Aldi, the German grocery chain that's been rapidly expanding throughout the world for years now, has a dedicated fan base of customers who are loyal to the company for its famously low prices on private-label products. But beware; not everything the store offers is a bargain. Money-savvy customers have compiled lists of items you'll be better off skipping at Aldi, and we're sharing their tips here.
Many of these suggestions stem from the fact that Aldi doesn't accept manufacturers' coupons, meaning that purchasing name-brand items there can cost you more money in the long run. Others are due to issues regarding product quality or availability. Read on to learn which products to avoid at Aldi!
Produce Quality Can Vary
Many Aldi fans are dedicated to the store because of its produce, and specifically because of the bargain prices on tropical fruits such as kiwi, pineapple, and mango. However, the bananas for sale are frequently past their prime, and other produce has been found to be of inconsistent quality, according to a Consumer Reports survey.
Another common complaint is that the store uses a ton of unnecessary plastic packaging on produce. Today's eco-conscious consumers notice things like this!
Breakfast Cereal Tends To Be More Expensive At Aldi
As a rule, Aldi only stocks name brands when they're not able to make their own product that's of equal quality or better. Name-brand breakfast cereals are hard to beat, so the store doesn't offer many of its own private label versions.
The problem is that name brands are almost always more expensive at Aldi since the store doesn't accept manufacturers' coupons. As a result, you'll be wise to purchase your favorite breakfast cereals at the grocery or big-box store.
Buy Baby Food Elsewhere
Many baby essentials, like formula and diapers, are almost always a better deal at Aldi than at other stores. Items like baby snacks are also a good deal and well worth stocking up on while you make an Aldi run.
However, when it comes to baby food, you're better off going to big-box stores or traditional grocers because the selection at Aldi is just not a bargain. And you can use name-brand baby food coupons in conjunction with the sale prices at other stores.
Some Chips And Snacks Are Great But Others Aren't Worth The Savings
Snack items are a great food to stock up on while at Aldi. That is, some of them. People have said that the taste of Aldi-brand potato chips are nowhere near as good as name-brand varieties.
Some other types of Aldi chips score high with the store's fans, though. The person behind the blog Thrifty Frugal Mom said that Aldi brand tortilla, corn, and kettle-cooked chips are consistently "just as good as any name brand."
Aldi's Store-Brand Soda Comes Up Flat
If you drink a lot of soda, you can save quite a bit by buying Aldi's store brand beverages. But unfortunately, the trade-off isn't worth it to many people. The taste and quality just aren't there, which means that "savings" were actually wasted money.
Don't be tempted to buy the name-brand versions there, either! You'll pay top price at Aldi. Save the Coke and Sprite purchases for your trips to the grocery store, and use those coupons.
Meat Might Be Less Expensive At The Local Grocery Store (Except On Certain Days)
While Aldi does occasionally offer some good deals on meat, their regular prices aren't all that great. Smart Aldi shoppers know to go on Wednesdays for the best discounts because the store tends to offer some pretty fantastic sales on select meat items those days, but it's generally a better idea to buy staples like chicken and turkey at your regular grocery store.
Additionally, Consumer Reports has found the quality of Aldi's meat to be questionable at times.
Many People Don't Like Aldi's Yogurt
Yogurt is another of those foods that people develop pretty strong preferences for. However, quite a few Aldi fans have reported that they don't like the store's private-label brand. Charice M. of St. Louis, Missouri, told Reader's Digest that she won't buy her yogurt at Aldi, saying that it tastes "a little off" to her.
Name-brand yogurt products are nearly always going to be cheaper at regular retailers, so if Aldi's brand doesn't suit your tastes, get yours at the grocery instead.
Did You Know That Aldi Sells Clothing?
Some Aldi locations sell clothing these days, in the non-food "Aldi Finds" department. Unfortunately, quite a few consumer experts who have given the store's fashionable offerings a try say they're not a good buy.
A contributor on Aldi Reviewer shared that she bought some pajamas at the store. They weren't even machine dryable and lost a button in the wash right away. She also tried a pair of slippers and a golf polo with equally disappointing results. Our verdict: save the clothes shopping for another store.
Skip The Gel Dishwasher Detergent
Dishwasher detergent is dishwasher detergent, right? Not according to many customers who have tried Aldi's brand. In general, the retailer's powder packs receive decent reviews but the gel version is nearly universally disliked.
The dishwashing gel "leaves cloudy marks all over my glasses and plates and spots on my silverware," shared one consumer on Aldi Reviewer, while Redditors called the product "garbage" among some other choice words.
