Mega-discount foodstore Aldi is one of America’s best-kept secrets… but not for long!
That was the response by a longtime friend, a native New Yorker, when I excitedly expressed I’d be cutting short our time together so that I can make it to Aldi’s before it closed.
For many New Yorkers unfamiliar with the store’s name, Aldi Food Market is one of America’s best-kept secrets.
My friend might have never heard of the store, but I knew all about it: As a child growing up in the 70s in Chicago, Aldi Food Market was the only place to shop when you were very poor and still needed to feed your family. The no-frills, warehouse-style German grocery store with aluminum shelves of discounted food was responsible for my family not going hungry, when my mother had only $25 to spend on two weeks of groceries (for example, 8 cans of peas for $1). But what I remember most fondly was the gigantic box of fruit-flavored icy pops she would sometimes buy (50 icy pops for $1)
However, the store, once ubiquitous in the midwestern states in the 70s and 80s, eventually faded into anonymity. But now, the life-saving food chain has been reborn! And this time, with an entirely new attitude! The store chain, which was founded in 1946 by the Albrecht family of Germany, is now taking notes from its sister stores, Trader Joe’s, also owned by the Albrecht family.
The food products still are offered at extremely deep discounts, but have been updated to include an array of imported, gluten-free, GMO-free and organic brands similar to what you would find in Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or at your local food co-op! The store still carries some of the more familiar brands you love, alongside its own brand– Millville — at pretty much half the price.
A taste test will prove that the name-brand and the similar Aldi-brand products taste virtually identical.
For example, a box of General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios for $3.59 is offered by Aldi’s Millville brand for $1.49. You also can find specialty cheeses, nuts, dried fruits, imported chocolate and cookies at ridiculous discounts, while their fresh, organic, farm-raised meats rival the prices of GMO-fed brands at your local grocery store. They offer fresh GMO-free produce, and there’s even an aisle devoted to home goods.
New York City boasts seven Aldi’s– the first one opened in Queens in 2011. There’s one in Manhattan on 117th St., three in the Bronx and two in Brooklyn–a store that opened in spring 2014 at Gateway Center in East New York and another on Nostrand Avenue in Sheepshead Bay. Plans are afoot to boost the number of stores in New York by 33 percent by the end of 2018.