Okay, I’m interrupting our regular recipe program to Get yourself a soapbox, and We will be sharing a series of three parts with you on one of my favourite places to eat -ALDI!

Over the years, many friends have been amazed and amused when I share that I shop most of my buying at ALDI. In addition, I shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s (did you know that they are part of the same group, which is the owner of ALDI? ) Also, one of our regional Kansas City grocery stores. However, about 8 years ago, I stepped the first step in ALDI, and I have been a satisfied and loyal customer since!

For something completely different, I thought I’d make a short ALDI 101 series because:

  • as a foodie, I am now a huge fan of and appreciate the shop for what it can (and doesn’t) provide
  • As a business enthusiast, I am a fan of strategy; I’ve been studying and appreciate their business model.
  • as a blogger, I’m passionate about sharing all the great ideas I’ve learned to help make cooking (and purchasing!) enjoyable and cost-effective

However, I like to clarify that this post article is not an advertisement and was not created in any kind of partnership with ALDI. I thought it would be fun to give an insider’s view of why this food blogger enjoys shopping at ALDI for affordable food items. And I’m hoping that it will spark some discussion, and perhaps one or two of you may share your thoughts on ALDI!

So today, I’m sharing “Why I Shop at ALDI”, And then the following two days will cover how to shop at ALDI and what to buy at ALDI. Thank you for letting me indulge, and I hope this is fun and informative! 🙂

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I’m ashamed to admit that my initial impression of ALDI was not good. In primary school, I can recall one of my closest classmates telling me that her mother was taking her on a trip to “the poor people’s store” that had no brand names, as well as the meals were awful. Yes, ALDI.

Okay, I’m pretty certain we were five when we were 5. However, the description stuck in my head for a long time for some reason. We never went to ALDI when we were kids. It was only when I moved into an apartment next to the ALDI in (an extremely beautiful suburban area within) Kansas City right out of college that I decided to visit and discover what the “poor” supermarket was about. I was on my own at first, and anything low-cost seemed appealing!

What I discovered during my initial ALDI experience was a complete surprise! The store was spotless, the food was delicious, and it was well organized, and holy smokes, the cashiers were moving quickly. They were incredibly fast! Of course, I made many rookie mistakes. From bringing only the credit card to offering the clerk a nonchalant expression when she asked me if I would like to “buy bags” and then asking whether they had tahini in their stores realized that there was a little bit of an education curve in the shop. Then I realized that a lot was learning to be learned about the store’s business model after I realized they had over 8,000 stores across the globe!

As I continued to shop there, I started to discover the meaning of ALDI and what isn’t.

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Consistent Selection

In the simplest terms, I think that ALDI is a great store to purchase cheap basic items.

In fact, ALDI supermarkets are just a tiny fraction of the size of larger supermarkets. They’re each just about 15,000 square feet in retail space on average. Therefore, they’ll be able to offer an extensive selection! However, the selection they have to offer of their most basic food items and non-food items is the same as are their low costs and quality.

I’ll go into the particulars of the range of food items and other non-food products that ALDI offers in my next What to Buy At ALDI article. From pantry items to frozen food items, baked goods, dairy products, food items, meats, drinks and wines, and everything between, I believe the selection they offer of essentials is excellent.

They also have a large non-food section that includes everything from toilet paper to pet food, cleaning products and even makeup. My favourite is the “Special Buys” section that introduces new fun and seasonal items every week, typically with a specific theme. It could range from SuperBowl specials (footballs and sports paper plates, green sprinkles, etc.) to camping gear for the summer (actual huge tents, sleeping bags, tiny grills etc.). Also, don’t forget to look through the clearance area, where lots of the items on sale are on sale for less astronomically low costs! I’ve purchased a variety of random items there I love!!

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Consistently Low Costs

Most of the time, I have found that the prices at ALDI surpass even the sales prices of the largest supermarkets. They have developed a business model that removes the astronomical expenses associated with huge store structures with huge inventories, massive staff, and huge advertising budgets.

Make sure you keep an eye on their low-priced signs, too. If it’s clearance-d or on sale this week, they’ll place an additional sign to mark lower prices. You’re getting a bargain!

Consistent Quality

Contrary to my belief that low prices are a sign of inferior quality, I’ve discovered the quality of ALDI’s products to be just as good as the more expensive supermarkets I shop at. I’ve read about their strict test kitchens and their dedication to high-quality goods; however, I evaluate the items I purchase. Most of the time, with the odd produce error or their Cheerio’s version (I’m an official brand girl), I love it.

But here’s the thing you must be aware of the quality of your purchase items. Like the typical supermarket, if you find that your lettuce is looking limp and wilting, it’s likely not likely to last for longer than a couple of days. This is also true for ALDI. There are times when certain produce items from there might appear slightly older than they should So, be careful about the items you select. I enjoy the produce section and regularly buy my thick-skinned vegetables there. (I buy organic thin-skinned fruits and vegetables.) If it appears to be a bit shaky, you can ask for more on hand or simply wait till the new batch is ready.

I can mention that if you ever have to buy something and find it not adequate, ALDI has an amazing feature they refer to as the Double Guarantee. It states that “if there’s a reason you are not completely happy with any item, we’ll be happy to replace the product and return your money.” The thing is, I’m not aware of any grocery stores that give a refund or replacement. I’m sure that’s a sign of something. Bravo, ALDI.

Consistent Designs for Stores

Another thing I like regarding ALDI locations is that they’re all similar in design! If you get to familiarize yourself with your local ALDI design, you’ll have no trouble getting around the new store I love.

