Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What 11 euros buys at Aldi

First of all, this isn't a sponsored post for Aldi. I can't imagine that the company would agree to sponsor some of the (true) things I'm going to say about it. So there's that.

Anyway, above is a photo of what about 11 euors (technically it was 10.79) buys at Aldi. It includes: 2 packages of Muesli; two one liter packages of milk (not actually for the Muesli, for the record); a package of onions; 3 Pink Lady apples; and a 3-pack of garlic.

I thought it might be interesting to share how much it costs to shop on the German economy. Even though I can shop at the Commissary, I try to avoid the produce section there at all costs. I've bought items there that went bad the next day. Even worse was when I bought a packet of produce and the majority of it was already bad. I could've taken it back, I guess, but I didn't want all that work. Instead, I know better now and buy fruits and vegetables "on the economy," as people here say. They're fresher and often cheaper than buying them from the Commissary.

Anyway, the fruits and vegetables I bought on this shopping trip were a good deal. The more expensive part of the trip was the Muesli. However, as Edith Piaf said, I regret nothing.

I wanted to illustrate how Aldi in Germany is very different from the Aldi (of the past) that was in the U.S. When I grew up in Michigan, I visited Aldi several times, but it wasn't a store we'd really use for shopping. At the time, Aldi was, well, gross. I don't mean that the store was dirty or anything; I mean that the food offerings weren't palatable-looking.

The majority of the goods were composed of frozen, low-quality convenience food. For example, there were tons of sketchy-looking frozen pizzas, frozen fried potato concoctions, etc. The non-frozen food was mostly packaged junk food of low quality. Plus, there was the weirdness of bagging your groceries yourself and not being given grocery bags. Aldi just wasn't for us in Michigan.

When I moved to Germany, I was pleasantly surprised by Aldi. Yes, one still must bag one's own groceries and pay if one doesn't bring her own bag, but that's better for the environment, allows one to pack the groceries as one wishes, and the food is so much better here. It's one of the cheapest places to buy decent produce. The store's offerings are basic, but I can usually find what I need there. Weekly specials sometimes offer gourmet food from other countries.

When I was back in Michigan last summer, I wanted to buy some inexpensive wine and we were near Aldi so we decided to stop by. I had heard that Trader Joe's and Aldi are now part of the same company in the US, and was pleasantly surprised to see what that means for Aldi now. The store is still basic but the food offerings are things that I actually would -- and did -- eat. There were organic, gluten-free, and Basic White Girl offerings (read: hummus). Plus there was plenty of fresh produce. Good for you, Aldi, for not being so gross any more!


I showed great restraint as a Michigander and did not call it "Aldi's."

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