cookies, coffees, and paper towels offered different manufacturer choices. This makes sense, since Aldi offers only about 1,400 popular food items (a typical grocery store has 30,000).
I was pleased to see that there was a produce section, with fresh fruits and veggies, a large dairy section and several large frozen food sections. Toiletries were also available.
Now the best part, and why I decided to write this article. The prices were fantastic. Here’s a comparison of 6 foods I normally purchase. One column lists the Aldi price, and the other one shows the prices at my usual stores, Winn Dixie and Publix.
|Shredded Wheat Cereal
That’s a total savings of over 36%
After conducting taste testing experiments on all of the above foods, I am happy to report that while some of these items tasted differently than what I am used to, they all tasted good. All three of my kids participated in the experiments and agreed to eat everything they tried.
Aldi does not honor coupons, offer free grocery bags (so bring your own) or let you use credit cards for payment. Debit cards are OK.
With the down economy, and the cost of food and other basic necessities going through the roof, everyone is hungry for a bargain. Today Aldi surprised me with how good their foods tasted. And the best part? They saved me money. For me, this experiment was a big success, and I’ll be adding Aldi into my normal shopping routine. I hope you will check them out, and see if they can save you money too.