The inventory is stored on simple pallets at the supermarket, like Sams’s or Costco. The majority of items are stored in cardboard boxes that can also be taken along to carry your food items after the box is empty. Every cardboard box has a colour-coordinated design to match the object.

The Great Business Model

Okay, I realize that I come back to this issue with each passing day. As someone who likes to research the business and entrepreneurial world, I am so impressed by the way ALDI is developing and staying true to its business model.

The first store was established 100 years ago today (in 1913! ) and had more than 8,000 stores worldwide. Crazy! However, throughout the years and across nations, from what I’ve observed, they’ve kept an unchanging model despite their growth. It’s been successful! From the unique cart checkout system to the minimum building size staff, hours of operation and stock, bring your own or pay for the grocery bags with minimal advertisements, and much more. I consider the business model clever and practical. I see them as being the IKEA and Southwest Airlines of the grocery world. 😉

The Best Employer

The last point is one that I’ve read about and heard about over many years but cannot confirm through personal knowledge. (So, If anyone of you has been employed at ALDI, I’d like to hear your thoughts!) I’ve read that ALDI is very good with their employees.

If you have ever been to an ALDI, you know that they only hire the super-speediest-of-speedy cashiers, who also do double-duty stocking and cleaning the store. However, they can select the top of the best since they pay their employees 50 per cent more than the average price for cashiers at grocery stores. Also, ALDI employees can be qualified for full benefits when they work more than 20 hours per week.

Therefore, there are no minimum-wage employees at ALDI. They pay their employees well because they are the superheroes that they are.

What ALDI is NOT:

Your One-Stop Store for Grocery Store

The biggest complaint I’ve heard from customers regarding ALDI is that people don’t get everything they want in its “list” in the store. However, I always remind you that’s part of the purpose of the ALDI store — it’s not intended to be a single-stop shop!

As I mentioned, I generally buy approximately half of my purchases with ALDI. I buy the essentials; later, I purchase the remainder of my “speciality” products (organics or name brands and anything that isn’t a staple component) at a bigger grocery store. Sometimes, ALDI might be out of stock for a sought-after product, particularly some popular food items that can disappear from the shelves. However, sometimes they surprise me with an item that I didn’t know they were carrying (like I came across almond milk last week! ).

But they’ll never be your only source, particularly when you’re cooking recipes from my website and looking for truffle oil. 😉

If you happen to have to shop for groceries in one day at two separate stores, I would suggest visiting the ALDI store first. After that, you can go to the larger grocery store to complete your shopping list later.

It is possible to ask, does it matter the effort in two separate trips? That depends upon your spending budget. However, I feel that the significant savings you can get from hitting up ALDI and a second supermarket will be worth it!!

Always Fast

As I’ve said, ALDI’s cashiers can be lightning-fast. They recruit the top in the business to ensure that they manage their stores efficiently and have efficient checkout lines.

To keep costs low for overhead, the typical staffing is four cashiers working at any time. Therefore, if you arrive during a peak time, wait times can belong, and you may be waiting a bit longer.

Most of the time, I’m quick to get through and out. It’s good to allow 5-10 minutes to stand in line, especially if you’re running the timer.

Open all hours

ALDI is also not accessible 24 hours a day! In the past, I had an occupation where I had to be working until 8 pm every night and was unhappy that I could not stop through the ALDI shop on my way home after work.

At present, I think that the majority of ALDI locations across America. The US are open between 9 am and 8 pm Monday through Saturday and from 10 am to 7 pm on Sundays. During peak shopping hours, they’re trying to cut costs by not having staff on-site at times of low traffic. But be aware!

A Complete Health Food & Organic Grocery

In the end, ALDI is not a Whole Foods or the health food section in your grocery store. A majority of the items sold there aren’t organic or naturally sourced, or even healthful like the items you find at a typical supermarket. (Apparently, Americans must buy a lot of potato chips since they sell a lot of them!)

However, there is a massive produce section and more organic and natural products. They have an excellent brand of groceries called “Fit and Active”, which displays the healthiest nutrition facts on the label. The brand is available throughout the aisles, from frozen items to snacks to cheese, and you should go through it.

The supermarket is as healthy as the food you put in it. It is possible to buy unhealthy food items or healthier and fresher options. However, if you’re an all-organic eater or looking for gluten-free, special products, your options are likely to be limited.

Top 10 reasons why I LOVE ALDI

Since I’m an avid list-maker, I thought I’d end my post with a few of my favorite reasons why I love ALDI:

  • 10. ALDI used to be “green” before it became cool, with a lower cost of energy and fewer bags.
  • 9. There are shops at ALDI virtually all over the globe.
  • 8. ALDI cashiers are fast as ninjas.
  • 7. ALDI sells my favourite razors, which I used to purchase from Target for half price.
  • 6. I don’t have to call for assistance in getting something, as they’re always at the same place.
  • 5. You can bring joy to someone else’s day by playing a “cart angel” and putting a surprise quarter for them. (Try it!)
  • 4. ALDI’s low prices allow me to squeeze more fruits and vegetables within my budget.
  • 3. ALDI’s incredible double guarantee.
  • 2. ALDI’s simple, low operating cost model.
  • 1. $0.99 pineapples!!!

(Okay, okay, the pineapples they sell are often – gasp! — $1.99. However, regardless of the price, they are cheap, amazing, and usually sold out. I purchase one every time I visit!)

Chris Evan was born in Quebec and raised in Montreal, except for the time when he moved back to Quebec and attended high school there. He studied History and Literature at the University of Toronto. He began writing after obsessing over books.

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