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ALDI food stores
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  • ALDI food stores

    Post #1 - January 10th, 2006, 6:16 pm
    Post #1 - January 10th, 2006, 6:16 pm Post #1 - January 10th, 2006, 6:16 pm
    I've been lurking on the Costco posts and was curious what the thoughts were on ALDI. Earlier at lunch today, a friend and I were talking about grocery shopping and ALDI came up.

    For me, I have no problem shopping there for basics/essentials that I'm not picky about - sugar, flour, baking soda, etc. I even checked out their website and had no idea they were worldwide.

    The downfall on ALDI to me would be their SLOW check out process and limited selection of some things.

    What are your thoughts on ALDI?
  • Post #2 - January 10th, 2006, 6:21 pm
    Post #2 - January 10th, 2006, 6:21 pm Post #2 - January 10th, 2006, 6:21 pm
    Keep in mind that Aldi (USA) and Trader Joe's are sister companies, both owned by the same multibillionaire. He and his brother founded the original Aldi (germany) in the 70s, and have been raking in the cash ever since.

    So they've got a lot in common, including basically the entire business model. The only difference is the target demographic..

    I think aldi is great for some stuff, but the long, long, long lines make it not worth it for me.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - January 10th, 2006, 6:34 pm
    Post #3 - January 10th, 2006, 6:34 pm Post #3 - January 10th, 2006, 6:34 pm
    You can genuinely save some money there but the trade-off is the drawbacks already mentioned. For people who have more time than money, it's a good option. For the most part, everything is the same quality as any supermarket.
  • Post #4 - January 10th, 2006, 6:35 pm
    Post #4 - January 10th, 2006, 6:35 pm Post #4 - January 10th, 2006, 6:35 pm
    This is what Yahoo Financials had to say about ALDI Group, what I assume is the international parent company.

    Aldi doesn't seem to try keep it a secret, they only source 700 products versus a typical supermarket's 25,000 products. Costco has a similar model, but I think it is perhaps a little more concerned with quality.

    Costco to me has always struck me as a one-stop place if a I was in need of something for my small business. I could find, typing paper, toliet paper, batteries, floor wax...not necessarily my preferred brand, but a quality brand or private lable equivalent.

    If I had time and the need to feed several people on a budget, I might shop for commodities at ALDI and then supplement with another store. Actually, my one dependant, a cat, is fairly brand-loyal which keeps me going back to Jewel once a month.

    For me, the huge difference in my grocery dollar (although it is more for healthy choices) has been to avoid all supermarkets and shop at Edgewater produce (or Marketplace on Oakton with an Aldi nextdoor)...I am just not exposed to point of purchase processed foods that are packaged to look better than they taste or satisfy.
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #5 - January 10th, 2006, 7:17 pm
    Post #5 - January 10th, 2006, 7:17 pm Post #5 - January 10th, 2006, 7:17 pm
    Hi,

    There are earlier threads on Aldi and quite a lengthy one on Trader Joes with asides on Aldi's.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #6 - January 10th, 2006, 10:24 pm
    Post #6 - January 10th, 2006, 10:24 pm Post #6 - January 10th, 2006, 10:24 pm
    pdanne wrote:If I had time and the need to feed several people on a budget, I might shop for commodities at ALDI and then supplement with another store.

    Thats the game plan at the at our house. Roughly 60% of our grocery dollars go to Trader Joe's and ALDI while the other 40% goes to Harvest Time, Cermack Produce, Deli Meyer and Joe the sausage King.
    If one spends a lilttle time at ALDI you can find some jems, most imported from Germany. A few of our favorites are Grandessa German roast coffe, assorted German chocolate bars, and on rare occasions 3 packs of Deutche Kutche (sp) bratwursts and ementaller stuffed knockwurst, all at very reasonable prices.
  • Post #7 - January 11th, 2006, 12:08 am
    Post #7 - January 11th, 2006, 12:08 am Post #7 - January 11th, 2006, 12:08 am
    I will shop at Aldi's for quick produce and canned goods purchases. There quality is pretty decent.

