Here's What You Should Buy On Your First Trip To Aldi

Aldi opened its first American store nearly 50 years ago. In recent years, Aldi has continued to gain a steady following of dedicated shoppers in the United States, growing its presence at an impressive rate. The brand almost doubled the number of its stores in the 11 years between 2011 and 2022.

Aldi's reputation for selling quality products at low prices is no doubt the cause for this growth. Value for money has become especially important in recent years as Americans have struggled economically due to high inflation. As economic pressures remain high, and Aldi continues to undercut other grocery stores like Walmart, many Americans are turning to the store to save money on their groceries. 

However, visiting Aldi for the first time can be disorienting. Unlike many other American grocery stores, Aldi's stores are more sparse, the products are piled high, and are often left in the cardboard boxes they were shipped in. What's more, the vast majority of items sold in Aldi are private label; you will very rarely find name brands in the aisles. However, the quality and affordability of what's on the shelves more than makes up for the initial shock. Among this brilliant selection there are a few products which stand out from the rest. Keep your eye out for the following items on your first visit to Aldi and you can be sure of securing a fantastic range of groceries for a very reasonable price.

Mama Cozzi's Pizza Kitchen Take and Bake Deli Pizza

The first item on many Aldi shopping lists is a Mama Cozzi's Pizza Kitchen Take and Bake Deli Pizza. This pizza, whether bought ready to bake, is a firm favorite, as highlighted by the product's induction into the grocery store's "Hall of Fame", an accolade bestowed on it after fan's voted for their favorite product. Of course, a pizza that often retails for under $8 is never going to be the best in the world. However, Aldi has perfected the art of selling cheap products that are of a surprisingly high quality. Mama Cozzi's Pizza Kitchen Take and Bake Deli Pizza definitely falls into this category.

Coming in five different flavor combinations, including five cheese and pepperoni, Mama Cozzi's suits pizza eaters of all tastes. A cheaper range of Mama Cozzi's pizzas are also available frozen. These are a great option to use as a base pizza with many customers embellishing it with other ingredients. One Aldi shopper described on Reddit how they like to customize the pizza: "It's not bad. I added black pepper and generous salt because Mama Cozzi's is generally bland, black olives and a drizzle of olive oil. It's the thinnest thin crust I've ever seen, and cooks better directly on the rack [in my opinion]. For $2.25, it's a good deal." 

Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

While ready meals are often celebrated at Aldi, the grocery store also offers a range of quality store cupboard essentials. Chief among these is Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Voted the best pantry staple" by Aldi shoppers, this organic olive oil performs well as both a cooking medium and as the base for marinades and salad dressings. 

Not only does it add a fresh, peppery flavor, but extra virgin olive oil also has a myriad of health benefits as Diana Domenica Bruno, an olive oil expert explained to Foodiamo: "According to many studies, there appear to be several beneficial qualities of EVOO, including anti-inflammatory, blood-sugar controlling, and cholesterol-lowering components that, used regularly, can help combat diabetes, cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis, among other conditions. Another very recent study showed promising benefits in the fight against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease."

This particular olive oil is also certified by the North American Olive Oil Association. Oil that has achieved this certification must meet the standards set by the International Olive Council. As such, the EVOO sold by Aldi has "not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation and filtration." The oil also includes an oleic acid volume of less than 0.8 grams per 100 grams. In other words, its integrity and quality is guaranteed.

Specially Selected Indulgent Honey Greek Yogurt

Nearly all of Aldi's stock is made from private labels. But this does not mean there are limited options for each product. Rather, Aldi has several different private label brands, one of which is called Specially Selected. Hugely popular in Europe, Specially Selected, a premium option for those willing to spend a greater amount, was launched in the United States in 2013. Speaking at the time of the announcement, Aldi Inc. President Chuck Youngstrom said: "Each Specially Selected product was developed with exceptional taste at an exceptional value – helping to meet our customers' increasing demand for premium, quality food at affordable prices," (via FoodNavigator USA).

One of the most popular Specially Selected products is the Indulgent Honey Greek Yogurt. This product epitomizes the edict "exceptional taste at exceptional value". Reportedly retailing at $3.49 per 32-ounce tub, the yogurt is of a substantial size and many have lauded its luxurious mouthfeel and delicious flavor. The yogurt usually comes in two flavors, honey or honey vanilla, although consumers report other flavors being occasionally available. The only downside to the product is its sugar content; both the honey and honey vanilla boast 23 grams of sugar per  serving. This is a significant amount that customers should take into account before enjoying. 

