Uncategorized > My Trip to the ALDI Test Kitchen

My Trip to the ALDI Test Kitchen

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This post is sponsored by ALDI, but all opinions are 100% my own.

If you remember from my last ALDI post or follow me on Instagram, I got the opportunity to go to the ALDI Headquarters in Chicago to visit their Test Kitchens a week and a half ago.

To be honest, I wasn’t really familiar with ALDI before all this and the little opinion I did have of ALDI was not good. I consider myself kinda of a “picky” grocery store person. I want to make sure that the food I am putting in my own body and my families is high quality.

I thought because ALDI was so stinking cheap meant that it lacked in quality!

Well, today my goal is to share with you about the awesome experience I had, and also to “debunk” a couple of myths about ALDI.

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We started off the trip with a little side by side blind taste test comparison, the ALDI brand product was placed right next to the leading competitor. This was really interesting to me. They had us taste both products and then pick which one we liked better, I thought for sure I would be able to tell the difference and pick the leading brand every time.

NOPE!

In fact, there were 14 of us bloggers there and most of the time the ALDI brand won out above the leading competitor. Some of the most interesting wins were:

Crackers: The ALDI brand won out against a very popular leading brand 12-1. To be honest, the ALDI brand was WAY better, it was buttery and packed alot more flavor than the other. Even visually you could tell a difference.

Protein Bars: The ALDI brand won this one 10-4, I actually went back out and bought a package of these and downed them this week. SOOO good!

Havarti Cheese: The ALDI brand won 7-6 on this one, and I picked the ALDI brand. This one was hard for me tell at first, I had to try the cheeses again and I ended up picking the ALDI brand because it tasted smooth and buttery to me.

How can this be you ask?

Well, ALDI has very high standards for their products. Their brand needs to be as good if not BETTER than the leading competitor. And as you can see from the results above they were better than the leading competitor quite a few times. This was huge for me! It totally debunked the myth of “bad quality” for me.

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We then tasted their new ALDI’s Gluten Free Line entitled Live G-Free now selling in stores. You can get dough, flatbreads, and all kinds of stuff at ALDI’s now if you have a gluten intolerance. They also had a Simply Nature line that I swear by, I’ve purchased their Almond Butter, Salsa, and the pouch applesauce for Cason. All of which I would totally buy again.

Next up they had a Seasonal Products line that we tried. Hands down my favorite item at this station was the Pumpkin Spice Cider. Guys… Oh my gosh! Thats all I have to say. It was amazing, it was great cold but would also be awesome warm. Guess how much it was?  Only $1.99…. mouth dropping to the ground in shock. I am sooo getting it for the holidays!

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After the test tasting we then moved on to a wine and cheese pairing, my favorite part! After our trip to Napa I am a total wino and would never have considered buying my wine at ALDI. I mean, if you can get a wine for $2.89 or $6.99 that makes me nervous that I will end up with a headache afterwards because it is not a “good wine.”

SOOOOO wrong. ALDI brought in a Sommelier, basically a person educated and professionally trained in wine and how to pair them with different dishes. We tried a multitude of all the wines sold at ALDI, sparkling, red, blends, whites, sweets, everything! And they were all amazing, a couple of my favorites were the ZUM Riesling, the William Wright Chardonney, and the Pinor Noir.

I learned even more about how to pair different wines to enhance the flavor of the wine AND the food, best part is it can done at a reasonable price. My favorite part about ALDI wines is the label on the back. Most wine labels will have a description of the winery on the back or just a short, this is whats in the wine. ALDI labels will tell you if its a light or full bodied wine, whats in the wine, if its dry or sweet, what to pair the wine with, where its made, and how to store it. It is a great option for people just looking to dabble in wine or even someone more experienced.

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Another Myth debunked, I thought ALDI’s wines would give me a headache because they are cheap … nope! ALDI’s wines are great quality for a great price!