    Their service is improving at least in the Crystal Lake location. Now, the cashiers actually say "hello" instead of grunting. (g)
  • Post #8 - January 11th, 2006, 9:57 am
    Post #8 - January 11th, 2006, 9:57 am Post #8 - January 11th, 2006, 9:57 am
    For what it's worth, Aldi's US Headquarters and main warehouse is here in Batavia. They have just completed a huge addition.
  • Post #9 - January 11th, 2006, 10:10 am
    Post #9 - January 11th, 2006, 10:10 am Post #9 - January 11th, 2006, 10:10 am
    A big part of Aldi's appeal, to its customer base, is the fact that most items are approved for what used to be "food stamps" (it's now a card and electronic rather than actual stamps, but same program). So you don't face the potential embarassment of having to put back Quaker oatmeal and get the generic while five people are behind you in line, or of feeling that people are staring at you for being in the program. Comfort level is a big draw, and in Aldi's case, makes up for a lot of the other things that are not so comfortable or appealing about the place.
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  • Post #10 - January 11th, 2006, 2:42 pm
    Post #10 - January 11th, 2006, 2:42 pm Post #10 - January 11th, 2006, 2:42 pm
    hmm .. there's an Aldi a block from my house at Milwaukee & Leavitt. Maybe I should check it out. I guess I've always been a snob or something but the more I cook, the more of a PITA it gets to go to Jewel for staples. I also notice that they close pretty early on weekends and at 8 on weekdays.
  • Post #11 - January 11th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    Post #11 - January 11th, 2006, 3:36 pm Post #11 - January 11th, 2006, 3:36 pm
    I got used to shopping at Aldi's in Germany, where they're *cash* only, always. They had decent items in meat and candy, which was what I went there for, mostly. In the States I shop for pretty much the same thing--the German 'prosuito' (sp?), other ham and sausage; lots of good chocolates; and a cheap but quite good German coffee. The lines in Janesville and KC are longish, but move quickly.

    Strangely enough, there are NO Aldis in Canada, which strikes me as quite odd. I wish they were here...

    There are several in Sydney--same stock as in Germany and US. Weird feeling to be in a place so similar, but so faaaaar away.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #12 - January 11th, 2006, 4:54 pm
    Post #12 - January 11th, 2006, 4:54 pm Post #12 - January 11th, 2006, 4:54 pm
    aldi is no small mom and pop shop -- see http://www.familybusinessmagazine.com/topglobal.html (#15)

    ALDI Group (15)
    Albrecht/Essen, Germany
    Industry: Food retailing
    Revenues: $30 billion
    Employees:
    www.aldi.com
    ALDI (short for “Albrecht Discounts”) is Europe’s top private-label, deep-discount food retailer, with 6,100 stores worldwide, including 3,100 in Germany and some 670 in the U.S. Co-founders Theo and Karl Albrecht own the company; Theo’s sons Theo Jr. and Berthold run European division.
  • Post #13 - January 11th, 2006, 6:08 pm
    Post #13 - January 11th, 2006, 6:08 pm Post #13 - January 11th, 2006, 6:08 pm
    foo d wrote:aldi is no small mom and pop shop -- see http://www.familybusinessmagazine.com/topglobal.html (#15)

    ALDI Group (15)
    Albrecht/Essen, Germany
    Industry: Food retailing
    Revenues: $30 billion
    Employees:
    www.aldi.com
    ALDI (short for “Albrecht Discounts”) is Europe’s top private-label, deep-discount food retailer, with 6,100 stores worldwide, including 3,100 in Germany and some 670 in the U.S. Co-founders Theo and Karl Albrecht own the company; Theo’s sons Theo Jr. and Berthold run European division.


    Yes...I believe this has already been mentioned(in this thread and others).
    "Johnny thought when all purpose had been forgotten the world would end this way, with a dance. He slumped back in a corner, drew his knees up to his chin, and watched."-Derek Jarman
  • Post #14 - January 11th, 2006, 8:04 pm
    Post #14 - January 11th, 2006, 8:04 pm Post #14 - January 11th, 2006, 8:04 pm
    Mike G wrote:A big part of Aldi's appeal, to its customer base, is the fact that most items are approved for what used to be "food stamps" (it's now a card and electronic rather than actual stamps, but same program). So you don't face the potential embarassment of having to put back Quaker oatmeal and get the generic while five people are behind you in line, or of feeling that people are staring at you for being in the program. Comfort level is a big draw, and in Aldi's case, makes up for a lot of the other things that are not so comfortable or appealing about the place.


