What to buy and what not to buy from Aldi…a food-swap challenge

Who shops at Aldi and what are the best things to buy and not buy from the supermarket?

What to buy from Aldi

We normally buy our big weekly shop online from Sainsbury’s, with top-up trips to the store, and regular indulgent forays into M&S. One place I’ve never really considered shopping is Aldi. However, my parents live near one and when we’ve been down in Bournemouth they’ve surprised us with nicer things they’ve bought from there – like chocolate chip brioche and surprisingly good salmon, among other things.

So when I was approached by Aldi’s team to see if I wanted to take part in a like-for-like shopping swap challenge, I was pretty curious to see what the results would be and if we could save money on our regular weekly shop.

So…what happened?

We sent our usual shopping list over to the PR team, and a few days later lots of food turned up. We’ve spent the past couple of weeks eating / using it all – such a hard life – and taking notes.

Here’s what we thought:

What we’d recommend buying from Aldi, and would definitely buy again

  • Beans – these were really good. Much better than Heinz and probably our favourite out of everything we tried (who’d have expected that from such a store cupboard staple?)
  • Chocolate wafer biscuits (loved these) and cheese twists
  • Really great pasta sauce
  • Sausages and salami
  • Squash. I am a squash fiend and we go though lots, but this was really good
  • Cereal
  • Also, the general everyday groceries (eggs, milk, cheddar cheese, butter, kitchen roll, fruit and veg, cleaning products) were all exactly the same standard as we’d normally buy, and lots cheaper

What we wouldn’t recommend buying from Aldi

  • Pate – it was this was how I’d imagine the 70’s meat paste in jars tastes
  • The fresh stuffed pasta was all pasta, the pasta was very rubbery, and the filling wasn’t great
  • The loo roll; it was on the wrong side of scratchy
  • And the fish fingers and fish cakes weren’t of the greatest quality

and also…Aldi Mamia baby products

  • We were sent the Aldi Mamia own-brand disposable nappies and wipes. While we always buy the more expensive organic / natural hair, bath and body products for Eliza, we do use supermarket own-brand nappies. So I was expecting to like the Aldi version; for a start, they don’t smell like chemicals, the pattern is not nauseatingly Disney, and they are so very cheap (£4.49 for 44)
  • However, the nappies weren’t very absorbent and the outer layer isn’t great at keeping moisture in. We had one incident early on involving major soakage and several other times where the outer layer of the nappy felt very…clammy. We wouldn’t buy them again
  • The wipes are 79p a pack which makes them very cheap. Again though, I wasn’t a fan. We don’t use scented baby wipes anyway but even for a scented wipe these smell unpleasantly strong and synthetic. And they seem to dry out really quickly, which makes me question just how much alcohol there is in them (not great for delicate baby skin)

So…what’s the verdict?

Cost-wise, the shop came to a bargainous £80.48. Even though we weren’t sent an exact match for everything we normally buy, it was still a lot cheaper than our usual spend of £100 each week (especially considering the £80 total included about £20 worth of nappies and wipes).

Going on the quality of the two products we were sent from Aldi’s Mamia baby product line, I wouldn’t be tempted to try anything else from the range. In this instance it’s definitely worth spending extra money on your baby.

We were, I have to say though, pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of the products. As there’s no online shopping and delivery, it would be tricky for us to do our main shop there without a car. However I’d be really interested to try more; I’ve read lots about the gin and skin care ranges, for example. So next time we’re down at my parent’s house we’ll pop in to have a rummage around. If you want to save money on food shopping – and who doesn’t when there’s clothes to buy? – it is really worth checking it out.

We were sent a weeks’ worth of shopping from Aldi for the purposes of this review. Thanks, Aldi!

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11 Comments

  1. August 28, 2013 / 7:18 pm

    It was really interesting to read your comments. We have been flitting between Lidl and Aldi for our big shops for the last 3 years now and have had massive savings. We do still drop by the other big supermarkets when passing for things that aren’t always available.

    I was really surprised by your comments on the Mammia stuff though as these are our favourite purchases from Aldi. The non scented wipes are really thick and are in a re-sealable packet so we always stock up on these whenever we go there. I also think the nappies from there are great, we recently had to get some pampers whilst travelling and found that these really didn’t suit Nye. I think it just shows that there is no one best buy for everyone.

    It is a massive shame that Aldi don’t do any kind of delivery services, with another baby on the way I really don’t think I will be able to cope with a weekly shop with 2 under 2 in tow!

