I was fortunate to spend some time earlier this month with the ALDI team at one of their Chicago area stores as well as their Head Quarters and Test Kitchen. It was an amazing experience full of a ton of food tasting and also a lot of new things I didn’t know about ALDI. Which says a lot because there was already a ton I have learned from shopping there over the years as well as from a tour of a local store opening I attended.
ALDI is fabulous. I tell everybody to go there and shop there. And, I spend a lot of my dollars there, too!
What I know/learned about ALDI
They listen to their customers
I feel like they really listen and get to know their shoppers. They did a gluten-free product line test for a week and everything flew off the shelves. Guess what? It’s staying! I requested cilantro at a meeting with ALDI and to my local store, and just this summer, they started having fresh cilantro. I know it wasn’t just my request, but seeing it at the store made me think that it was.
Lowest prices for everybody
ALDI has the lowest prices. They do everything to have low prices from sourcing local products if possible to having their associates also put out products when the store isn’t busy. The prices are so low, employees don’t need an employee discount.
The store is efficient for shopping
I can do a full shop at ALDI in about 45 minutes (or less without kids) while the average store takes me at least an hour or more. This is because there aren’t 15 of the same product, there is one. The store is only 4-5 aisles and about 10K square feet while an average store is about 60K square feet and 30 aisles! Yes, 30 aisles! I don’t have time for that.
ALDI stocks items people buy every time they shop not once a year items. This means that you know what they are going to have in the store and where it wil be. They know what you want and you know they will have it. (They do have special buys, and those are often limited to two weeks.)
ALDI exclusives are going “free” by the end of 2015
This is a big one and you can file it under listening to customers, too. By the end of 2015 ALL ALDI exclusive products will have no artificial colors, no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and no added MSG!
The Simply Nature line
Most of these products are organic, and some are non-GMO verified. There is a list of 125 ingredients not allowed in these products.
No credit cards
Being a cash only family, it’s second nature for us, but some people might not know that you can’t use a credit card at ALDI. You can use a debit card, cash or EBT cards. They do this to keep their costs low. Credit card companies charge vendors a fee (around 3%) to use a credit card. ALDI doesn’t want to have to inflate their prices to cover this cost, so they don’t accept them!
Foods are labeled for allergens
Cutting gluten and dairy was incredibly hard for me. But, reading the labels at ALDI helped. They clearly label if something is naturally gluten or dairy/lactose free among many other labels. It makes it very easy for a person shopping for groceries with allergen concerns to know if there are going to be issues.
To save time and money, all products are shipped in ready to display cardboard boxes. That way, the front can be torn off and they are ready to go. When a box is emptied of product, they recycle 100% of their cardboard used!
All ALDI exclusives have a double guarantee. If you aren’t happy with a product, you can bring it back to the store. Not only will you get a refund of your purchase, you will also get a replacement so they can make it right.
The food is good
Seriously, it’s legit. It is where we shop (unless they don’t have an item or two we need). My homemade taco seasoning is a huge hit with everybody that’s tried it (side note: ALDI now carries cumin, too!). The beef tacos I make are amazing. And the slow cooker cinnamon pear applesauce is amazing!
They care about their employees
They take care of their employees. They are offered very good pay and they care about their health and well-being as well. ALDI knows that it’s best for them to be seated in an ergonomic chair, so they are seated to scan your groceries. And with the UPC codes large and all over packages, they can scan groceries very efficiently. When they are working 25+ hours they are eligible for full medical and dental benefits and 410k.
The carts aren’t everywhere
You must bring a quarter to the store to release your shopping cart from the bay. This keeps the carts in their home instead of rolling around the parking lost. And, they don’t have to employ somebody to bring them in hourly. So, don’t forget your quarter. Pro tip: If you do happen to forget your quarter, the associates have been nice enough to lone us one to get our shopping done!
Bring your bags
Not only is it better for cost savings, but it’s better for the environment, too. Bring your own bags or containers for your groceries and reuse them every week. Also, be prepared to bag your groceries at the end of your shopping trip. Surprisingly, big kids are really good at helping and the littles can stay in the cart or in a carrier!
In their Test Kitchen, ALDI taste tests their products at a minimum of twice a year for all products and more frequently for new products. They want to make sure they are tasting as good if not better than the national leading brand and that they are proud of what they are producing.
The ALDI exclusive products are in combination with food manufacturers and packagers to create each individual ALDI “brand.”
Whew. That was a lot. But a lot I don’t think people know about ALDI and should!
Did you learn anything new that would help you decide to start shopping at ALDI or do you already shop there now and love it?
This is an ALDI sponsored post. All opnions are my own.