This week I gathered my grocery bags (along with my quarter for the cart “deposit”) and set out to my local Aldi for my first real shopping adventure (I know, I’m late to the game). I have been in a few times to grab specialty cheeses, but had never fully shopped the store. I heard some time ago that the founder of Aldi is the brother of the founder of Trader Joe’s and they buy some of the items from the same producers. There has also been some recent press on Aldi committing to use non GMO products and removing synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and MSG from their brand of products. All of this news intrigued me to learn more. I started asking friends and families that shop at Aldi about their favorite items. With my list in hand, I walked up to the line of carts and stood there confused. Luckily, a kind older gentleman showed this confused blond where to insert the quarter.
This wasn’t my big weekly grocery trip, more of a restocking trip. I recently purchased several fruits and veggies, so I didn’t need much in the way of produce. Also, you’ll notice that I didn’t purchase any meat. We buy all beef and eggs from a local farm (thank you Sugar Creek Farm) so my freezer is pretty stocked. But I have heard their organic grass fed beef is good. We also buy our wild caught salmon directly from Alaska through a buying club from Wild Alaska Salmon and Seafood. In a recent article, I read that Aldi is not allowing genetically engineered salmon in their stores, way to go Aldi! From Costco, we buy Coleman bacon and chicken breasts and keep everything in the freezer until needed. This makes meal planning a little easier for us by having all of our proteins in the freezer and just buying produce and grains to complete each meal.
I was in and out pretty quickly considering my cart debacle and the fact that I was taking my time browsing the aisles and reading ingredient labels. The concept of this store is great. They keep food costs low by having the customers do the work that several employees would be needed to do. The locked quarter deposit on carts, forces customers to bring their carts back and not leave them in the parking lot. Don’t even get me started on my distain for people who can’t return their carts to the cart corral. They save on bags (also protecting the environment) by having customers bring their own bags and bag their own groceries. We recently returned from California and I love that they do not give out shopping bags as generously as we do here in the Midwest. This again, encourages customers to bring reusable bags when shopping. I have at least 15 reusable grocery bags and even in my best efforts, am constantly forgetting them. If I did not have an option, this would change my behavior. In fact, I ran into a store in California and paid an additional $.10 for a shopping bag since I did not have one. Once again, well done Aldi for forcing us to be responsible when shopping at your stores.
Back to what I bought … I’ve decided to list the items with price, because we buy many of the same items each week and I have a pretty good idea what I spend on them in my regular store. For me, comparing the price differences to what I normally pay may be the game changer to get me out of my normal grocery shopping routine.
Avocados x 2 – $1.29ea (I recently paid $2.00 each at my regular store)
3 pack of garlic – $.99
1lb Mini cucumbers – $1.89, we love the crunch in these smaller cucumbers and they are non GMO.
Dole celery – $1.29
Regular bananas – 1.66lbs for $0.73
Organic bananas – $1.38 for 5 (I don’t normally buy organic bananas since we don’t eat the skin, but these were more green)
1lb Green beans – $1.49, these looked good and it’s difficult to find crisp beans in the winter in Indiana.
Fresh salsa – $2.49
6 pack 100 calorie guacamole mini cups – $2.99, these are very good for store bought guacamole. Bought these for lunch boxes during the week.
Hummus – $1.99
Monterey Jack and Cheddar blocks of cheese – $1.69, we shred our own cheese to avoid the cellulose in shredded cheese.
Organic fat free milk – $2.95, at my usual store it is $2.99 when on sale.
Organic chicken broth x 3- $1.79, at my usual store they are $1.99 when on sale.
Organic fruit strips 20 count – $4.99, these are delicious and have no sugar added.
Organic multigrain and blue corn chips – $1.69ea
Organic sweet potato chips – $1.99
Pretzel thins – $1.99
Organic raw sugar – $2.89
Organic olive oil spray – $2.49
Organic garlic powder – $1.99
Chili powder – $1.19
Organic ketchup – $1.69, we will see what our ketchup connoisseur thinks of this. We usually buy Simply Heinz.
Honey mustard – $0.99
1lb box of Honey Nut Cheerios – $3.49, I almost bought the Aldi version of this cereal, but saw it had carmel coloring added.
3 pk of active yeast – $0.79
Grand total of $57.94
Next time I will try the unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Greek yogurt, and kefir too. We just bought these, so I didn’t need them at the time. So far, we’ve tried the individual cups of spicy guacamole with the organic multigrain tortilla chips and they were very good. The fresh salsa we just ok, not enough cilantro in my opinion. Our son has already eaten at least three of the organic fruit strips, so those are a hit. The pretzel thins and hummus also passed the test.
Overall, my first trip to Aldi was a success! I am glad I spent the time browsing the store and reading labels so my next trip should be a little quicker. I will be making Aldi part of my new weekly grocery circuit. Happy shopping!