Recently, we went to our neighborhood specialty food store to buy appetizers for a get together with wine.
Sure, the cheeses we picked were $25 a pound; our favorite crackers from La Panzanella and Raincoast Crisps aren’t inexpensive. And we do tend to buy too much.
But when the cashier said, “$146.76 please,” we were floored.
For this weekend’s entertaining, we took a car service to ALDI (we live in Manhattan, where most people don’t own cars). We paid $70 for a the same amount of food; so even with transportation we came out ahead. (And this group of friends doesn’t care about the difference between Fiscalini Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar and Cabot (our everyday brand).
If you’re inviting friends and family, ALDI is the place to save big bucks on quality foods.
From cheese and charcuterie to chocolate and desserts to an entire cooked ham, turkey or roast beef dinner: Everything is delicious.
There are also food gift items and wines, as permitted by state.
Weekly specials include dozens of food and non-food products at a great value: everything from small kitchen appliances and seasonal items to outdoor furniture and gardening tools.
All are carefully curated and are backed by a double guarantee. If you’re not 100% satisfied, bring it back for a refund and a replacement product.
ALDI launched in 1961 in Germany, the world’s first first discounter. In 1976 they opened a U.S. store in Iowa, and how have more than 1,500 stores in 34 states, expanding to 2,000 stores by 2018. Worldwide, there are some 10,000 stores in 18 countries.
Forbes Magazine calls ALDI “A Growing Menace To America’s Grocery Retailers.” The store is family-owned, and also owns Trader Joe’s.
Everyone loves the low, low prices, which Aldi achieves through a no-frills approach to food retailing:
Basic inventory displays. As with Costco, merchandise is displayed in their shipping boxes to help save resources in restocking shelves.
Selective inventory: the basics, but not the universe (e.g., the 10 most popular cheeses, 1 brand of ketchup or yogurt instead of several choices). There are gluten-free and organic foods.
No credit cards: cash or debit cards only.
BYO bags or pay for them. As with Costco, you can take empty stock boxes as you find them.
Private label products. More than 90% of the inventory comprises store brands, guaranteed to be as good or better than national brands.
No non-essential services: no overhead of banking, check-cashing, pharmacy, etc.
There is no e-commerce, but you can visit the company website, get the lay of the land and use the store locator to find the ALDI nearest to you.
What Does ALDI Mean?
The discount food business was founded by the two Albrecht brothers. The name is an acronym for (AL)brecht and (DI)scounter.
 Want an entire catered dinner? You’ll save a lot getting it at ALDI (photo courtesy ALDI).  From cheese and charcuterie to other nibbles, you’ll find what you need at ALDI (photo courtesy Cupcakes And Cutlery).  For dessert, there’s everything from the classics to the seasonal, like these mini linzer tarts (photo courtesy Aldi).