The Brand Behind Aldi's Fan-Favorite Tuscan Garden Salad Dressings

Aldi customers like shopping there because the stores carry many products that look and taste like big-name brands. Whether it's a dupe of the delicious Pirate's Booty white cheddar puffs or, in this case, a salad dressing that is a complete Olive Garden copycat, Aldi's private brands are often able to get you a product close to the real thing, and at a lower price.

Tuscan Garden is commonly featured on Aldi shelves, particularly in the salad fixings department. Produced and distributed by TreeHouse Foods, its lineup of salad dressings includes the aforementioned Italian variety that perfectly mimics Olive Garden, plus buttermilk ranch, Thousand Island, honey mustard, classic Caesar salad dressing, and more. The Olive Garden Italian copycat shows up in its restaurant-style line, which also includes Mediterranean and Asian Sesame varieties.

TreeHouse also produces other fixings like giardiniera, olives, and croutons. Basically, if it goes on a salad, it seems that TreeHouse wants to make sure you can find it at Aldi.

A major store brand supplier

Though TreeHouse's Tuscan Garden label may be among the most recognized by Aldi shoppers, the German-based retailer isn't the only grocery chain for which the company produces store-brand merchandise. Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, it makes products for literally dozens of grocery chains, including Albertson's, Kroger, and Costco. Walmart and Trader Joe's are also on TreeHouse's client roster, and it packages items for Whole Foods' 365 label, too. By some estimations, it was, at least at one point in time, literally the largest supplier of in-store brands in the United States.

Like many companies, TreeHouse also grappled with supply chain issues during the pandemic, which, combined with a few strategic missteps, led to the company taking a pretty big hit financially. In August 2022, the company divested a large share of its meal preparation business to focus more on beverages and snack foods. As Food Business News noted, the lines of "Tree House Foods' meal preparation portfolio" that were sold comprised not just preserves, pastas, "dry dinners," syrups, sauces, and pita chips but also "pourable dressings," and "spoonable dressings." The interests were sold to a European private equity firm for $950 million.

A bit of controversy

In September of 2022, TreeHouse Foods and Aldi found themselves at the center of a controversy when bottles labeled for its Tuscan salad dressing were found to contain its Asian Sesame dressing (via Miami Herald). At first, it sounds like a harmless mistake, but when you consider potential food allergies, it has potentially grave health consequences for consumers.

"People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to soy or wheat run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume this product," read a statement from TreeHouse after the mistake was discovered. Thousands of bottles were voluntarily and quickly recalled from sale with Aldi's cooperation.

Though certainly alarming, there were no reports of anyone made sick by the mislabeled dressing, and it only seemed to extend to a single batch of Tuscan Garden. Coincidentally enough, TreeHouse wasn't the only salad dressing producer to issue a recall that autumn. Also in September of 2022, Van Law Foods, which similarly makes products for Whole Foods' 365 label, issued a recall for its Creamy Caesar Dressing. Like Tuscan Garden, it was also unintentionally contaminated with wheat and soy.