    • gillian
      September 8, 2013 / 9:10 pm

      I know they don’t offer delivery to keep costs and overheads down, but we’d really be willing to give it a go for some of our shopping if they did – we can’t really get to our nearest one easily, so we’re not going to stop using our usual supermarket that does deliver. Which is a shame as we liked most of the products and the money saving element is brilliant. I do wonder if we had a bad pack of nappies – they were so bad though, that we really wouldn’t be tempted to buy them again x.

  2. August 29, 2013 / 12:18 pm

    I found this really interesting – I’ve often wondered if we should start shopping in Aldi but we’ve stuck with Tesco through sheer laziness. I think I’d be tempted to pop in there for a look now. Although the baby range does sound a bit rubbish!

    • gillian
      September 8, 2013 / 9:07 pm

      We’re pretty much the same – we stick with one shop as it’s easier to get everything from there, even if it is more expensive in the long run. It’s a shame there’s not one really close to us as we were impressed with a lot of the stuff, and it definitely sounds like there’s some really good products in there (like the gin, for example! And you can’t argue with that).

  3. Anne Mackay
    August 29, 2013 / 9:32 pm

    I was also surprised at your comments on the nappies & wipes (although I have only bought scented once, as I prefer the unscented ones). I’ve never found Aldi nappies to be bad for leaking or absorbancy. Pampers & Sainsburys own I’ve had problems in the past. I some times use cloth too, so I know my little girl (11 months) pees quite often, from leaks with them!

    We go to Aldi for a big shop and then top up with some food from Sainsburys. We don’t feel happy with their meat & their fruit can be hit or miss. The veg is excellent prices though. The other day I saw broccoli in Tescos (metro), £1.20 for one or £1.50 for 2. In Aldi the same size 39p I think it was!! It was a decent looking one too – not past it’s best!

    • gillian
      September 8, 2013 / 8:58 pm

      That’s such a massive difference on the veg! The ones we tried were fine, but i have read that some of it can be not so great (like you say). I think we just must have had a bad pack of nappies – the leaking and absorbency was SO bad though, it really put us off. Are the unscented wipes OK? Wonder if they’re the same texture as the scented ones too (as that put me off as well).

  4. Annie
    September 2, 2013 / 7:30 pm

    I’m surprised by your thoughts on the Mammia nappies, I used to shop at Waitrose and we only used Pampers, but since I was made redundant AND realised I am pregnant (uh oh!) I am now an Aldi convert. We were put off by the baby wipes so avoided the range for a while but about a month ago now we felt brave and tried the nappies, I think they’re brilliant. So cheap, and we have had zero accidents 🙂
    The conditioner that looks like Treseme is amazing, and I also recommend the humous (my 18 month old loves it), brioche, all the cereals, fruit juices and pizza. In the frozen section they do a bag of ‘Essentials’ chicken breasts, I think there are 10 in a bag for something like £2.99 and we LOVE these. We cook them from frozen and have them with Aldi couscous or put them with Caesar salad.
    My husband loves the Titan chocolate bars, they have saved us a fortune on his 2 a day Mars bar habit!

    • gillian
      September 8, 2013 / 8:55 pm

      Congrats on the pregnancy! When are you due? I do wonder if we had a bad pack of nappies as several people have said that they are great – the couple of bad ones we had really put us off though. All the other things you’ve mentioned sound great -really wish there was one nearer so we could have a root around and a try x.

  5. Shirley
    September 4, 2013 / 2:35 pm

    chocolate is much nicer than any you can buy from other supermarkets. The cleaning products work as they should and cheaper. Our favorite is the frozen fish range and frozen desert.
    We enjoy the Greek yogurt and cooked ham/salami is a wide range and all delicious.
    The best value is the fresh fruit and vegetables which always look fresh.
    You never mentioned the good value and large choice of wines

    • gillian
      September 8, 2013 / 9:00 pm

      We’ve not tried the win – we will though! The gin is supposed to be amazing too x

  6. Ruby [86yrs]
    April 4, 2015 / 12:28 am

    I have shopped at Aldi for many years now, the whole fresh chicken is excellent and good value,fruit and veg is so cheap and fresh,I think that is because the turn over is very quick,all the cleaning products give good results specially the laundry liquid,I also like their moisturising face cream,oh and the biscuits are very good,so many good but naughtythings like choc’s and sweets!!! all affordable,

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