Fresh Atlantic salmon

Knowing whether the food you are purchasing is sustainable or not has become increasingly difficult given the abundance of sustainable certifications, claims, and badges. This is especially true when it comes to seafood. Not only is there an abundance of different certifications brands can boast, but often the brand's adherence to the required standards is not checked by the certifying body. The upshot of all this? Not all fish that are labeled as sustainable actually are.

That being said, Aldi's seafood is thought to be relatively sustainable when compared to other, similarly priced, grocery stores. For example, Greenpeace awarded Aldi an overall sustainability score of 67%. By comparison, the highest scorer of all grocery stores, Whole Foods, only achieved a score of 75%. On the other hand, Aldi's key competitors, including Kroger and Walmart, scored 45% and 55% respectively.

Aldi's Fresh Atlantic Salmon was voted "Catch of the Day" fan favorite by shoppers. The fish is Best Aquaculture Practices certified. This means it follows a set of practices that minimize the harmful impacts of fish farming on the environment. As such, this salmon is a cheap, relatively sustainable source of seafood that consumers clearly love.

Emporium Selection Manchego

Aldi has become well known for its affordable cheese selection both in its European stores and those within the United States. The reason Aldi can sell such good cheese at low prices is because they are sold as private label products, which dramatically limits costs. Despite their low price, shoppers in Aldi can rest assured they are getting the real deal when it comes to cheese. This is thanks to the grocery store stocking cheese that has geographic indications, an authenticity certification popular in Europe. This certification ensures a product is made in its traditional area using certain, protected practices.

Aldi's Emporium Selection Manchego is a perfect example of this. As a D.O.P. certified cheese, buyers know it has been made in a specific area of Spain known as La Mancha. Furthermore, the cheese is made from entirely Manchega breed sheep milk, and has been matured for at least 30 days. This puts it at odds with many other types of manchego found across the United States, including those made in Mexico. While sharing the same name, these cheeses often use different milk, maturing periods and even production processes. The end result is a starkly different cheese.

Wernesgrüner Pilsner

When it comes to alcoholic beverages, Aldi is typically celebrated for its wine. However, the supermarket also offers world class beer. A prime example is Wernesgrüner Pilsner, a light beer stocked by Aldi that was awarded an exceptional score of 92 out of 100 by the Beverage Tasting Institute. The beer is of such a high quality that it even excited cicerone Eric Sadovnick, who told Thrillist, "It's a really impressive beer, and I think it stands up to dozens if not most of the international pilsners that have flooded the global market from Germany." He added, "the malt and hops are so well balanced. It's true to type with a nice long finish and a depth of flavor. The aroma carries over to the flavor. It's an excellent beer to not get too fussy about and drink on its own or pair with light-bodied cured or raw cuisine."

Wernesgrüner Pilsner is the highest rated beer in Aldi's portfolio and should be top of the list for any beer-inclined shopper frequenting the store. A pack of four 19-ounce cans is sold for around $6 offering incredible value for money. By comparison, a six-pack of a name brand pilsner that received a similar score from the Beverage Tasting Institute costs close to double that.

Black Angus ribeye steak

Enduringly popular, steak is routinely enjoyed in restaurants and home kitchens around the United States. And in its 2022-23 Consumer Steak Report Linz Angus, one of America's foremost meat suppliers, found that the most popular of all steaks in America is the ribeye. In fact, 61% of respondents named this cut as their favorite. The same survey also found that 32% of Americans prefer their steak to come from the Angus breed of cows.

With this knowledge on hand, it is not difficult to see why Aldi sells a popular Black Angus Ribeye Steak. This robust cut embodies the main attribute of a classic, high-quality Angus ribeye in that it is well marbled, making it both flavorsome and juicy. As butcher Ray Rastelli, Jr. explained to Eat This, Not That!, "The ribeye is a classic go-to for steak lovers and is also one of my personal favorites ... What makes a ribeye so special is those beautiful white flecks throughout the steak. That's called marbling, which is intramuscular fat that breaks down while cooking and infuses the meat with unreal flavor." 


LaCroix took America by storm, nearly tripling its seltzer sales between 2009 and 2015. Of course, other brands have entered the market to compete with LaCroix's popularity – both big-name beverage companies and smaller niche brands have their own versions.

