Last week I posted my Mum’s guest post ‘My Marvellous Mecca’. It was all about her love of the shop Aldi, how she has saved pounds by shopping there and what she recommends and likes best.
Over time I have come round to the idea of Aldi myself. I used to think it was full of continental biscuits and cold meats with not much else but times have moved on and Aldi is most certainly up there with the supermarket big boys these days. Its not perhaps the relaxing and pleasurable shopping experience of Waitrose. Neither is it as big or as full of clothes, electricals and furniture and things are not set out in beautiful and comprehensively clear ways but… For those things you pay a premium. A premium I, and I’m sure most people, can’t really afford!
Aldi asked me if I would like to join them for an experiment and have my normal weekly shop matched like for like with their products instead. Of course I agreed, who wouldn’t? A few weeks ago I spent £119.42 in Tesco. Aldi couldn’t match just one product, a children’s ready meal, so I have to remove £2 from the total making it £117.42. My like for like shop from Aldi came to £87.86. That’s a whopping £29.56 saving! Near on THIRTY QUID! So. I understand that really and truly that’s enough said but we do have some more to say too and we really think its worth reading so please do!
First of all I will start with the bad… (although its not really all bad)
Aldi don’t provide a delivery service so when they made an exception and delivered our things they were all wrong and I had to go and do the shop myself. As I mentioned, the experience is not wonderfully enjoyable. I love to supermarket shop, call me sad but I really do and I didn’t find this process enjoyable. Ok, so most people don’t anyway and the plus side to it is that the till check out point is very quick. They treat their staff incredibly well and pay them according to that philosophy but they have time scales so getting customers through the till quickly is part of their agenda. I don’t mind this. I don’t mind that they charge you for bags either. We SHOULD take our own and charging encourages this plus keeps the shopping cost down. I’m just used to prettier surroundings and a mooch – an Aldi shop is not for this! It’s all about keeping the shopping cost down and if you’re not going to scrimp on quality then the savings have to be made somewhere… They’re made in the ambience! But… in an ideal world and all that, frankly I’d rather take it as it is and make the saving!
You also have to root through boxes to find things. All the flavours of squash are lumped in together and the specials baskets selling non food products but weekly limited addition items is a bit like a jumble sale. Prices are clear though and I did find all I needed before getting out having paid long before I ever would had I been in another supermarket. There was nothing shiny to catch my eye and make me linger longer than necessary…
And lastly, last of the semi bad, some of the products didn’t have very long lasting dates meaning a second shop might be necessary throughout the week. This isn’t brilliant as our Aldi is a 20 minute drive away. A few of our apples weren’t entirely tasty it also has to be said, they were brown in the middle but were the only exception to an otherwise amazing fruit and vegetable selection!.
Onto the good… (apart from the price which is a given)
The food was amazing! In particular we liked:
The pizzas which were frozen but far, far nicer than the fresh ones we had bought in Tesco. One was a Tesco Finest and one a Pizza Express make but the Aldi ones tasted fresher, more full of flavour and were just delicious! They cost just £1.99 each!
The fresh fruit and veg of which there are always specials for under 70p! Peppers were excellent value as everywhere else they are so expensive and small. These were big and juicy!
Fajita Dinner Kit! We love fajitas and we cook them every few weeks and serve them with mature cheddar cheese and soured cream (two other products we were very impressed with). I’ve tried lots of different brands but always come back to Old El Paso after just one try elsewhere. Not so this time. The Aldi kit was spicier and tasted different but it was equally as good and I see no reason to spend the extra! The chicken breast at Aldi were also very good value!
Chocolate Brioche rolls. Absolutely no difference to any others but a fraction of the price if our normal ones. We also tried a chocolate brioche loaf which was AMAZING!
We were sent half fat yogurts which I wouldn’t give the children but we tried them ourselves and they were delicious. Full of fruit and very creamy. To taste you wouldn’t know they were half fat!
WINE! I had a bottle of the Aldi Pinot and it was better than the one I’d bought in Tesco. Much better. Literally cannot fault it and I know Jonny has enjoyed the beers too!
We liked lots but they are some of the things I didn’t expect to like. There really is no difference in quality of food and indeed a lot of things, like the ham and bread we tried, are actually a lot tastier! Very impressed!
We also tried some of their special award winners separately to our shop and enjoyed those too!
Asia Specialities Stir Fry Sauce – Hoi Sin and Garlic – 49p, 120g
Alpenmark Smoked German Ham – £1.49
Diplomat Gold Tea Bags – £1.39, 250g
Belmont Biscuit Co Jaffa Cakes – 89p, 300g
Savour Bakes Multigrain Crackers – 85p, 170g
We haven’t yet tried the stir fry sauce but everything else has been great and no wonder they are award winners. Jonny loved the ham and the crackers were so moreish! The children polished off the jaffa cakes in a few days, in fact they really liked the snacks in general and the tea was strong and had a good flavour. Great!
Jonny and I have decided to do our big weekly shop in Aldi from now on. He is going to drive to work one day a week instead of getting the train so that he can pick up the shopping on his way home as he passes one. It’s worth the petrol cost when you look at just how much you save, the food is more often than not better quality and we would be ad not to do that. I think we will still get some things in Tesco, you can’t find absolutely everything all of the time and the dates on some things aren’t long enough but on the whole it’s worth making the switch in my opinion!
I was not paid to write this post but I was provided a like for like weekly shop for the purpose of review.