    The Food Stamp program in the State of Illinois has no requirement to purchase only generics. You may be thinking of the WIC Program (Women, Infant, Children) which is a nutrition program for pregnant women and children until the age of 5 to cover certain nutritional needs. The WIC Program does not use the LINK card; many of their food items can be picked up at their centers. And, sometimes you still see Food Stamps being used, as I did at Whole Foods last year, because the account can be "cashed out" when moving out of state.
  • Post #15 - January 14th, 2006, 5:41 pm
    Post #15 - January 14th, 2006, 5:41 pm Post #15 - January 14th, 2006, 5:41 pm
    I have always heard that Aldi has good, cheap flower bunches. Can anyone attest to that?
  • Post #16 - January 14th, 2006, 6:14 pm
    Post #16 - January 14th, 2006, 6:14 pm Post #16 - January 14th, 2006, 6:14 pm
    GinaO wrote:I have always heard that Aldi has good, cheap flower bunches. Can anyone attest to that?


    Cheap? Yes. Good? Eh. Mostly the sort of orangey-purple alstoemeria that don't do much for me. I've never been motivated to actually buy a bunch, though plenty of other people do.

    I now do my regular shopping at Ultra Foods in Forest Park, but before that I did as much as possible at the Aldi on Harlem at about 18th St. As noted, the selection is very limited (and you can't get Diet Coke--or any name brand pop/soda--which always meant I had to at least stop in somewhere else) but the prices are very good. It's not just 20 or 30 cents better either. Many many things there are a dollar or more cheaper than they are at Jewel. The things I nearly always buy when I'm there include saltines, all-purpose flour, sugar, vegetable oil, butter, rice mixes, chicken and beef broth, napkins, bath soap, bleach, bananas, oranges, peppers (usually a four pack of two green, a yellow, and a red for $1.99) , cran-apple juice, generic cool-whip, whole chicken, ground turkey, and batteries. They may not carry brand-name pop, but they nearly always have 4 packs of fresh AA or AAA Duracell batteries near the check-out for $1.99. Back when Ed lived on frozen pizza, they had good brands at great prices.

    They take debit cards, but no credit cards. I've always found the staff friendly and helpful, and like the fact that they get to sit on stools when every other grocery cashier in town has to stand. You also have to either supply your own bags, or buy their very large, very heavy duty ones for a dime. And you need a quarter to get a shopping cart, though you'll get it back when you return it.

    There's no question that this is a utilitarian shopping experience, not an upscale one. But if you go in the right frame of mind I think you'll be pleased.
  • Post #17 - January 14th, 2006, 6:52 pm
    Post #17 - January 14th, 2006, 6:52 pm Post #17 - January 14th, 2006, 6:52 pm
    The frozen pizza (Mama Cozzi's) is nearly indistinguishable from tombstone original, but it is (or was) $2.00 a pizza instead of $4. I've moved on from frozen pizza, but it was a great deal.

    They also have local chicago brand Reggio's at nice discounts.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #18 - January 14th, 2006, 9:42 pm
    Post #18 - January 14th, 2006, 9:42 pm Post #18 - January 14th, 2006, 9:42 pm
    Ann Fisher wrote:And you need a quarter to get a shopping cart, though you'll get it back when you return it.


    I have seen this type of system in Europe.

    Funny how people will walk past change on the ground never dreaming to pick it up. Have them give up a precious (parking or laundry) quarter and they are better than usual about returning the cart.

    I was at Costco at Glenview this afternoon. There were people loading their car at the location I prefered to park. I could see they were looking around where to stash the cart. I rolled down the window and told them I would take care of the cart. This little action surprised a friend who was accompanying me. I advised it is a wee incentive to get them moving and me into the store just a bit quicker.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #19 - January 14th, 2006, 9:44 pm
    Post #19 - January 14th, 2006, 9:44 pm Post #19 - January 14th, 2006, 9:44 pm
    Cathy2 wrote: I rolled down the window and told them I would take care of the cart.


    This is actually really common in Aldi parking lots, too. You see someone finishing loading their car and hand them your quarter. When you eventually return it, you get their quarter.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #20 - January 30th, 2006, 5:54 pm
    Post #20 - January 30th, 2006, 5:54 pm Post #20 - January 30th, 2006, 5:54 pm
    Ann Fisher wrote:There's no question that this is a utilitarian shopping experience, not an upscale one. But if you go in the right frame of mind I think you'll be pleased.


    I'm going to agree with this (and throw in that Ultra Foods is a nice halfway between Aldi and Jewel.) I'm not expecting an amazing shopping experience at Aldi, but I am expecting stuff like Matt's Chocolate Chip Cookies under their house brand for about $1-$1.50 less than Jewel.

