People who love Aldi will tell you that there are so many treasures to be found there. Cheaper organic items, an entire gluten-free section, bargain priced closeouts — it’s easy to cut your grocery bill in half by shopping at Aldi on a regular basis.
But not everything Aldi has to offer is a great deal. Some items are more expensive while others may sabotage your diet. Just like at any other grocery store, it pays to do your homework and avoid certain foods while shopping at Aldi.
Ahead, check out the worst foods from Aldi you should never have in your kitchen.
1. Overripe fruit
From avocados to strawberries, the fresh fruit and vegetable selection at Aldi can be lackluster. It’s one of the most common complaints that shoppers have, and the store has responded with a promise to work on improving their produce section.
In the meantime, avoid obviously overripe items that will probably go bad before you can bring them home.
Next: You won’t believe Aldi’s weird tie with North Korea through this product.
2. Sea Queen fish
An Associated Press investigation found that certain types of fish, including Aldi’s Sea Queen brand, were being processed by North Korean workers in China. Unsurprisingly, the communist country was keeping up to 70% of the workers’ wages.
Aldi wasn’t the only retailer that was accused of buying fish from vendors associated with this disturbing practice. But just be warned that their low-priced fish may be that way for a reason.
Next: Beware the meat section.
3. Chicken and turkey
The meat section is another spot at Aldi where you won’t always find the best values. Before you head out shopping, check sale ads for other grocery stores and do a quick side-by-side price comparison. You’ll often find that Aldi prices are the same price or even more expensive than other local stores. When it comes to meat purchases, you should always shop around.
Next: Be careful which version of this you buy.
4. Frozen pizza
Aldi’s private label Mama Cozzi brand pizzas are notoriously popular since they cost a fraction of what you’d pay for takeout from your local pizzeria. The frozen variety is often priced for under $3. Still, this is a case of getting what you pay for. The taste of the frozen pizza is mostly flavorless and the toppings are sparse.
If you do want to grab a quick, cheap pizza from Aldi that actually tastes good, go for the Take & Bake option in the refrigerated section instead. These overly large 16” pies taste much better and only cost a few dollars more.
Next: These Aldi buys are truly hit or miss.
5. Knockoff snacks
Aldi stocks their brand of canned chips right next to the Pringles. You’ll save money on the store brand — but should you buy it?
When it comes to snacks and treats, it’s all a matter of taste preference. If you’re a diehard Tostitos fan, then buying a bag of Clancy’s tortilla chips isn’t worth it. But if you don’t have a specific brand or just can’t really tell the difference, then the cost savings will be well worth it.
Next: Splurging on this item makes a huge difference in your baking.
Into baking? Then you surely know that the better the butter, the better your baked goods taste. You may be surprised to realize that the private label butter that Aldi carries isn’t even that much cheaper than high-quality butter like Kerrygold. In this case, you’re better off paying more for the name brand.
Next: Name brand or not, this popular item isn’t exactly healthy.
They may be cheaper than average, but so many of Aldi’s cereals are packed full of added sugar and unnecessary additives, just like the name brand version. Make the healthy choice and feed your family breakfast items such as oatmeal, fruit, or yogurt.
Next: Aldi was accused of putting these people out of business.
In 2012, Aldi and some of their competitors got into trouble for putting pressure on dairy farms to reduce the cost of milk. Remaining competitive for this staple item has had devastating consequences for dairy farmers, who claimed that store chains like Aldi were forcing them to go bankrupt.
If you can, support your local dairy farmer by purchasing your milk for a few cents more at the regular grocery store or better yet, directly from the farm. You’ll be able to taste the difference.
Next: Watch out for this one sneaky ingredient.
9. Dairy alternatives with carrageenan
Before you add that carton of almond milk to your cart, flip it around and read the label. Numerous sources have reported issued with added carrageenan, a seaweed extract that acts as a thickening agent. Results of multiple tests are inconclusive, but it can cause issues ranging from increased risk of cancer to digestive troubles. It’s best to avoid it whenever possible.
Next: You can safely buy this item from Aldi — but not until 2025.
Aldi sells cheap eggs, it’s true. But if you’re on the hunt for an ethically responsible product, then you’d better avoid their eggs. Right now they sell “enriched cage eggs,” which means the chickens have a bit more space to move around than those horribly cramped cages you see in documentaries. But it’s still a far cry from cage-free.
Aldi announced plans to exclusively carry cage-free eggs by 2025. Until then, it’s wiser to buy eggs elsewhere.
Next: This food pantry staple has notoriously shady procurement methods.
Responsibly caught tuna is hard to come by. Still, if you care about marine animals, then it’s worth paying a little extra to splurge on brands who make a commitment to safer fishing practices.
Aldi’s Northern Catch brand isn’t the worst when it comes to tuna, but they aren’t considered a sustainably sourced brand. Be kind to wildlife by shopping highly rated brands including Wild Planet, American Tuna, Whole Foods, and Ocean Natural.
Next: These Aldi items aren’t high quality.
12. Paper products
Unlike many of their other merchandise, the quality of paper products like napkins, paper towels, and paper plates isn’t great. Plus, when you factor in coupons or buying in bulk at warehouse clubs, the paper products you’ll find at Aldi aren’t even necessarily cheaper.
Next: You’ll miss using coupons on these pricey products.
Shampoo, deodorant, feminine products — you’ll find a small pharmacy section at Aldi, but the prices in this aisle aren’t much cheaper than what you’ll see elsewhere. And Aldi doesn’t accept coupons, so you won’t even save money that way.
Next: It makes no sense to buy this type of food at Aldi.
14. Most name brand food
Most people shop at Aldi to save money. You can reduce your grocery bill significantly — but only if you’re willing to forget national brand merchandise and try private label instead. When it comes to prices, you’ll pay just as much or even more for products as you would at a traditional grocery store. But if you’re willing to substitute Aldi’s private label brands, you’ll save a bunch.
The one exception: sometimes Aldi will carry closeouts, like limited time flavors of national brand products. They’ll usually offer great prices on these items. You just need to do your research and pay attention to prices to ensure you’re getting a deal.
Next: These aren’t cheaper at Aldi, and they don’t taste good either.
15. Premade baked goods
Slice and bake cookies, biscuits, and rolls at Aldi aren’t a great deal. These items often aren’t much cheaper than national brand options and they don’t taste good either. Opt for branded products with a coupon at the regular grocery store instead.
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