Friday, March 1, 2013

Aldi - Green or Not?

Some friends have recently been teasing me about shopping at Aldi so I just had to write about it and see what you all think.  

Compared to other grocery stores, I consider them very "green" and they were green before green was cool.  

  • They don't give you plastic or paper bags for your groceries--you either bring your own reusable bags or you can buy them at the checkout if you forgot them.
  • They make you put a quarter in the grocery carts to make sure you return them, not only saving them money but also making sure the carts don't end up in the trash, side of the road, some back alley, in a dumpster, rusting in someone's back yard, etc.  Less carts they need to buy, less carts need to be made.  Pretty green to me.
  • They don't use fancy signs that change every week thus saving on paper, plastic and ink costs.
  • They mostly use simple pallets that the grocery items were shipped in rather than spending lots on shelving that needs to be maintained, cleaned (by non-green cleaners in most grocery stores), replaced, signed properly, etc.
  • They keep prices low by limiting selection so you aren't overwhelmed with 200 kinds of cereal, but maybe only 20 kinds (which if you have kids like me, this is a good thing, esp. since many of their cereals don't have the kiddie toy attraction boxes like the major brands do at the regular grocery store).
My one big complaint so far was that Aldi didn't carry organic fruits and veggies or organic dairy. And I question some of the products they sell especially since I recently noticed "carbon monoxide" as an added ingredient to their family value pack of tilapia (the regular size tilapia bag did not have "carbon monoxide" listed though...strange).

So I was quite excited when on a recent trip to buy my usual staples of onions, potatoes, carrots, baking staples like flour and vanilla extract, I noticed that they had started carrying organic produce and dairy items!  I guess they are only doing it in certain test markets to see how well it does, so I feel lucky to find them at my local store!

Anyway, so my Aldi top 10 list has evolved now to include several organic items:

1) organic apples
2) organic yogurt or cheese (when they have it)
3) almond milk
4) organic frozen strawberries/blueberries
5) organic dark chocolate (when they have it)
6) onions
7) potatoes
8) carrots
9) veggie hummus
10) wine (no list is ever complete without wine!)

So what do you think?  Do you or would you shop at Aldi now that they carry organic items?

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