What to buy and what to skip at Aldi

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Aldi has shaken up the grocery scene the past couple of years, moving from a small retailer of cheap no-name products to a major threat to big supermarkets.

The German grocer is expanding into a 2,000-store deep discount chain across the U.S.

So if one has opened near you, you may want to know the best things to buy at Aldi, and some things not to buy there (in some cases because you won’t find them).

Buy these at Aldi

  • Fresh bread, often $1.69 a loaf, much cheaper than regular grocery stores.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables, with its recently expanded organic section in newer stores, and bagged salad often less than $2.
  • Spices, at 99 cents each, half the price of many supermarkets.
  • Store brand cereal, where Aldi’s Millville’s cereal is $1.69 – $1.99 a box, and looks and tastes just like the big brands in many cases.
  • Frozen fruit, such as strawberries and peaches, often at $1.89, which is half the price of many grocery stores.
  • Meat and poultry, with prices that are competitive with Walmart and Costco.

Some things not to buy

But there are some things not to buy at Aldi.

Don’t expect wine bars, coffee bars or a fancy butcher counter.

If you are looking for the in-store Starbucks, you might say “doesn’t that stink?”

Readers Digest says Aldi doesn’t even play music in their no-frills stores, because they don’t want to pay the rights to use it.

Finally, Kiplinger Personal Finance says you may want to skip Aldi’s salty snacks: it says their version of Doritos may look like Doritos, but they don’t taste like the real thing.

And Kiplinger was not impressed with prices on paper products, like paper towels and napkins. It says you can usually do better at big box stores like Walmart, Sam’s or Costco.

Of course, if you prefer your groceries to be name brands, Aldi is probably not the store for you.

But if you are open to trying store brands, you may want to give Aldi a try, so you don’t waste your money.

About the Author

John Matarese