Kelly the Culinarian: My Day at ALDI

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Day at ALDI

I am living the dream, folks. It’s been a hot minute since I wrote about how to shop at ALDI, but I’ve been an almost-exclusive ALDI shopper for most of my adulthood. It’s a matter of priorities – if I save money on food costs for identical products, I can spend that money better elsewhere on evenings out, mini vacations and other splurges that make my life feel luxurious. It’s also how I’m able to host Sunday dinners without much expense, and how I can grocery shop without a list most weeks.
I’ll stop gushing now.

Anyhow, I’ve always wanted to tour the ALDI test kitchens. I enviously read other bloggers’ accounts of the delectable food, pristine kitchens and helpful kitchen secrets. Finally, I was one of the chosen ones! My mother is so proud that years of ALDI shopping and blogging have finally paid off.

The first thing we did was tour the ALDI store in Geneva, IL., which is the closest location to headquarters. It’s almost identical to the newest ALDI location near me, except with perhaps an additional aisle. I saw all of my favorites there, along with a few more seasonal buys. 

We discussed how ALDI saves consumers’ money – by not taking credit cards and having to pass that cost onto consumers, with shopping carts that require a quarter so they don’t have to pay people to retrieve carts, by having multiple UPC codes on items to speed up check out and creating shipping solutions that also function as displays to eliminate the cost of stocking shelves. It really is a feat of engineering to see all the different ideas they come up with to save cash. For example, almost every ALDI lay out is identical so that employees working at a different location know where things are, and so warehouses can ship merchandise in a manner that reduced the amount of running around employees have to do to restock.

After the tour, we all headed over to ALDI’s headquarters, a tourist destination for maybe only me, but still. It was fully decked out for the holidays and we started in the Test Kitchen. We had a head-to-head blind taste test of ALDI products versus nationally available items (think ALDI Greek yogurt v. Chobani). 

Every item in the store undergoes rigorous blind taste tests at least twice a year that were far more in-depth than what we delighted in, but in this scenario, we just selected our favorites. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have a huge basis for comparison or my palate isn’t that nuanced, but some products I couldn’t taste a difference at all. With the yogurt, for example, one tasted creamier and sweeter to me, but I wouldn't say I prefer it. From tortilla chips to orange juice, the main message was that by switching to the ALDI brand, consumers can save 28 to 65 percent.

From there, we went on to enjoy holiday décor and entertaining tips, which I can’t wait to share soon! Stay tuned my friends ….  


Unknown said...

ALDI is a wonderland. I don't understand friends who refuse to shop down those three aisles.

Unknown said...

ALDI is a wonderland. I don't understand friends who refuse to shop down those three aisles.

Erin Lane said...

It was so great to meet you!

Lilfamadventure said...

The Test Kitchens were a great destination. So you aren't alone. :) It's was great to meet you at the event.

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

So great to meet you and share the ALDI love!

Carla said...

I think my dad had the same reaction when I told him I was invited. He said it was about time with all the shopping I do there! It was wonderful meeting you during the trip and looking forward to reading your blog.