Attempting to launch a chain of supermarkets nowadays isn’t just risky, it’s downright insane. How could you possibly garner any sort of a following when so many reputable brands, like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, are crushing the market? Any business expert will tell you trying to dissuade people from returning to an establishment they’re already attached to is a feat of epic proportions. Many consumers have shopped at certain brands for decades, and they’re not interested in suddenly bailing out on a place that’s served them so well for so long. Well, those people obviously haven’t tried out Aldi, the German discount supermarket chain with the unfathomable ability to yank shoppers away from what they’ve known and loved for eons.
Even the former CEO of U.S. Walmart, Greg Foran, admitted during an industry conference that, "I never underestimate them. I’ve been competing against Aldi for 20-plus years. They are fierce and they are good." And that came from a man who ran an enterprise that prided itself in having some of the lowest prices a consumer could imagine.
But, do the wildly low prices at Aldi mean everything there is worth your hard-earned cash? Unfortunately, no. There are a handful of items that are just plain overrated. Best to avoid them when perusing the aisles and then forking over that moolah for something else you’re likely to enjoy way more.
1. Kirkwood chicken wings
Ahh, chicken wings. The classic staple of every Super Bowl party and, frankly, just an awesome snack for every time you’re craving a finger food that’s super easy to make and really tickles that carnivore bone in you. There’s something about gnawing sauce-slathered meat off a bone and makes you feel like you’re truly harnessing the energy of our hunting ancestors centuries ago. And, who doesn’t love giving a wing a dip in the ol’ blue cheese jacuzzi for an added layer of sharp flavor? However, when you see those bags of Kirkwood chicken wings at Aldi, it’s best to move on to your finger food plan B.
As delicious as those wings look on the package (as every food item always does on the outer packaging), the truth is they just don’t give you the satisfaction of eating a chicken wing. The skin on the outside tends to feel super rubbery much of the time, which is an immediate turnoff once you bite into one. Instead of a tender and flavorful wing, you also get a lot of dry spots throughout the batch, and that lack of savoriness really keeps that frown upside down. And, to add the cherry on the top of this disappointing cake, cold spots tend to run rampant throughout each wing even after they’re supposedly cooked all the way through. There’s nothing worse than craving something hot and tasty, and instead experiencing something cold and dry.
2. Cattleman’s Ranch bacon wrapped beef chuck filet
One of the greatest things about bacon (besides the incredibly savory flavor) is that you can literally wrap food in it to make it better. Scallops are amazing on their own. But, take a strip of bacon and dress the scallop like it was going to prom? Well, friend, you suddenly have a product that kicks up from 10 to 11 real quick. Pickles are amazing, duh. But have you ever wrapped dill pickles in bacon and popped them into the oven for 30 minutes? If you haven’t, pencil that into your to-do list immediately. Wrapping things in bacon is awesome, plain and simple. However, Aldi manages to somehow miss the mark with their Bacon Wrapped Beef Chuck Filet.
When you see the package of Bacon Wrapped Beef Chuck Filet, you immediately think, "Ooh, baby! I am treating myself tonight! Beef wrapped in bacon? Yes, please!" However, once you arrive home and throw a couple of those medallions onto your grill, you’ll likely wish you opted for something else when you finally cut into them. First, the meat gets super tough very quickly, so unless you’re absolutely precise with your grilling time, it’ll feel like you’re gnawing on a piece of tire after every bite. Plus, the bacon used to wrap each filet just isn’t that flavorful. Bacon should do nothing short of enhancing a dish, but with this, it’s just an extra piece of bland meat that serves no purpose.
3. Appleton Farms premium pork sausage
Pork sausage is a great accompaniment to any breakfast. Add a couple of links to your scrambled eggs and you’re ready to tackle the day head-on with a nice protein boost. It also pairs great with French toast, especially when you drizzle syrup over the sausage. That sweetness of Aunt Jemima and the savory richness of the sausage embark on an amazing dance over your palate every time. So, when you spot that Pork Sausage roll at Aldi, there’s absolutely no reason to pass it on by. Sadly, it turns out you should definitely avert your eyes and seek out that breakfast favorite elsewhere.
As unappealing a visual as the term "sausage roll" might be, the actual roll isn’t aesthetically cringe-inducing. It simply looks like a very large sausage, because, well, that’s exactly what it’s supposed to look like. It slices well and doesn’t squish into bits when you take a knife to it. So far so good. Then, when you toss your slices into a skillet and start to hear that wonderful sizzling sound, it even smells great. At this point, you’re getting super stoked to indulge. Well, that’s exactly the moment the disaster unfolds. The sausage is so salty you can literally feel your blood pressure skyrocket. It’s nearly inedible, and swallowing just one small bite is a challenge. Keep your blood pressure in check and snag a sausage roll somewhere far from Aldi.
