Food Allergy Shopping: Aldi

Last week I said that we would discuss the specialty grocers this week, and then I remembered my beloved Aldi!

“Oh, Aldi, will you please forgive me for forgetting you.  It wasn’t because I didn’t shop with you this week, I just plum forgot.  Ok, forgiven? Good.”

Aldi: The hidden gem! Skeptics out there, you need to give yourself a few trips to Aldi to get used to the ins and outs of it, then you will be hooked.  Aldi is a German-based grocer and the proud owner of Trader Joe’s (yes, this is true!).  Trader Joe’s is a little more “classy” than Aldi, but the prices are better at Aldi and on occasion you can find a hidden food gem.  (Note: TJ’s and Aldi sell different items and do not really lend themselves to a side-by-side comparison.  The cashier and I were discussing this connection recently and I said that I wished Aldi carried more TJ items at Aldi prices.  He said, “That’s why they’re Trader Joe’s.”)

Aldi tips:

  • They only accept cash or debit card.
  • Bring your own bags or pay for their bags (or snag an empty box off the shelf).
  • Bring a quarter for the shopping cart.
  • Be patient.  They typically only have 1 or 2 employees working at all times doing cash register, stocking, etc.
  • Produce is hit and miss.
  • The stores vary from new/old decor to the type of items stocked and prices as well as patrons.
  • Bring an open mind.

What I buy at Aldi:

  • Basic staples: flour, sugar, eggs (milk is a great price too, but we don’t buy milk), marshmallows (for the kids rice krispie treats 🙂
  • Hummus: no soybean oil
  • Fresh Salsa (artichoke & garlic): This stuff is awesome and terribly addictive! It’s a knock-off of Wild Mike’s fresh salsa and priced much more reasonably.
  • Fruit Leather: Yes, they have it and it is only $1.99 for a box of 8.
  • Old-Fashioned Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Veggie Chips
  • Chicken Broth: Fit ‘n Active brand contains no soy or corn and is cheaper than organic broth
  • Produce, on occasion
  • Cashews (best price anywhere)
  • Black Olives, can
  • Canned/Jarred Fruit/Beans, on occasion
  • Kettle Chips (If you don’t follow on FB, you missed my post about indulging myself in their Cracked Pepper & Salt Kettle Chips on discount for 99¢.)
  • Canola Oil (although their price just went up and Meijer brand is now cheaper)
  • Fresh Ground Turkey, on occasion
  • Paper Food Products: plates, plastic cups, utensils

Randomness:

  • Shameless Plug: If you like cheap frozen pizza (who doesn’t have the occasional weakness for the terrible stuff?), Mama Cozzi Thin Crust Pepperoni is the best I’ve ever had.
  • Fit ‘n Active brand is a good place to start for “healthier” choices.
  • Flowers – Sometimes you can find them on discount with plenty of life left.
  • I generally do not buy their fresh meat because they’re prices aren’t any better than the sale prices at the big stores.  However, I will sometimes find them on “manager special” and score a huge deal!
  • Our Aldi has been mailing out coupons lately, perhaps to get people into the store (although they always seem busy to me).  This week was a $5 off ham of choice.  I was able to get a 9+lb. ham for $7.  They’ve also sent out $5 off when you spend $30.
  • The price on their Old-Fashioned Oats and Brown Rice seem to be the best that I’ve found and I use them frequently for making homemade wheat-free* flours (*Aldi oats are not guaranteed to be free of wheat cross-contamination).

So, that’s my Aldi.  I Aldi!

I would like to challenge each of you, if you are not a regular Aldi shopper, to try it out for 2-3 weeks.  Then, come back here or on Facebook and let me know how you liked it.

Do you shop at Aldi?  What are your favorite things to buy there?

If you missed the first posts in this series, catch up on Where to Shop, Food Allergy Shopping: Kroger, Food Allergy Shopping: Meijer.

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