When meat prices start to climb, shoppers with an eye on their budget have to do their research before putting down their hard-earned cash on groceries. Is there anything more annoying than having to make a special trip somewhere just for one item, like chicken?
Aldi’s just-the-basics-at-ultra-low-prices business model has some people wondering if they really can get everything in one place, including their steaks or drumsticks.
Because of this, you might be wondering if Aldi meat is good and if you should buy it elsewhere. Here is what I discovered!
Is Aldi Meat Good?
Aldi meat varies in quality, depending on what kind it is. While their Black Angus beef products receive top marks from shoppers, many feel the chicken and turkey products are less than satisfactory. However, without the benefit of an in-store butcher, Aldi nonetheless offers a fine selection of meat at competitive prices.
Let’s dig a bit deeper into where Aldi gets their meat, why it’s so cheap (it’s nothing to do with quality), critiques of individual meat products, and where you might be able to get meat cheaper even than Aldi if you’re willing to make that special trip.
Why Is Aldi Meat So Cheap?
It’s natural that we see low prices and assume low quality, but at Aldi, that is not the case at all.
Aldi’s meat is cheap for the same reason that everything in the store is – because Aldi’s business model emphasizes efficiency, in the form of a hundred different things, from store size to cart rentals.
I mentioned that Aldi’s beef sourcing from local and regional farms helps in this instance, too; it’s true by lessening the distance the meat has to be shipped.
Aldi also lessens how long the meat has to be kept cold on the road (so less packaging) and how much fuel the trucks need.
It’s practices like this that help Aldi keep the costs of doing business low, a saving they can then pass on to their customers, whether we’re buying patio furniture sets or whole chickens.
Even better, the low price points extend to specialty meats, like their organic and Never Any! lines.
Which Aldi Meat Is Best?
The meat products that consistently receive high marks are Aldi’s USDA Choice and Black Angus beef.
USDA Choice is a designation given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the meat that meets very high-quality standards; in fact, in terms of quality, Choice is exceeded by only one grade, Prime.
Black Angus beef is certified when the cows meet specific genetic requirements, and their hides are at least 51 percent black (hence the name). They are known for their juicy, well-marbled meat.
Even better, Aldi prices their Black Angus USDA Choice bottom round roasts at $4.49 per pound, while regional chain Giant Eagle charges $7.99 per pound for their certified Black Angus. That’s over three dollars’ difference per pound for comparable, high-quality meat.
Another meat item that shoppers love is their organic, grass-fed ground beef, a product some people are surprised to even find on the cooler shelves. For just $5.49 per pound, the Simply Nature organic beef is a magnificent value.
Aldi’s organic whole chickens and their bison meat (sold in limited quantities as an Aldi Find, so not an Everyday product) also receive rave reviews from shoppers.
Which Aldi Meat Is Worst?
Unfortunately, not all Aldi meat stands up to scrutiny, especially if you’re used to butchers’ cuts.
One such glaring example is Aldi’s chicken breasts and thighs, sold under the Kirkwood label.
I can personally attest that these items can require an exasperating amount of trimming once unpacked at home, and sometimes they still have bits of bone still attached.
It’s pretty annoying, especially if you’re trying to get dinner on the table fast.
A Redditor story that has made the rounds also cites Aldi’s ground turkey as a hassle – the shopper said she had to pick bone shards out of it.
Aldi’s ground meat, in general, can leave a budgeting shopper wishing they had paid just a little more. Some people have complained that the beef can be overground so that the texture is “mealy” (or overly crumbly).
I actually use Aldi’s ground beef regularly and have tried a bunch of different types (85/15, 93/7, 80/20), and while it’s not the worst ground beef I’ve ever cooked with, it also wasn’t the best.
If you’re used to very high-quality beef from a local or regional cattle farmer that has been processed and ground by a butcher who knows his or her business, you will not be impressed by Aldi’s.
Where Does Aldi Meat Come From?
As we have covered, Aldi sources its meats from some surprising places.
In the case of Aldi’s beef, that includes local or regional cattle farms. Yes, that’s right: the steaks or ground beef you buy from Aldi likely came from a farm not too far from your house.
Not only is this a boon for small-to-midsize cattle farmers, it’s a practice that is great for the environment (and it saves Aldi money – but more on that later).
Much of Aldi’s chicken products are actually the exact same as Tyson’s chicken! That’s right, you’re paying less at Aldi under the Kirkwood label to get the same chicken that was raised and processed via the Tyson brand. (To see how we found out, check out our article here.)
This also means that if you have ever had an issue with Aldi’s Kirkwood chicken, you were having an issue with Tyson.
Aldi does source some of its meat internationally, including its grass-fed all-organic ground beef, but any meat that comes from a country other than the US must declare its origins on the packaging.
Aldi’s meat is good or not-so-great, depending on what kind you purchase. But even the meat that might not fall on the “awesome” side of the scale is of reasonably decent quality, so I don’t think you have to buy your meat elsewhere if you don’t want to.
One-stop grocery shopping, for the win!