4. Atlantic salmon with Mediterranean herb
The Mediterranean diet is frequently hailed as one of the healthiest in the world. Its plant-based regimen includes a variety of heart-healthy foods like "whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices" and the fatty part of the diet comes from olive oil. Red meat is rarely eaten, and fish (high in omega-3 fatty acids) and seafood are consumed in moderation. If you’re looking for a tasty alternative to all that fast food we tend to turn to out of convenience, look no further. And, with all the information coming out nowadays about the long-term effects of saturated fats and added sugars, it seems strange more people aren’t hopping aboard this train. This is why the Mediterranean Crusted Salmon Filet at Aldi seems so appealing. Sadly, it doesn’t do the idea of "healthy and delicious eating" any justice.
The biggest problem with this item is that those spices that look so appealing on top of the salmon don’t really pack that much of a flavor punch. The top of the filet is literally caked with the stuff, which naturally leads you to believe every bite is going to metaphorically whisk you away to the Mediterranean. Big mistake. To be clear, the salmon itself isn’t a letdown. But when you expect a roundhouse kick of herbs and spices that never comes, you’re bummed out, and that feeling overpowers any sort of satisfaction with the fish itself.
5. Breakfast Best sausage, egg, & cheese breakfast sandwich
We’ve been told time and time again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A lot of us tend to wake up too late to eat breakfast, and others simply aren’t that hungry in the morning. But, our brains need sustenance to function properly, and what better way to win the day over than a delicious little concoction called the sausage, egg, and cheese croissant? It’s a handheld package of carbs, dairy, and protein that preps our mind and gives our muscles fuel to show up at work and win that "Employee of the Month" award. That’s why you should invest in the Aldi version, right? Actually, that’s a firm no.
Making a breakfast sandwich at home with your own ingredients is always infinitely better than anything you can buy frozen in the supermarket, and even though the picture on the package makes it look like the final product is straight out of a Michelin-rated breakfast restaurant, it’s the farthest thing from it. Croissants, which are supposed to be tender and flaky, come across as an embarrassment with this item. They’re gummy, flavorless, and in no way act as a sufficient vessel for the also-flavorless fixings inside. The egg and sausage are cold in the center almost every time, and eating one of these will only give you the urge to call in sick to work instead of impressing your boss.
6. Casa Mamita frozen burritos
When it comes to handheld food, there are few items that stack up against the almighty burrito. Every delicious ingredient inside is draped in a wonderful tuxedo of tortilla, and you can literally put anything you want into it. Sure, there are the staple ingredients like beef, cheese, and a variety of veggies, but forget those lame concoctions! Why not try a pineapple, ground beef, and provolone cheese burrito? What about liver and onions? Well, you can make that too (if you dare). That’s why anytime frozen burritos arise as an option, they pique your interest. You don’t have to put in any work, and you get to eat a burrito! That’s a twofer! However, skip out on Aldi’s unless you’re craving the utmost disappointment.
The biggest problem with these things is the temperature they heat up at. It’s virtually impossible not to take a bite into either a cold center or a boiling hot patch of agony. There’s absolutely no middle ground with this. And, even if by some miracle you manage to cook a whole burrito at the same temperature all the way through, the ingredients themselves aren’t anything to write home about. The meat needs way more seasoning, and the beans are just a starchy addition that don’t add anything to the taste. You’ll try to eat one and then end up tossing the rest in the trash, where they belong.
7. Benton’s peanut butter filled cookies
Let’s be honest, it’s tough to turn down a cookie, no matter what the flavor is. A disc of baked cookie dough riddled with chocolate chips or macadamia nuts hit the spot nearly every time, even after a huge meal that stuffs your belly to its absolute breaking point. Yeah, there’s always room in that gut for a cookie. How does one enjoy a savory meal without the pleasure of something sweet afterward? Unfortunately, if that cookie happens to be peanut butter filled cookies from Aldi, that urge for sweets comes to a screeching halt.
When you see anything that’s "peanut butter filled," you envision a tasty treat with a creamy center that complements the outer coating. And, that’s exactly what should be envisioned! However, the peanut butter in these cookies is dry and crumbly, which immediately sets a disappointing tone throughout your mouth. The texture actually makes your mouth feel dry, and that’s never a pleasurable feel. The chocolate surrounding each cookie tries its best to cover for the fact its innards are a huge letdown, but it fails miserably. It’s as if these cookies want to rival the Girl Scout Tag-A-Longs in their composition, but they don’t hit the grand slam the Tag-A-Longs do, and when you leave Aldi excited to indulge in your after-dinner snacks, it’s a nightmare waiting to unfold.
8. Bremer corndogs
Hilarious name, delicious snack. The almighty corndog. What could possibly be a better handheld vessel for a hot dog than a fluffy pancake-like coating propped up on a popsicle stick? They’re a staple item at any sporting event, and when you see a box of them nestled in the freezer at Aldi your childhood nostalgia immediately kicks in tenfold and you make the purchase. Why wouldn’t you want to enjoy the amazingness that is the corndog while plopped on your couch firing up a Netflix movie? No reason other than the Corndogs that come from Aldi.
