You may have driven by an Aldi before and thought it was simply a new supermarket opening up in your neighborhood. Maybe you went in and ignorantly thought it was low rent. You can be forgiven for thinking that. You were confused by its minimalist, efficient German ways.
I am here to enlighten you. Aldi is opening your eyes to what the 1 percent have been doing to you guys in the supermarket for years. Aldi is tearing down facades and exposing lies.
Aldi is grocery revolution, and here’s why.
Insanely cheap. Too-good-to-be-true cheap. How-is-this-even-possible cheap.
Firstly, you’ll notice that there’s nearly zero name brands there. This may put your bullshit meter on high alert, but there’s no need. Aldi is a massive force in the grocery world. The chain is in 18 countries on three continents. It has the purchasing power to make any food manufacturer work for it, selling it items super cheap and slapping on Aldi’s private label instead of its own.
Know who else does this? Trader Joe’s. You love Trader Joe’s, don’t you? All the cool kids just loooooove Trader Joe's. Know who owns them? Aldi Nord, which is run by Theo Albrecht. The Aldi chain in the U.S. is owned by his brother Karl Albrecht's company, Aldi Sud. The brothers split the company back in 1960. So Aldi U.S. and Trader Joe's are more like cousins. Rival cousins.
Aldi is calling shenanigans on your overpriced jars of cumin and $5 whack-ass artificial cookies. We know those cost 10 cents to make — the veil has been lifted. Bow the hell down.
Secondly, anything that is deemed nonessential to running a supermarket is eliminated — this is a chance to get up close and personal with that famous German efficiency. There’s no music — licensing fees cost money. No shelves — everything is in specially designed display boxes that can easily be stocked. Everything the chain could cut, it did, which means your grocery bill can end up being 75 percent cheaper than it would be in your average supermarket. Think of all the things you can do with your savings! Buy new sandals for the kids! Get the car tuned up! Get the bathroom recaulked! So many exciting possibilities!
In keeping with its minimalist practices, Aldi carries only the most popular grocery products people routinely buy (plus some trendy items, because Germans can let loose too!). This means if you stay focused, you very rarely come out with a bunch of crap you can’t use. Think of it as a “Greatest Hits” supermarket. If you forget your shopping list, walking through the aisles will jog your memory and remind you which staples you need.
Speaking of staples, check out this ultimate pantry list that will keep you from starving.
Earlier this year, Aldi stepped up its organic, natural and specialty game like whoa:
All private label products have been stripped of partially hydrogenated oils, MSG and certified synthetic colors.
The chain has introduced a line of meats called Never Any!, which have no added antibiotics, hormones, animal byproducts or weird things you can’t pronounce and cost 25 to 50 percent less than in most supermarkets (looking at you, Whole Foods).
It has a dedicated gluten-free product line, liveGfree, which includes frozen prepared foods and pantry items, again at a fraction of the price you’re used to paying.
Its Simply Nature line, which has items in nearly all departments, is free of 125 common artificial ingredients. And it includes kids' snacks.
100 percent natural dog food. I haven’t seen natural cat food yet, though, likely because cats are dicks. (I have three. I know this.)
Listen, I want to be that person who feeds my family all-organic food and talks about it constantly so everyone else will know I’m better than them. But like most people, I can’t afford it. Maybe I’m the person who can afford to buy a bottle of organic garlic powder at Whole Foods, sprinkle it on everything and pretend I’m doing a great job at adulting.
Aldi isn’t entirely the solution here, but it sure as hell helps a lot. I can get healthier snacks for my kids. I can fill my house with dirt cheap pantry staples so I can afford to spend a little bit more on meat and dairy. It makes me feel good about myself, especially when I eat an entire package of cookies but know they’re organic so it’s OK.
I have never walked out of Aldi with six jars of flavored mustards I absolutely don’t need. The store is very straightforward: Here’s a bottle of Dijon mustard. You can use this. It costs $1.19. Now put it in your cart, and keep walking.
I freaking love Triscuits but never remember that until I’m at my aunt’s house for Thanksgiving and eat an entire box of them with teensy squares of cheddar cheese before dinner, spoiling my appetite and making me miss out on my one annual opportunity to have creamed onions. I'll accept the blame for my terrible decisions.
Walk into Aldi, first thing you see? Triscuit-Comparable Product! And they are available in many different flavors, because yes, buying 20 boxes of assorted Counterfitscuts (I made that name up myself, and everyone hates me for it) is a true necessity, and Aldi obviously agrees with me.
Regular supermarket: $4.50. Aldi: two bucks. They don’t make me choose which one I love most. They all get to be loved, just like they deserve to be.
Being a European company, its cookie game is not to be trifled with. (That was super clever, right? I know you're impressed.)
Around the holidays, suddenly 10 million varieties of cookies you were positive could only exist in heaven begin to crowd the aisles. Then in January, those cookies are 90 percent off. Helps you bulk up so you can survive the frigid cold of winter. That’s just good science.
When it comes to eating, my kids are jerks. One week they like something, then the next time I buy it, they don’t like it anymore. My house is full of uneaten applesauce packages and peanut butter crackers. I swear to God, they will eat them eventually. They will eat them eventually.
The silver lining here is that because groceries are so cheap, the sting of wasting money on food isn’t as harsh. And I’m OK with giving them the opportunity to pick out the snacks they want, because most of them are under the aforementioned Simply Nature label, so they’re not total crap. This way, when they don't eat, it's their problem, and I can rub it in their faces. Victory is mine!
The middle of the store is filled with a bunch of nonfood items that change nearly every single week. Sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s absolute crap — you never know. Snacks, spices and suspense!
There are too many damn plastic bags in my house. I keep trying to get rid of them, they keep coming back. Maybe they’re doing it while I’m asleep, and my hallway closet is actually full of their spawn. I don’t know.
I am entirely the problem here, and I have to own it. I have plenty of reusable shopping bags but forget to grab them before I leave the house. Aldi does not have any plastic bags, not even for a fee. You forget yours? You need to buy another reusable bag. You don’t want to do that? You’ve got to carry all that crap out of your car and into the house cradled like an unwieldy toddler. The chain is training your dumb ass to stop being selfish and remember that climate change is real and that it’s your fault.
Aldi has them! Not the real ones, but reasonable facsimiles that cost $1.35 a box, which (shhh) I think taste even better than the real thing.
That one could actually be a bad thing, come to think of it. So it’s nine reasons you should be shopping at Aldi, then. That’s still enough.
Correction: The article originally stated Trader Joe's is owned by Aldi. We have updated this information.
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