Often when people think they are getting a good deal on something, they settle for quality that’s a little subpar, or they unwittingly pay more for an item that could have been found for less had they shopped around.
While Aldi strives – and for the most part, succeeds – to offer top-notch products to their shoppers at the lowest prices, even the German grocery giant can fall a little short or not be the best match for an individual shopper’s needs.
What Not To Buy At Aldi?
I’ve compiled a list of 15 different products at Aldi that you might want to avoid, plus why!
Side note: This article is not meant to be negative towards Aldi but just to share personal opinions of some of their products. I actually love shopping at Aldi and share many of my positive experiences on my other Aldi posts.
1. Toiletries + Paper Goods
Aldi does sell your typical selection of toiletries and paper goods, including toilet paper, paper towels, and paper plates/bowls, and they’ve got all your basics covered.
But there is a high probability you can just find these types of goods even cheaper in a bulk store (like Costco or Sam’s Club) or even online, especially if you use a subscribe and save option.
2. Cleaning Supplies
Aldi’s cleaning supplies are decent, but to be perfectly honest, they aren’t great, and they can be found cheaper – for about the same quality – at dollar stores.
Or, again, bulk warehouse stores or online shopping might yield better results, with fewer trips to the store.
3. Personal Hygiene Products
If you need feminine hygiene products, razors, body wash, or any of those types of things – go elsewhere. Aldi sells many wonderful and quality items, but their personal care products are very limited, lacking in any kind of variety.
For so many of us, we’re pretty wedded to our personal care products, and with Aldi’s narrow selection, you’re better off sticking with what you already know you like.
Not only is Aldi’s seafood often more expensive than other grocery stores (especially Walmart’s), shoppers find the quality hit or miss, and Aldi has faced some tough criticism for its unethical sourcing.
For example, in 2017, it came out that Aldi had sourced some of its seafood from China, where North Korean citizens might have been employed as deeply mistreated workers, with huge chunks of their pay going directly back to the North Korean state.
It should be said that if you are buying a frozen pizza for $2.19, you shouldn’t be expecting gourmet pizzeria-quality food.
However, Aldi’s cheapest pizza, the frozen thin crust, lacks good flavor…and bad flavor. It just seems kind of flavorless to many who have tried it.
I don’t think this is limited to the $2 pie, either. Having tried several Take & Bakes (in the refrigerated section versus the frozen), I have found those to be weirdly bland as well, especially when you look at them and see how chock full of toppings they are.
If you have a hankering for pizza, stop by your local Little Caesar’s for a Hot N Ready, and skip Aldi.
6. Sourdough Loaves
This might be a personal pan, but I’m not overly fond of Aldi’s sourdough loaves.
They all come pre-sliced. I can see how this would be convenient for many shoppers, but I wish Aldi would sell a few sourdough loaves unsliced, so I can choose how thick or thin I want the pieces or be able to hollow it out and make a bread bowl.
Aldi tends to sell a lot of their produce bagged or in containers, giving the shopper less control over what they take home.
If you are the kind of shopper who likes to hand-pick each individual piece of fruit or vegetable, Aldi’s produce section will madden you. Very little is sold individually, and yes, sometimes you get home, and it’s bad the next day.
On the whole, Aldi sells quality meat at competitive prices, but their chicken can miss the mark.
While the family packs of chicken breasts are an especially good deal, they can also require a lot of trimming. The chicken thighs are the same, if not worse. You’ll tack on a good 15-20 minutes after unpacking the groceries just to get all the stringy fat off the meat.
If you don’t have the time to devote to this or you don’t have a good sharp pair of kitchen shears, you might want to skip it.
9. Pet Food
It can be tempting to switch pet food brands because Aldi’s is so affordable.
But you’re better off sticking to your current brand because the Heart to Tail pet food, in particular, is not the healthiest choice for your animals, with corn filler as the first ingredient, not real meat.
10. Cheesy Crackers
Multiple bloggers have noted that any of the cheesy cracker knock-offs – Goldfish, Cheez-it dupes – don’t live up to their brand name counterparts.
11. Granola Bars
The first time I bit into one of Aldi’s Millvale granola bars, I was a little surprised at how flavorless they were.
I ate the rest out of sheer hunger, but if that hadn’t propelled me, I very likely would have tossed it.
12. Frozen Sushi
It should go without saying that Aldi shouldn’t sell frozen sushi, and no one should buy it or eat it. Sushi is best enjoyed fresh!
13. Ground Coffee
Aldi sells many wonderful ground coffees, mostly under the Barissimo label, but the Beaumont ground in the big plastic canister tastes strongly of burned coffee beans.
14. Name Brands
Aldi carries a few name-brand items at any given time, but they aren’t always the lowest price, and they don’t accept manufacturers coupons. You can probably find the same item somewhere else, at a discount, with or without a coupon.
While I personally own a poncho from Aldi’s fall line, that’s about as deep into the clothing there as I would get. Expect less-than-tailored fits and, in some cases, less-than-stellar quality.
Aldi is a store of many, many highs when it comes to quality products, but that doesn’t mean the store is without its lows. Ultimately, though, you should make the best decision for you and your household.