I was super excited when ALDI’s invited me to participate in their fresh blogger program so I could experience their new organic line and other healthy options. I love when I have the opportunity to work with a brand that’s such a fit for me – healthy eating, saving money, and shopping, yes please! – especially when they have it structured for me to experience it naturally – no pun intended. They didn’t send me a box with handpicked items they wanted me to review, they asked me to go to the store as I normally do and see how ALDI’s works for me.
So, I did. Over the past month I shopped at my local ALDI several times; then last week they flew me to their headquarters outside of Chicago for some firsthand fun in the ALDI Test Kitchen. Before I get to the trip, my final feedback about ALDI, and the two ALDI gift certificates I’m giving away here are the links to my previous posts: Shopping & Saving: Trying Out ALDI’s New Organic Line, Shopping Trip #2: Better-For-You Food Options at ALDI’s; and Trip Time: ALDI’s Test Kitchen Event
Trip to ALDI’s Test Kitchen Event
Last Thursday ALDI invited me and the nine other fabulous bloggers taking part in this campaign to visit their headquarters, to get in the ALDI Test Kitchen where they make their magic happen, and then to tour a local store with them to get some behind the scenes insight on how they can deliver quality and so much savings at the same time.
Thursday afternoon we had fun doing a mini version of their taste-tasting technique. The ALDI’s private labels beat out or tied with national brands with almost every one we tried.
This Havarti Cheese was a huge hit. Yup, I went and bought some when I got back home. Gasp!
We did a fun Price is Right challenge where we had to guess how much the items in this cart cost …
$97.92 for all of that! There’s steak and wine in there. I’m just sayin’.
Next we really jumped in the ALDI kitchen and had a smoothie making contest. The criteria was the healthiest and the best tasting.
There were three winners – no, I was not one of them – but everyone’s creation was pretty awesome.
Food Stylist Janice Stahl and Registered Dietician, Sylvia Klinger both spoke to us about their ALDI experiences; and shared tips about healthy eating, food presentation and entertaining. Fun!
We dined on dishes created from the ALDI’s recipe section of the website.
My favorites were the top sirloin with balsamic avocado salsa; and these delightful dark chocolate cups with avocado mousse. Don’t let the avocado scare you, people. These are a must try. Yum!
The next morning we walked an ALDI store and learned some of the strategic ways they minimize overhead costs to provide shoppers with more savings.
One of biggest ways they cut costs is using “invisible cases,” which helps with stocking costs.
Some other ways they’re able to offer savings is their bring your own bag system; they’re open during prime shopping hours, not 24/7; and they use mostly private labels that often are the same exact product consumers pay more for at other stores.
My ALDI Review Wrap Up
After my experience over the past month, ALDI’s has officially earned its spot in my regular shopping rotation. Their organic and natural foods selections are great. The ALDI’s by my house had really fresh, great looking produce at prices worth going for. There are also other great finds that round out my trip.
A few of my favorite items so far:
The Produce Section
Fresh Organic Spinach
Fresh Organic Kale
Frozen Organic blueberries
Creamy Havarti Cheese
Choceur Dark Chocolate Bar
Garlic & Sea Salt Grinder & other spices
Paper Plates & Bowls
While grass fed beef is not a regular product for them yet (hopefully it will be), on March 26 they’ll have it as a special buy. Yup, I’ll be stocking up.
Quality, simplicity and savings are the consistent threads that keep registering with me when it comes to ALDI’s. I like that. During her chat with us, Janice (who is a food stylist for the stars) talked about the negative stigma shopping at ALDI’s used to have; that people shopped there secretively and that it was really for folks struggling with money. Not! Now, it’s smart and savvy.
ALDI Gift Certificate Giveaway
Have you shopped at ALDI’s? Would you like to? I have two $25 ALDI gift certificates – one to giveaway to two readers.
If you’d like a $25 gift certificate (that goes a long way at ALDI’s) all you have to do is leave me a comment below. Yup, I’m doing this one old school. For bonus entries like ALDI’s on Facebook, follow them on Pinterest or on Twitter. Make sure to leave me a comment telling me which ones you did so I can count it.
The giveaway opens now and closes Sunday, March 23, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. The giveaway is only open to US Residents who are 18 years of age or older. The winner will be chosen at random via Random.org.
Good luck and happy shopping!
Winks & Smiles,
Disclosure: I’m receiving compensation for my participation in the ALDI Fresh Blogger Ambassador Campaign; and they are providing the two $25 dollar gift certificates to giveaway. As always, my thoughts and opinions are all my own.