12 Things You’re Not Buying From Aldi—But Should
Aldi is about to become your favorite grocery store—if it isn't already.
The Aldi grocery chain started as a discount option here in the United States, but the German company now focuses on providing not just the lowest prices but also the best quality products. “About 98 percent of Aldi’s products are under their own brands,” which allows them to control the quality, says consumer and marketing analyst Phil Lempert. “They have very high standards for what they offer.”
While there are some foods you should always buy at Aldi, we got the inside scoop from Lempert on his all-time favorite picks to check out. “I can’t say enough good things about Aldi’s products,” adds Lempert, founder of The Supermarket Guru. “They’re very efficient, so they can have good prices.”
The cooking staple (and healthy diet favorite) is also beloved among their four olive oils. “Whether you go for the general-purpose olive oil, the extra-virgin olive oil, the organic olive oil, or the imported from Sicily olive oil—they’re all exceptional,” Lempert says. In case you ever wondered, here’s what makes olive oil “extra virgin.”
Furniture at a grocery store? It may sound crazy, but Aldi’s non-food offerings come with the same high quality (and low prices) as their food products, so it pays to check out the seasonal offerings in the center of the store when you shop. “When the kids are going back to college, Aldi offers chairs and rugs that are typically really good buys,” Lempert says. “Don’t just walk by and ignore them.” These are the back-to-school essentials every kid needs during the pandemic.
Vegetarian burgers are one of many things you wouldn’t think to grill—but should. Lampert swears that kale burgers are one of his favorite Aldi products, saying they’re definitely worth experimenting with—even if you have meat lovers in your family. “Aldi has an incredible money-back guarantee, so if you don’t like something, you can get a full refund,” Lempert says. “It’s always a great opportunity to try a product.”
There are some fruits and vegetables that you should always buy organic. Aldi’s prices (and quality) make their organic produce section a can’t-miss for health-conscious shoppers. “They’ve doubled the size of their fresh produce offerings,” Lempert says. “When it comes to organic produce, there are plenty of great buys at Aldi.” Here’s why the produce at Aldi is so cheap.
Seafood and fresh meat
Because Aldi’s efficient business model makes it easy for them to provide high-quality products at lower prices, you should be adding fish and meat to your Aldi list. “Their standards are very high for fresh meat and seafood,” Lempert says. Just don’t compromise that quality with a rinse. Fish and poultry are on our list of foods to never wash before cooking.
Aldi’s spice selection is not only extensive but also extremely reasonable. Their prices for spice staples such as garlic powder and paprika from their Stonemill brand are regularly one-third the price of the same spice at other grocery stores—making it easy to keep your spice rack stocked. You’ll also want to consider replacing any spices that are getting old. Here’s how long spices really last.
You don’t have to sacrifice quality for price when it comes to Aldi’s wine selection. “Aldi’s wines are terrific,” Lempert says. “They’re usually rated 90 or above by Wine Spectator—you can’t miss with their wines.” The store’s Exquisite Collection Côtes de Provence Rosé is under $10 and has won the International Wine Challenge’s Great Value Award. The fact that Aldi sells award-winning wines is just one of the secrets Aldi employees won’t tell you.
Aldi has a small and more selective bakery, but the quality of their breads can’t be beat. A 20-ounce loaf of excellent L’oven Fresh white bread is only 85 cents—even cheaper than Walmart. Just note: There are some Aldi products you should probably steer clear of.
Since it’s a German food chain Aldi keeps German treats as a special staple on their shelves. The store’s nicely curated beer selection focuses heavily on some well-priced German brews, including the Wernesgruner Pilsner that the Chicago Tribune rated a “must buy.” But you can get other German goodies as well, including a tasty apple strudel and German-style pickles.
“Never Any” products
Aldi’s strict quality guidelines keep 100 undesirable ingredients, including MSG, out of the foods they sell, but the “Never Any” line of products guarantees you won’t have any preservatives or additives in the mix.
If you’re wondering how safe it is to shop at Aldi during the pandemic, here are the things you won’t see at Aldi anymore.