Heather C Heather C is a married, mom of three: big sis Lily and identical twins Natalie and Sophia. She has been guest blogging for Mumbling Mommy since February of 2012 and began working as a Social Media Editor in 2014. After nearly a decade in banking, she now works part time at a doctor's office specializing in breastfeeding medicine and spends the rest of her days in her Midwest home as zookeeper/stay-at-home-mom. Heather C is also a runner, hiker, yogi, bike rider and more. She reads when she finds more than a few minutes to herself and she hosts a lot of pajama dance parties in her kitchen. In her spare time, she's the co-leader for her daughter's Girl Scout troop and an active member of the school's Parent-Teacher Committee as well as a certified postpartum doula.

Basically everyone who lives near an ALDI store loves it. I can actually name about six locations close enough to me that I’d be willing to shop at them regularly. Many bloggers have gone on and on about how great ALDI is. Heck, even news stations have started covering stories on the grocery chain, most recently because of their announcements to offer better and healthier options to customers. (Here’s one of many examples.)

I am either the only person in the country who doesn’t like ALDI or I’m just the only one willing to admit it. (I mean, who wants rocks thrown at them, right? ALDI is seriously cherished by shoppers.)

I dislike ALDI, though. I won’t make any apologies and I am okay with being the black sheep here. I have gone into plenty of ALDI stores, and every once in a while a good sale price catches my attention, but I don’t regularly shop at ALDI and here’s why:

1. Produce quality: I recently shared a post on Instagram about all the different types of fruits and vegetables I bought on my latest shopping trip compared to the variety I still had at home. When I totaled it up, we had 42 kinds! I was proud of this fact and even I was a little blown away by the number. I am a huge advocate for families incorporating more servings of fruits and vegetables into their diets, and I wanted to make sure people knew it was possible even with a picky kid (“I don’t like broccoli though …”).

Shockingly, though, I received many comments from people saying they would eat that much, but the food always went bad on them, some saying if they don’t use something in a matter of days they have to throw it away. At first I didn’t make a connection, but my post was right around the time of another ALDI viral post, so I thought I’d give the store yet another try and picked up some organic bananas, apples, and a few varieties of berries. I was elated because overall, the produce was a couple bucks cheaper than I pay normally.

But then I got home and before the week even ended, I had mushy and moldy produce. This had only happened a handful of times to me in the past. I searched my memory for the people who made this complaint and when it had happened to me before and realized the reason the produce is cheaper at stores like ALDI. It’s because it isn’t as fresh. It’s not bad in any way; it just has less life left in my opinion. I have purchased 4 pounds of strawberries at a time from Costco and had them last half a month, but the exact same brand (Driscoll’s) that I got from ALDI, even though they looked bright and delicious, went bad in 3 days.

2. Extra ingredients: Even though ALDI has promised to remove several ingredients from their products based on customer demands, there are still some extras that I like to avoid. For example I typically buy organic applesauce when apples are out of season (I make my own during the fall. Yum!). The only ingredient in the applesauce is apples. At ALDI, though, they sell organic applesauce about $0.10 cheaper, but it has citric acid as an (unnecessary) added ingredient. (Read more about citric acid here if you’d like.)

Other things for consideration are cereals like ALDI-brand Cheerios vs. General Mills brand Cheerios. General Mills made huge strides to listen to consumers and used more whole grain ingredients, used fewer sweeteners, and eliminated both gluten and genetically modified foods from a lot of their products. You may see it as the generic brand being much cheaper, but with less cost comes a LOT of extra things you may not want to eat regularly.

3. The gluten-free line: Speaking of gluten, I think this is one of the reasons I get most frustrated with ALDI. Gluten-free eating has become a trend and many may see it as making things easier for families like mine that have medically diagnosed intolerance to gluten, but if you ask me, it makes it harder. Why? There is no standard for what a gluten-free product can be made of. Several of these items replace the wheat flour with starchy white potatoes, soy-based flours, and a variety of junk, to say it nicely. These products are WORSE than their gluten-filled inspiration in terms of health benefits.

There is a lot of consumer responsibility here, but I do think the product makers also need to be held accountable and I don’t think they are being very forthcoming with their packaging and marketing. (To be fair, the gluten-free products aren’t an issue I have exclusively with ALDI.) You wouldn’t believe how many times I am chatting with a stranger and gluten comes up and they offer the unsolicited advice of, “Oh, ALDI has a great gluten-free line. You should check it out!” I bite my tongue.

Obviously, everyone has different needs when they shop for groceries, and ALDI may fit your family perfectly. I am not asking for the store to close down or anything crazy. I really just wish consumers would take ALDI off the metaphorical pedestal they have it on because (surprise!) ALDI does have flaws.

What is your favorite grocery chain? Have you run into any of the same problems with ALDI that I have?


Category: Health

Tags: Aldi