Aldi supermarkets originated in Germany in 1946, but are now prevalent in 20 countries worldwide, including 775 stores (2018 figure) in the UK, which they predict will rise to around 1200 by 2025. Aldi appeared in the UK in 1990 and would appear never to have looked back.
The meteoric rise of this supermarket is all about their core values to provide the consumer with quality and consistency throughout the shopping experience, and also to stock price-friendly own brands, fresh fruit and vegetables at affordable prices, and other household goods and clothing that can help the smallest of pockets. One thing to remember is that whilst Aldi are competitive in price, they do not compromise on quality. It’s not just about shopping cheaply, it’s all about the Aldi experience, which also includes their dedication to employees, for which they have succeeded in winning awards. Furthermore, they intend to treat all suppliers fairly and endeavour to offer competitive prices for goods purchased, whether in the UK or abroad.
The Aldi Positives
Aldi has many positives, particularly if you are shopping for larger families on a budget and need to watch the pennies as well as the pounds. Their own brand range is not available in any other supermarket, and if you can get past the fact of not recognising known brand names, you are on to a winner. The same applies to the cleaning up process, Aldi cleaning products are also highly discounted over known brands and equally as effective.
Aldi publish and update recipes online, so you can work out what you want to make or cook in advance, or simply shop there and then look up recipes that match the produce you have purchased.
The comprehensive range of products on the food side means that you can cook virtually anything you want, from a simple pasta to a more complex meat or fish dish. Aldi are strong on vegetables as well, so vegetarians and vegans can be perfectly happy with the range of classic typical vegetables and fruit, to the more exotic. Stock does range from branch to branch, however.
Watch out for the Aldi ‘superbuys’, which change every three weeks. Menu planning on a budget can be very pocket friendly if you keep in touch with the published superbuys.
Value for money – on comparison sites, you can potentially save between 20-60% over other large chain supermarkets, depending which one you wish to use. Not only that, Aldi have increased their ‘healthy range’ over the last few years and now do far more organic products, gluten-free and wholesome children’s snacks at very affordable prices. Many of their products have been stripped of ‘unnecessary additives’ and are still offered at exceptional prices. In terms of normal store cupboard items, this supermarket offers some of the best prices and even provide a ‘pantry shopping list’, to make sure you have all the staples and don’t overbuy.
Store layout – so simple and so easy to find the products you want, without aimlessly wandering around the aisles. You may however find a ‘log jam’ on the ‘surprises’ to faster and easier bargain shopping.
The Aldi Negatives
Every store has negatives, whoever they are.
The first thing to remember when shopping at Aldi is to make sure you have that elusive pound coin in your car or purse – otherwise your journey could have been wasted! Aldi still ask for trollies to be paid for, and money returned at the end of the shop, whereas many large supermarkets such as Waitrose and Tesco no longer ask for this fee.
Likewise, make sure you have debit card or cash – many branches do not take credit cards, although it is being trialled at some of the branches. This can be a pitfall if it’s getting to the end of the week or month before payday, and you rely on credit before you get paid and your budgeting depends on it. It would also appear that Aldi do not accept cheques, again in many of the branches.
Remember to take your own shopping bags – there are none, and we mean none, available either free or to pay for. It is not Aldi’s policy, but that is a good thing in terms of plastic waste.
Aldi do not deliver, although trials are under way. You can pre-order online for click and collect, but don’t expect to always get what you want, as product turnover is exceptionally fast, particularly on the special offers. Best to go in store or be disappointed that your budget-friendly meal is missing ingredients.
One last point for the super savvy shopper at Aldi. Certain ingredients can be found in more than one aisle, e.g. spices. For instance, if you are making an Indian or Chinese meal, there will be the relevant spices in the herb and spice section. However, you can also find them in the ethnic foods section, and these are frequently half the price of those in the actual relevant aisle – best to get to know your Aldi supermarket well before you really get to the best possible budget prices.
Just as an idea, we decided to show you some price comparisons for regular goods from two major supermarkets (Tesco and Waitrose) as opposed to Aldi. This does not take into account a lot of the ‘daily special offers’ which can vary each week. The foods mentioned are at current prices as of 28th May 2019, and of the same weight and category.
|5% Beef mince – 500g||£3.65||£4.25||£2.99|
|Loaf of white bread||0.59p||0.60p||0.36p|
|Milk – 1 litre||0.80p||0.89p||0.48p|
|Cream of tomato soup – Per can||0.47p||0.52p||0.35p|
|Mayonnaise – 475g bottle||0.85p||£1.05||0.69p|
|Jersey Royal potatoes – Per kg||£2.00||£2.00||£1.18|
|Whole fresh large chicken||£4.00 special offer||£6.50||£3.89|