As one of the few named brands found inside Aldi, LaCroix offers new shoppers a taste of the familiar. The 12-packs come in popular flavors such as Key Lime and Razz-Cranberry. The grocery store has also gained a reputation for selling LaCroix at a competitive price, with the occasional special offer dropping the price to incredible lows.

Being Aldi, a private label alternative is sold in the form of PurAqua Belle Vie sparkling water. Offered in similar flavors, Belle Vie is a decent, cheaper alternative to LaCroix. As one Aldi shopper explained on Reddit, "At half the price of LaCroix, I think they are pretty good. I've only tried lime and grapefruit. I actually like the Belle Vie grapefruit a little better than Lacroix. The lime doesn't taste like much to me." However, it's clear LaCroix offers the most flavor of any seltzer stocked in Aldi. As a named brand at a good price, buying LaCroix in Aldi is a worthwhile choice.

Fresh strawberries

Fresh produce is a huge part of any grocery store and Aldi is no different. From eggplant to apples the store stocks a whole host of fruit and vegetables. However, it is the organic strawberries that have proved the most popular. The bright red berries were voted as the 2020 fan favorite "Produce Pick". One consumer highlighted why they liked them on Reddit, writing, "I get the majority of my berries from Aldi and especially the organic ones when available. Never had an issue. And yes!! The strawberries have been especially good."

USDA Organic certification ensures that Aldi's fresh strawberries are grown without the use of most synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Furthermore, annual inspections ensure standards are being maintained year after year. Finally, the effect farming has on the environment is also recorded and mitigated through analysis and control of factors including soil quality and pest control. All of this means that the quality of Aldi's fresh strawberries is all but guaranteed.

My/Mochi Ice Cream

Mochi-covered ice cream has been having a moment in the United States in recent years. One of the brands behind this sudden fame is My/Mochi, which is available in stores around the United States. With numerous flavors including horchata, mint chocolate chip, and cookies and cream, the small snacks – as low as 80 calorie per piece — have had great success. As Chief Marketing Officer Brigette Wolf explained, "My/Mochi has been at the forefront of making mochi accessible, fun, and easy for people to experience through its expansive ice cream offering, and now we have the runway to do so much more [...] I'm excited to really unlock the magic of mochi and bring this unique product to more people in more places."

One of these places is Aldi where you can find My/Mochi ice cream in an assortment of flavors. As one of the few named brands available in Aldi stores, My/Mochi are among the best desserts available on the shelves. And if this isn't reason enough to add them to your shopping cart, their fun textures and flavors should be.

Peaks & Tides Cabernet Sauvignon

Aldi's reputation for selling excellent wine at cheap prices is well established thanks to several affordable, award winning wines that the store has sold in the past. One of Aldi's red wine offerings, Peaks & Tides Cabernet Sauvignon, is only the continuation of this brilliant reputation. Awarded 89 points out of 100 by the Beverage Tasting Institute, Peaks & Tides is packed with punchy flavors of chocolate, dark fruit, and spice, all held within a juicy full body.

One happy customer on Vivino praised Peaks & Tides Cabernet Sauvignon, writing, "This is just commendable wine making, pure and simple. Juicy, with good structure and depth of flavor. There are cabs costing two to three times this that can learn a few things from this wine. Not an everyday drinker, but if I were my fridge would be stocked with this stuff." Retailing at around $12, a bottle, this Aldi wine is extremely well priced for a cabernet sauvignon, making it a must purchase for any shoppers who likes to enjoy a glass or two.

Specially Selected Ravioli

Another product voted an Aldi fan favorite is the Specially Selected range of ready-made ravioli. This product is offered in two flavors, Classic Five Cheese or Spinach and Mozzarella. These delicious pasta products can be easily transformed into a meal by cooking and serving in a broth. As Erica Mouch, RDN explained to Livestrong, "If you want a one-dish meal, you can cook fresh or frozen ravioli in broth. Cooking it in a sauce has the potential to make the sauce more gummy. When it comes to ​ravioli en brodo​ (ravioli in broth), the extra starch isn't a negative." Another idea is to toss the ravioli in pesto and serving alongside a side salad.

Different flavors of Specially Selected ravioli, such as shrimp and crab, are often available in the frozen section of the grocery store. The variety of options, along with the product's robust flavor and short preparation time makes Specially Selected Ravioli the perfect weeknight meal. Add it to your shopping basket and thank yourself when that hectic Wednesday rolls around.