    I'm a fan of TJ's, as well. But for basic staples I don't see why you can't go wrong with Aldi. They also still sell sugar in 5 pound bags, unlike those 4 pounders that Jewel and Dominick's chintzed out with.

    I'd be interested in seeing a list of "good" buys at Aldi, and of course, if any products are identical between Aldi and TJ's.
  • Post #21 - January 30th, 2006, 6:05 pm
    Post #21 - January 30th, 2006, 6:05 pm Post #21 - January 30th, 2006, 6:05 pm
    Matt's isn't even under a house brand, is it? It's the same package you'd buy at jewel but for like, $1.50 a bag instead of $3.50.

    Those are some good cookies.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #22 - January 30th, 2006, 10:47 pm
    Post #22 - January 30th, 2006, 10:47 pm Post #22 - January 30th, 2006, 10:47 pm
    gleam wrote:Matt's isn't even under a house brand, is it? It's the same package you'd buy at jewel but for like, $1.50 a bag instead of $3.50.

    Those are some good cookies.


    We've bought them both ways -- last week back to the Aldi's packaging.

    Count the Ramons as casual fans of Aldi.

    Impulse purchases I made from Aldi (non-food): a $10 air compressor that plugs into a car lighter jack (still works!) and a $20 fold up picnic table that only little people are comfortable in.

    As an aside note, Mrs Ramon is famous for going to Sam's Club to save money and coming back with a bunch of (too often) crappy impulse buys in immense quantities. God-love-her. I fear less when she's only going to Aldi.

    -ramon
  • Post #23 - January 30th, 2006, 10:53 pm
    Post #23 - January 30th, 2006, 10:53 pm Post #23 - January 30th, 2006, 10:53 pm
    HI,

    To the uninitiated, how can you identify Matt's cookies dressed as Aldi's?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #24 - January 30th, 2006, 11:04 pm
    Post #24 - January 30th, 2006, 11:04 pm Post #24 - January 30th, 2006, 11:04 pm
    Image

    -ramon
  • Post #25 - January 30th, 2006, 11:13 pm
    Post #25 - January 30th, 2006, 11:13 pm Post #25 - January 30th, 2006, 11:13 pm
    Thanks Ramon!

    A picture is worth a thousand words!

    I haven't been to Aldi, except in Germany, so I am looking forward to going!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #26 - January 30th, 2006, 11:21 pm
    Post #26 - January 30th, 2006, 11:21 pm Post #26 - January 30th, 2006, 11:21 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Thanks Ramon!


    My pleasure, ma'am.

    -ramon
    "Fastest camera in the midwest."
  • Post #27 - February 4th, 2006, 11:37 am
    Post #27 - February 4th, 2006, 11:37 am Post #27 - February 4th, 2006, 11:37 am
    pmcaleer wrote:I'd be interested in seeing a list of "good" buys at Aldi, and of course, if any products are identical between Aldi and TJ's.


    FWIW here is a the main core of things we buy at Aldi's that are also available at TJ

    Artichoke hearts 1.69 12 oz
    (same square jar, different label, over 2 at TJ)

    Diced Tomatoes .49 (14.5 oz)
    (usually .89 or more at TJ)

    canned pineapple in p juice 20 oz (.89 IIRC can't find a reciept)

    100% grape juice 64 oz 1.69 to 1.89
    (different containers, TJ has glass jars, but even though its in plastic, this has no corn syrup -- it is reconsituted from concentrate though)

    Not from concentrate OJ 64 oz 1.79 to 1.99
    (2.29 or more at TJ)

    canned pumpkin 15oz .89
    (IIRC, definitely less than $1 at Aldi)

    dill sandwich pickle slices
    (look the same, cheaper at Aldi-- I think 1.49 vs. 2.49)

    black beans and garbonzoes only appear at Aldi around cinco de mayo (15 oz cans) then around .39 each which can be sale price at dom and jewel but not often. kidney and pinto available year round.

    we also find the ALDI cheap sharp cheddar for 1.49 (8 oz) sharper than most cheap cheddars.

