So, i like Aldi quite a bit and have probably already espoused the supermarket’s virtues to you previously… but to recap, here are a few of my favourite things about Aldi:
– All of Aldi’s everyday products are great value and good quality (no watery canned foods, numbered ingredients of dubious chemical origins and half empty packets like “other” homebrands)
– It’s worth going to Aldi just for their Helga-esque bread and soft drinks. The bread is practically half the price of any other supermarket, and their orange fizzy drink is better than Fanta
– All of Aldi’s staples are brilliant and consistently well priced: pasta and sauce, frozen stirfry veggies, tuna, bananas, chicken breast, cheese, all sorts of chocolate, baby spinach (closer to $2 compared to the $4 you’d expect to pay elsewhere)
– Their nappies don’t leak, they’re strong, and so cheap, plus the scent free babywipes are perfect for sensitive babies and other sensitive areas… oh, okay, the entire “feminine hygiene” section is good too if you must know
– Aldi already has phosphate free laundry detergents in its core range (phosphates cause blue green algae outbreaks, which damage water ecosystems) and they’ve committed to an entire phosphate free range by 2013
– They hire real Aussies, eg adult locals (including parents of school age kids, those at the senior end of working age and people with ESL) who truly need jobs and are happy to work and pay taxes
– Aldi doesn’t stock any food labelled as GM, and they comply with Australia’s highest QA standards for fruit and veg – an important thing, as imported food doesn’t “have” to meet Aust requirements
– Their foods are all artificial colour free (regardless of whether homebrand or not, unlike other supermarkets) and they tend towards artificial-flavour free, preservative-free and more often baked than fried (where that’s a common choice eg in chips, biscuits, shapes)
– The labelling is really good, especially for vegans, vegetarians and people with gluten intolerance (look for the “has no” range). Admittedly their dairy free options are lacking at the moment, my ultra-allergic daughter & i read all the labels tonight and couldn’t find anything sweet and junk-food ish she could eat beyond gel style lollies (no dairy free biscuits or chocolate). But the savoury range is great
– There’s accurate and informative unit pricing, so you can compare bulk buys and make necessary budgetary decisions
– They’re also honest about product origins, with 100% of fresh meat being Australian, 94% of dairy and 97% of fresh fruit and veggies Australian… although you do have to be a little discerning because (like in all the other supermarkets) there *is* a difference between Australian grown and Australian made. Adding marinade in Australia, to a Chinese born chicken, can fall under Australian made – and is often cheaper because of the origin country. I only go for the Australian grown on principle, and luckily, i find that i come up against these decisions much less frequently at Aldi because the majority of produce actually *is* from Australia. But like all Australian supermarkets their fruit and veg generally isn’t organic or preservative free, a sacrifice those on a budget often need to make when they can’t buy from local farmer’s markets
– Aldi attempts to only offer sustainable seafood caught in approved zones at the right time of year without Fish Aggregating Devices, and they’re honest about which fish can’t be certified as naturally “wild caught”
– 96% of Aldi packaging waste (from transport and storage) is recycled. You should be recycling the post purchase packaging 😉
– All of the Aldi freezers have lids (an Australian first) and at night they pull insulated curtains over the cold sections to save energy consumption
– Aldi has a plastic bag policy to be proud of, just like in my home state of South Australia. If only they accepted/collected recycling onsite, they’d score 100% on corporate responsibility in my opinion
– You never see Aldi trolleys used for car lot racing, dumped in storm drains or obstructing the visitor parking in multistorey unit blocks. Which means the miniscule $2 deposit has a marked psychological effect on shoppers
– Aldi tests its clothes and homeware for toxins and dangerous dyes, plus known chemical dangers like formaldehyde and nickel which can cause allergies, asthma, birth defects, cancer et al
– Beyond all this, Aldi is EFFICIENT. They’re actually using barcodes how barcodes should be used = to speed up scanning! Aldi barcodes aren’t a small afterthought whacked onto promotional packaging… instead the barcodes are functional design features surrounding the whole pack which makes checkout exceptionally fast
– And in less than the time it takes me to formulate a “suggestion” letter in my mind, Aldi have usually actioned it! For example, their softdrink cans used to be plastic wrapped, but now they’re not only completely recyclable (cardboard and aluminium) they’re also in flavour rows. Which i’d have suggested of course
As impressed as i’ve been with Aldi for years, i’m now even more excited at the added level of simplicity they’ve brought to my life… with a brand new alcohol section now available in NSW (well, i stumbled across it for the first time tonight, in the Canterbury NSW store).
Over 8 years ago i was thrilled with the smart functionality of New Zealand supermarkets – the butter in a can blew me away for sure, but paying for dinner and a matching bottle of wine in one transaction seemed like the ultimate timesaving idea.
Who can be bothered navigating a liquor store with a full trolley (particularly dangerous if there’s a you-break you-buy expectation) let alone lining up *again* to complete *another* purchase after already slaving through food shopping?
Water will do to lubricate this tired mum in lieu of a second queue.
But now Aldi has managed to circumvent the ridiculous alcohol policing and licensing laws we have in our country and made life easier for those of us who appreciate a relaxing beverage at the end of a crazy week.
Have a quick look see at the video, it pans the newly set-out Aldi liquor store section.
Competition laws and local business did cross my mind, so i asked what “rules” (if any) were in place for the in-store alcohol – my checkout assistant advised that the alcohol section had to be closed earlier than the rest of the store, 6pm on weekends and 7pm on weeknights.
So never fear, your local fresh food pokies will continue to rake in the revenue.
Oh, wait, that’s actually a big call for a girl who helped her Dad make wine and amazing ginger beer at home as a child, a girl who grew up close to the Barossa in SA, knows the Coonawarra, Padthaway, Chain of Ponds wines and regions well… and once drove an ambulance at high speeds through the Margaret River region… not to mention calls organic winemakers and foodies friend.
I’ve purchased an Aldi Rose for under $6 and I’m waiting for it to chill. Will personally report back on the wine quality ASAP and will ask MrO to test the beer and spirits over the next few weeks.
To be continued…