After all this they fed us dinner and gave us more wine, I felt like a Queen. But honestly, at this point you could have stuck a fork in me because I was done. The last thing I remember trying was a Goat Cheese Cheesecake with a Blueberry Compote. Everything they gave us for dinner was made with ALDI’s products and it was all phenomenal!

The next day they took us on a tour of a working ALDI’s shop in the Chicago area. A couple of key takeaways a learned…

1. ALDI does not want to be a “one stop shop”. They have the heart of what you will get at the grocery store, but not all of it. They do not stock speciality items.

2. They are very efficient from a business side, drastically cutting cost, which in turn cuts down on prices for the consumer. They do not have to pay people to pick up carts, because they use the quarter system with their carts. i.e. put a quarter in get a cart, put the cart back get your quarter back. They stock products in the store using a ‘box system’, so they aren’t paying people to take the product out of the box and stock it on a shelf individually. {like you see it in most grocery stores} Customers must bring in their own bags or use empty boxes in the stores, this saves on bag cost. There is a UPC code on all sides of every product, which saves the employee time when they are checking people out. {they don’t have to flip and turn to find the UPC code to scan}.

3. Meat is safe and same quality if not better than that sold in the grocery store. It is not organic or grass fed, but still great quality.

4. They do have some speciality products. Those Special buys are brought in and stocked in the stores on either Sunday or Wednesday and once they are gone they are gone. [this would include seasonal or holiday stuff}

5. About 10% of the products that are sold in the stores are name brand products.

6. The health quality of the products do not suffer. Excess salt is not added for perservation. The nutritional information is the same if not better than that of the leading competitor.

7. Employees get paid above the industry standard in pay and in benefits. There are about 10-15 employees per store and they are trained on all facets of the store.

8. They have a Double Back Guarantee – where if you try an ALDI product and you are not satisfied you can bring it back and get a refund.

9. Their Cheese and Wine is amazing!

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10. They have a organic line!

Overall, I am seriously so glad I went on this trip. I was extremely blown away by the high standards ALDI’s has, the delicious products, and how well they run their business in order to give the lowest prices to their customers.

Bottom Line: ALDI’s will be my first stop for groceries then I will go to my speciality stores to get the remainder.

Stay Tuned… next ALDI post will be about all the awesome Holiday stuff they are selling. Um… one of them being Butterball Turkeys are crazy cheap! Yup.. believe it!

{Me and the Crew from the ALDI’s event}

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Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football! { more }
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10 Responses
  1. I had NO idea about the behind the scenes of Aldi! Honesetly, when I think about it, I think of my Nana as she swears by it but like most of us, we thought sticking to the name brand products and stores, we were assuring what we were buying was better. I am definitely heading to Aldi soon to try out some of their gluten free products and cheese! Thank you for this informative post and glad to see the trip went well 🙂

  2. Aldi is my best kept secret when it comes to grocery shopping. Actually its not a secret because I tell everyone how much I love them all the time! I’m not sure why so many people have a bad perception of them because they are seriously awesome! I’m glad you had a good experience. Have a great day!

    1. I know right!?

      I think so many people think “you get what you pay for”… if its cheap it must be bad quality. That is what I have been trying to convey to people. They are cheap because they actively work on the business side of things to make it cheap for you and work in their test kitchens to create products that are comparable to the leading brand. I totally big puffy heart ALDI now. 🙂

  3. Gale

    Thank you so much for the article. I don’t purchase a lot at Aldi’s but I do shop there. I usually buy veggies and fruits. I love their crackers, chips and cookies. I never bought Wine. I might have to try a bottle or 2. Thanks again.

  4. You know I had the same opinion of Aldi, but a family member bought us some gluten free baking mixes and I stuck them in the very back of the cabinet and never thought about them until I was out of my regular gf mix. I used them and was totally shocked!
    I was so surprised because I really couldn’t tell a difference! And it was like 1/3 the price of what I normally buy!

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