Does Aldi really offer big savings? We checked

Posted at 6:15 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 08:24:33-05

A grand opening of a new Aldi store always means a long line of shoppers, giving it a Black Friday feel.

Could they know something other shoppers don't?

Rapidly Expanding Discount Chain

Aldi has just opened its latest Cincinnati area store, on Monmouth Street in Newport, KY, bringing its total in the region to more than 10 stores. 

It is rapidly expanding nationwide, opening its first California stores this Spring.

Bargain hungers know the European based chain for  house brands at the half the price of name brands, such as "kinda looks like Cheerios" oat cereal for just $1.19 a large box, as opposed to $3 for the real thing at your local supermarket.

Shoppers like it, with Sandy Arnold  telling us "I have 2 children, so just packing for lunch and snacks after school and things like that, its just a really good deal to save some money!"

From Laundry Soap to Organic Food

Aldi made a name for itself over the past decade with deep discounts on its house brand laundry detergent for $5 for a large jug, compared with $12 - $16 for name brands.

You'll find similar deep discounts on glass cleaner, fabric softener and other items.
But it is now expanding into other areas.

Aldi recently added fresh, organic, gluten-free and GMO-free food, targeting higher end retailers like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

"We've added our live GFree line, which is gluten free, which is very popular, and we have our Simply Nature line, which is a healthy alternative to the foods you are used to buying," said Aldi Divisional Vice President Sarah Brown. 

Price Check in Aisle 3

Sure, we know the breakfast cereal is cheaper, if you don't mind house brands. But what about produce, where brands don't matter as much? We did a casual price check.
Bananas were 29 cents a pound at Aldi.

At the closest supermarket -- the Newport, Kentucky Kroger -- bananas were 55 cents a pound. They were 19 cents each, or roughly 60 cents a pound, at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. Winner: Aldi's.

Bagged mixed salad greens were just $1.49 at Aldi. They varied from $2.49 to $2.99 at the grocery store, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods. Winner: Aldi's.

We found similar discounts on apples and arugula: Who would think Aldi sold arugula?

Bare Bones Bargains

Never been to Aldi? Don't expect many of your favorite name brands. Don't expect a Whole Foods experience. It's more like a large dollar store. Oh, and bring your own bags or prepare to purchase reusable ones at the store. 

But while Aldi may not have the wide selection, brand names or ambiance of other stores, shoppers like Danielle Wilson are sold.

"They have great fruits and vegetables for a really low price. It's wonderful."

By the way, if you are Trader Joe's shopper who would never consider stepping foot inside an Aldi, think again: both chains are owned by the same German family.

As always, don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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