The biggest problem with these treats on a stick is that every time it seems like the wrapped dog heats up at a different temperature, and that’s something your mouth is not down with whatsoever. Sometimes the pancake coating on the outside is hot as molten lava while the hot dog center is cold, and other times the batter-coated exterior gives your mouth hypothermia while the savory center dog scorches your tongue like the fires from hell. It’s impossible to judge how much time each corndog takes to cook because even when you make multiple at a time, they all come out completely different, The only way to ensure they’re all the same is to overcook them so you’re guaranteed no cold spots, but at that point, you might as well prepare your tongue for a third-degree lashing it never deserved in the first place.
9. Bake Shop bakery croissants
When it comes to bread, there are few varieties more delicate, flaky, and delicious than croissants. The process of making croissants is absolutely grueling and intricate, and any pastry chef will admit to that. But, once you have the recipe mastered, the end product is something that can be served with any meal and with any topping. A breakfast sandwich on a freshly baked croissant is far superior to a thick bagel (many would admit). The delicate texture doesn’t overpower the ingredients nestled in between, and it’s those ingredients that make the sandwich, not the bread. However, when it comes to the croissants at Aldi, a bagel will actually suit you better.
If it looks like a croissant and feels like a croissant, it must be a croissant, right? Well, until you actually bite into it, all your senses are screaming at you to make the purchase because, well, you’re craving a croissant! But, when you finally take that first hopeful bite into the baked pastry, the dryness that engulfs your mouth will have you second-guessing croissants for quite some time. The flakiness doesn’t exist, the butteriness is lacking, and the last thing you want to do is pile a bunch of delicious fixings onto it and use it as a culinary transportation device. Do yourself a favor and go to a bakery where you know the croissants are made fresh, and the end result will be a huge win.
10. Simply Nature coconut and chia granola
With all the information we have nowadays about health and nutrition, people are staying away from sugary morning breakfasts and navigating their way to a nutritious morning that kicks their brain into gear the proper way. Loading up our bodies with 40 grams of sugary cereal right off that bat might lend a brief kick of energy, but the afternoon lag that inevitably follows is brutal to deal with. That’s why so many of us gravitate to healthy options like granola. The good thing about Aldi is that it offers coconut and chia granola. The bad part about Aldi is that this particular item isn’t worth your time.
This product is healthy, let’s make no mistake. If you’re looking for some protein and a substantial source of fiber, look no further. However, most people seeking those criteria also want some flavor, and that’s exactly what this product lacks. It’s just so bland, and it ends up being a struggle to shovel in mouthful after mouthful. Instead of an enjoyably healthy culinary experience, it’s a chore to put down, and it feels like Aldi should pay you to eat it instead of you paying them to purchase it. Even putting it in a bowl with milk just doesn’t do anything justice. The milk argues with the granola over who will come out on top, and unfortunately, the dry coconut and chia granola have a better argument every time.
11. Live G Free gluten free cheese pizza
Gluten has earned a reputation as public enemy number one over the last few years. There seem to be hordes of people who avoid the stuff like it’s the Black Plague, and now, more and more food purveyors are making gluten-free products so they don’t lose out on precious customer dollars. Jumping aboard the gluten-free train seems to be the trend at the moment, and it’s a smart way to retain spenders who might look elsewhere if they’re not offered free-of-gluten products. Aldi, naturally, saw the trend growing and offered patrons a gluten-free cheese pizza, but unless the customers are celiacs, they might just go back to consuming gluten after trying this.
Listen, Aldi gets an "E" for effort, but an "F" for execution. The crust, which is made out of rice, is a cardboard-like texture that in no way feels pleasing to the palate. The tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese would taste fine on actual dough, but when paired with the gluten-free base, they fall short of anything considered tasty. It’s a shame that two flavorful ingredients can fall victim to an undercarriage of disappointing proportions, but that’s exactly the case with this pie. If you’re seeking a gluten-free pizza that’ll leave a smile on both your face and belly, head to another location and spend your money there. Your stomach deserves it.
12. Park Street Deli Southwest guacamole
If you have yourself a bag of chips, you likely have a jar of salsa sitting nearby. That’s a good move, obviously, But, it’s an even better move to have guacamole also within arm’s reach. No matter how tasty the salsa is, dunking a chip into a rich paste of avocado and spices counterbalances the salsa perfectly, and a delicious feast is all about that counterbalance. Guacamole is a great addition to any party, as it offers guests (and you, of course) the option to think outside the red and dive deep into the green. That is, of course, as long as you get your guacamole from anywhere other than Aldi.
Aldi has two types of guacamole: Southwest and Sweet and Spicy. The Sweet and Spicy has a great kick to the fattiness of the avocados that cuts through and lends a fantastic flavor profile to anything you dunk in it. However, the Southwest has way too much lemon flavor prancing throughout it, and it gets overpowering quickly. When you take down guacamole, you want to taste the avocados and spices and not earn a Mike Tyson uppercut to the face with the potent flavor of lemon.