I’ve spent the last month serving as a short-term blog ambassador for ALDI to bring awareness to not only their brand and the unique shopping and saving experience they provide but also their new focus on providing customers with nutritious and affordable food. ALDI recently launched a new organics line, Simply Nature, and introduced organic produce in store. They also carry a Fit & Active line that offers over 50 products that meet or exceed five out of 10 standard nutritional values.
I have really enjoyed sharing my experience in becoming an ALDI shopper and trying the products over the last month. The highlight of the ambassadorship was a trip to ALDI’s headquarters in Batavia, Illinois to visit their test kitchen and tour a local store to learn about the operational efficiencies that allow them to offer their low prices. The trip was incredibly educational and I can’t wait to share with you everything this progressive and smart brand is doing to offer its customers healthy and budget friendly food and a streamlined shopping experience.
Today I have a complete walk through of my afternoon in the ALDI test kitchen. Hang with me, this may be the most photo-heavy post I have ever written but there’s a giveaway at the end!
I was part of a group of 10 health and fitness bloggers. We were warmly welcomed at ALDI headquarters and escorted to their beautiful test kitchens.
Seriously, everything was so clean, white and full of natural light and pops of color. It was a very inspiring and creative environment.
I loved the use of fresh vegetables to create flower arrangements and centerpieces.
The first activity that we did was a “Switch & Save” tasting where we sampled ALDI and national brands side-by-side.
Once we tasted and commented on the items we were tasting, a card was flipped over to show which was the ALDI brand and a cost comparison. This was very interesting demonstration. As a group, we chose the ALDI product for two of the tastings, the national brand for two of the tastings and absolutely couldn’t tell the difference in one product comparison.
The biggest winner for me was the ALDI greek yogurt tasting. We tried ALDI strawberry greek yogurt alongside a leading national brand.
The national brand is on the left and ALDI on the right (we didn’t know this as we were tasting). I MUCH preferred the ALDI brand. It was way creamier and less sweet than the national brand.
The guacamole was the item that no one could distinguish a difference in but with the chips most preferred the national brand.
Overall, it was an eye opening experience. Since ALDI’s business is built around private label products (over 90% of what they offer is private label), they use blind taste testings as part of their product development process. The ALDI product has to rate as good as or better than the national brand.
Next up was sampling various ALDI Simply Nature and Fit & Active products as well as some snack recipes using ALDI products. These veggie chips are delicious…and dangerous!
These kid-friendly organic squeezables were voted a “2014 Product of the Year” by the Consumer Survey of Product Innovation and Parade Magazine.
The use of a cucumber and jalapeño slice on these turkey and cheese bites was a fun twist.
This Spinach Romesco Dip would be a sure crowd pleaser at any party.
Roasted Spiced Almonds are and easy way to amp up regular almonds for snacking or to use on salads.
I’ve never thought to add fresh lemon juice to my smoothies but it added a huge refreshing punch in this blueberry based smoothie.
Needless to say, I think this was one of my best days of afternoon snacking…ever! ALDI has a dedicated staff of full-time chefs who spend their days developing and testing new products and recipes.
Next on the agenda was a presentation from Sylvia Klinger who is one of five registered dietitians that ALDI has partnered with this year to bring customers useful and practical nutritional information that is being featured in product newsletters and online.
Sylvia was warm, friendly and engaging and I very much enjoyed her presentation. She covered topics such as what nutrients we are most lacking as a nation, her top 10 “hero foods” for maximal nutritional value that we should all keep stocked in our kitchens, eating well on a budget and the importance of home cooking. She demoed this Black Bean Avocado Dip recipe that took less than five minutes to make and she said her family loves to use it not only as a dip but also as a spread on sandwiches and on top of chicken, pork and fish as healthy sauce alternative.
One alarming stat that she shared was that the average American family wastes about 20 pounds of food each month and how much opportunity is available around reducing your food waste to increase your budget share for purchasing healthy, fresh food.
Now, a fun giveaway/contest opportunity! We did a challenge where we had to guess the cost of the groceries from ALDI in this cart. The three closest guesses were rewarded with $50 in gift certificates.
Fellow Charlotte blogger Caitlin and I came in number one and two so I received two $25 gift certificates.
I’m going to share them with two readers! Leave a comment with your best guess on what the grocery bill is for everything in this cart. I’ll send a $25 gift certificate to
the two closest guesses two random winners (some of you have seen the total on other blogs and want to keep it fair for everyone)!
To help you with your calculations the cart includes the following…wild caught salmon, USDA choice strip steak, organic baby spinach, organic spring mix, broccoli, onions, avocados, apples, oranges, bananas, pineapple, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, two bottles of wine, organic pasta sauce, noodles, ground turkey, brown rice, organic chicken broth, napkins, cereal, organic frozen strawberries, organic blueberries, string cheese, multi-colored peppers, tomatoes on the vine, facial tissue, brie cheese, a reusable shopping bag, salad dressing and ground coffee.
Contest open until Wednesday at midnight EST. U.S. only.
Stay tuned for part two of three of my ALDI adventure – a smoothie competition and dinner at ALDI.
This post was sponsored by ALDI as part of my ALDI Fresh Blogger Ambassador agreement.