Last week I got to go to Aldi's U.S. headquarters in Illinois. The visit was packed full with a tour of one of the newly made-over stores, an amazing lunch, a wine tasting, a peek at the test kitchen, and a blind taste test of Aldi items versus their name-brand counterparts. As a frequent Aldi shopper, I walked into this taste test with a ton of confidence — more confidence than I should have had, apparently.
Here's how I did.
Note: All name-brand pricing comes from Aldi and might not reflect prices in your area or online.
1. Kale Veggie Burgers
The test was between Dr. Praeger's Kale Burger (listed at $4.42) or Aldi's Earth Grown Kale Veggie Burger (for $3.59). I could not tell the difference between the two. Like, at all.
2. Sparkling Water
I drink a lot of LaCroix, but usually it's the regular stuff (grapefruit, please), so I wasn't sure how I'd do trying the Curate kind. Once again, I couldn't tell the difference between LaCroix Muré Pepino and Aldi's Belle Vie Bold Cucumber Blackberry. The name-brand stuff was marked as $4.25, while Aldi's version sells for $2.99.
Once again, I couldn't differentiate between Aldi's Simply Nature Juice ($2.99) and SmartJuice ($5.30). This was proving to be nearly impossible.
4. Organic Hummus
At last! I could taste a difference! One hummus had a distinctively better texture. We were told that one brand was Cedar's Organic Original Hummus ($3.99) and the other was Aldi's SimplyNature Organic Hummus ($2.29). I liked one so much better, so I figured it was the Cedar's brand. But I was wrong! The Aldi version was definitely the better one.
5. Protein Bars
Someone in the group said she was super sure that sample A was Aldi's Elevation Peanut Butter High Protein Bar ($5.99). The rest of us jumped on board with her. We were all wrong. It was actually Cliff Builders chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar ($7.50). I was happy to hear it, because I actually liked B the best — and that was Aldi's.
6. Gluten-Free Bagels
I wasn't sure which cinnamon raisin sample was Aldi's liveGfree Gluten Free Bagels ($3.99) or Udi's Gluten Free Bagels ($5.24). But then an exec started talking about how they hold regular tastings to check in on the quality of the products they buy time and time again. They want to make sure a cinnamon raisin bagel has enough raisins and the trail mix has enough macadamia nuts. With that info, I correctly guessed that the bagel with more raisins was the Aldi brand.
7. Maple Syrup
My test of Maple Grove Farms Organic Pure Maple Syrup ($5.98) versus SimplyNature Organic Pure Maple Syrup ($4.99) proved inconclusive. When execs made me pick, I guessed the name brand was the Aldi product. I was wrong!
8. Ice Cream
These samples looked very different, melted differently (sample A melted more slowly than sample B), and tasted very different. Knowing one was Halo Top ($4.18) and one was Aldi's Sundae Shoppe Low fat Ice Cream ($2.99), I guessed that the better-tasting one (the one on the left) was Halo Top. It was not! Aldi for the win ... again.
Aldi Versus Name-Brand Taste Test Results
I was stumped a few times and wrong the rest of the times, inspiring me to shop at Aldi even more than I already do. While a few cents here and there don't make a huge difference, the savings on these eight products add up to $10.14. On just eight items!
How do you think you would have done in this taste test?