Regular Mommysavers readers know that I’ve been and ALDI fan for a long time. I was originally lured in to their store by the low prices, but I stuck around because of the high quality. After visiting their headquarters and store in Batavia Illinois last week, I’m a SUPER FAN! Here’s a recap of the events and what I learned.
Switch and Save in the ALDI Test Kitchen
During our stay I participated in a fun ALDI Switch-and-Save event with several other bloggers. We compared ALDI products with their name-brand competitors in a blind taste test. In almost all of the cases, I could either not tell a difference or preferred the ALDI product. Honestly, I was surprised. I thought ALDI food was good, but I didn’t realize I’d prefer it to more expensive brands!
The ALDI test kitchen is meticulous about developing products that meet or exceed the standards set by national brands. Their products undergo third party testing before being introduced to the marketplace. ALDI is so confident you’ll like their products, they offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t.
Holiday ALDI Holiday Tasting and Food Styling by Janice Stahl
A fun part of our evening was the ALDI holiday tasting event. The experts in the ALDI test kitchen served up some gourmet-quality dishes, including Party Poppers as a starter, Roasted Turkey Breast with Pumpkin Sage Gravy, Individual Au Gratin Potatoes and Gooey Caramel Pumpkin Cake (view all of our ALDI recipes).Food stylist Janice Stahl gave us tips on how to prepare elegant table settings on a minimal budget. Janice has been working as a caterer and food stylist for many years, and loves ALDI foods. She uses them in almost all her jobs! Her tips include:
- Use white plates and linens for simplicity. They go with any occasion!
- Experiment with textures, shapes and colors to add visual interest to the table. Berries add an elegant touch without breaking the bank.
- Deconstruct prepared foods like pies and place them in clear glass cups, which is very on-trend this season.
- Glass hurricanes are great for table centerpieces. Fill with fruits, candies, nuts or seasonal decorations.
- When people ask what to bring, have an answer prepared! Include that in your planning process. Easiest for guests to bring? Appetizers and desserts.
ALDI Store Tour
For me, the store tour was the most informative part of our ALDI experience. It really helped me understand how ALDI can offer low prices by cutting costs everywhere in their logistical process without compromising quality. ALDI regional VP Scott Patton lead the tour, explaining how products are selected, items are shelved, and even how the cashiers can check out customers so quickly (for more information on those things visit the links below). Because all these processes have been streamlined, ALDI runs a very tight ship and can pass along their savings to the customer.
Related Store Tour Reading
- How to read ALDI store labels and tags
- Ever wondered how the cashiers at ALDI can check out customers so quickly?
- How can ALDI offer such low prices?
- All about ALDI produce
Back at ALDI headquarters, the bloggers went head-to-head in a guacamole making competition. This was especially fun for me, since Top Chef is one of my favorite shows (this was the closest thing to participating in a “quick fire” competition I’ll ever get). I created a BLT version with bacon, lettuce, and tomato adding flavor and flair. I thought it was delicious, but sadly it didn’t win. :(
After all the action, we departed for the airport with full stomachs, new friends, and an overwhelming desire to hit ALDI as soon as we got home. Thanks, ALDI!
DISCLOSURE: ALDI sponsored my trip to this event. All opinions are my own and unedited by the sponsor. Have questions about ALDI? Post them in this discussion thread: Questions about ALDI and I’ll answer them personally.