Butter Isn't The Best
Aldi shoppers seem to have a love/hate relationship with the chain store's butter. On the one hand, it's a great value and many people cite it as a "must-buy" item when they're stocking up.
However, it seems that how you use the butter seems to make a difference. For everyday use it's fine, but people who cook and bake a lot say the butter quality is not up to par.
Coffee Snobs Should Skip Aldi's Bargain Coffee
Everyone who enjoys a cup of java in the morning seems to have some pretty strong opinions about coffee, especially when it comes to purchasing it at Aldi's. People who have refined taste are probably better off getting their beans elsewhere.
"If you're even a little bit of a coffee snob, you’ll want to leave it on the shelf," shared Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less. "If you’ve already given up your Starbucks trips to save money and you’re brewing your cuppa at home, do yourself a favor and spend an extra buck or two on a decent bag of coffee." At least don't buy the very cheapest bag that Aldi has in stock.
Don't Skimp On Kitty Litter
Pet lovers enjoy treating their furry (and scaly!) companions to the best in life. When it comes to staples like kitty litter, however, many of us prefer to save as much money as possible. Aldi has a store-brand cat litter but according to those in the know, it's not worth the price.
Aldi Reviewer reported that Heart to Tail Scoopable Cat Litter doesn't work as well as name brands. The product is dusty and smells weird, and they wrote that any "liquid waste doesn't always clump well." It's probably worth a few extra bucks to get the good stuff, and your cat will thank you for it.
Paper goods like toilet paper, napkins, and paper towels are easy to score deals on when using coupons. Unfortunately, this means that Aldi isn't the best place to get these products if you're looking for big discounts.
Although the store's everyday prices on paper goods are reasonable, people interested in buying name brand products and/or using coupons should shop elsewhere for the absolute best prices when they're stocking the pantry.
Go To The Drugstore Or Big-Box For Deodorant, Shampoo, And Other Toiletries
If your only stop for the day is Aldi, you'll certainly be able to find many of the toiletries you need, such as deodorant, shampoo, and soap. But you're not going to get a stellar deal on them. The folks at Cheapism found that Aldi's store-brand toiletries were more expensive than other retailers' private labels.
Considering that other stores have better selections and take manufacturers' coupons, you're nearly always going to be better off skipping the personal care aisle at Aldi if you can.
Steer Clear Of Most Frozen Shrimp Except The Jumbo Size
Ruth Soukup, author of the popular blog Living Well Spending Less, has shared that Aldi's frozen shrimp is not usually a terrific deal. One exception, however, is the chain's jumbo frozen shrimp.
Soukup explains, "Don't bother with the other sizes of shrimp. They aren’t worth the price compared to their weight." Frozen fish like salmon and tilapia are usually a good buy at Aldi though, said Soukup.
Avoid "Special Buys" For A Specific Reason
Now, here's a category of Aldi offerings that made the list for a different reason than a lot of the others. Many Aldi regulars warn people against buying the store's "special buys" or "Aldi Finds."
It's not because there's anything wrong with the specialty items. No, it's just that you're probably going to fall in love with these delicious products and when you go back to restock, they'll already be gone from the store's shelves! Aldi labels its products as special buys as a way to let customers know that they won't stick around for long.
Oil Only Lasts A Few Months
Even if you're someone who uses oil every day for cooking or making dressings, it's unlikely you'll go through the vats they sell at Costco before it goes bad. According to the USDA's Foodkeeper application, any oil should be used within three to six months after it is opened.
And, unfortunately, it doesn't matter which type of oil. Canola, vegetable, peanut, and even sesame all start to go bad around the same time. Settling for a smaller bottle is always a good option.
Spices Go Stale
Contrary to popular belief, spices, in fact, do go stale. Considering the whole point of spice is to make a dish more flavorful, it'd be sad to have to get rid of bags full of cumin or paprika just because it was bought in bulk.
Ground spices will start to lose their potency within six months! It may seem like a long time, but only a pinch of spice is used here and there. Most likely, you won't be able to enjoy all of it.
Flour Absorbs Moisture
Flour of all different varieties have one thing in common: they attract water. So, the longer you have a bag sitting in the pantry, the more time it has to soak up moisture and go bad.
Even though flour is great for baking and thickening soups, if you're not using it every day, it's not worth buying in bulk. Although, you can extend the six-months to one-year lifespan of flour if you store it in the fridge.