    I found a "Seriously Sharp" Cabot cheddar in a supermarket in Va Beach (Fresh farms?) over the holidays. Apparently on the east coast there is a supermarket line of Cabot cheeses not just the "artisan" line we get at TJs here. The 6-8oz brick cost less that 1.50 (I think it might have been 1.21, can't remember if it was less than 8 oz). I bought it to eat with virginia ham on warm homemade biscuts. It was WONDERFUL and dry with a real bite (so probably real cheddar instead of colby-posing-as-cheddar), but we have yet to see Cabot in the 6-8 oz cheap bricks in the midwest. Got the block from TJ of extra sharp cabot (the gourmet line) -- came close to seriously sharp, but missed that extra push over the cliff of tanginess... (griffin must have thrown away the receipt or its still in his pockets somewhere -- but I am sure it was more than 1.50)

    We would love to know if anyone has seen seriously sharp (also called Hunter's Sharp) in the 6-8oz block with plaid on the label in the chicago area! I see it is available from the cabot web site, but that does take some of the adventure out of food shopping and food-related travel!

    meanwhile, back to ALDI
    as other folks have mentioned, staples like baking soda, baking powder, eggs (between .69 and .89 a dozen for large), milk 2.15-2.39 for 2% gallon, flour, sugar (usually both .89 or .99) are always as cheap as DOM or Jewel on sale. Probably not a better deal than local/ethnic markets, but good to know.

    yes the lines are long on weekends and especially on/near government paydays, but not so bad other times (I know the clybourn location best)

    As for TJ, their breads, gourmet cheeses, frozen selection and sauces have no competition at Aldi. Aldi is supposed to be widening their coffee selection but so far does not offer whole beans. So TJ gets our coffee business as well.

    We haven't researched where Aldi's contract brews are coming from yet, but TJ also has gotten some nice contract beers from Unibroue (2005 Vintage Ale), Gordon Biersch (the german series including tj's winterfest dark double bock), and Goose Island (Black Toad).
  • Post #28 - February 4th, 2006, 1:55 pm
    Post #28 - February 4th, 2006, 1:55 pm Post #28 - February 4th, 2006, 1:55 pm
    Thursday I had to go down from Montreal to the doc in Plattsburgh NY. There, in a shopping plaza not far off I-87 is the biggest Aldi's I've ever seen: it's gotta be 50% larger than the standard-sized stores I know from KC and Janesville WI. Lots more selection, even some name brands (Pringles chips, for example...?) More canned goods variety, more sweets, and the meats and veges are longer and deeper.

    Awfully busy, but they've got both lines going, and going fast. According to the web, there's not an Aldi or a TJ's in all of Canada--but this is so close, it almost counts. Who knew??

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #29 - December 29th, 2006, 1:15 am
    Post #29 - December 29th, 2006, 1:15 am Post #29 - December 29th, 2006, 1:15 am
    I have had the opportunity to do a little grocery shopping in the past couple of weeks. I have never been a great fan of Aldi stores EXCEPT that they offer their store brands at a fraction of the cost of Jewel's.

    Two observations:

    1) Customer service has really improved. The cashiers have been very friendly ... almost as goos as Trader Joe's. No more grunting and throwing the groceries into the cart.

    2) They have really upgraded and increased the SKUs that they carry in the refrigerated and frozen sections. They are not upscale by any means but the variety and quality of the products have improved dramatically.
  • Post #30 - December 29th, 2006, 11:45 am
    Post #30 - December 29th, 2006, 11:45 am Post #30 - December 29th, 2006, 11:45 am
    My family is fond of corned beef hash. While they would prefer I make it from scratch, which I will do if we have a corned beef lying around, most of the time they will eat the canned variety if it is fried up crisp, with eggs over easy.

    When I was last in Aldi I noticed they had a private label corned beef hash for 99 cents a can. I got a couple of cans and we tried it for breakfast a few weeks ago.

    I'm never going back to the brand name cans. This was every bit as good, and less salty than what Hormel puts out.

    We don't buy everything at Aldi either, but the Grandessa frozen fruit bars are very reasonable and a requested treat in our house all year round. I also buy the rice mixes and my kids like the frozen meatballs. When I am working late, the rest of the family has to make dinner and they have a very limited repertoire. They are mainly skilled at taking frozen meals and doctoring them up. The frozen cheese ravioli at Aldi is a favorite as well.

    You can occasionally find name brand food items in Aldi, but only as a special purchase. I'm impressed with how much I save when I shop there, but I wouldn't go so far as to say I've stopped shopping at Ultra, Walt's, TJ's and Costco, which are my other food shopping destinations.

    Suzy
    " There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life."
    - Frank Zappa

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