Why You Should Never Buy Your Produce From Aldi

Aldi is amazing, that's one thing we can all agree on. For one thing, it's just such a fun place to shop. You never know just what you're going to find, but you can always count on getting high-quality chocolate, excellent cheeses, craveable snack items, and wines that range from just okay (but cheap) to pretty awesome. In fact, if you just stroll through the aisles grabbing things at random, you're still likely to wind up with a few new favorites. You also know that you're not going to be spending a fortune, since Aldi is known for its low, low prices, particularly on such staple items as milk and meat. Another great reason to shop at Aldi is that you'll run a lot less risk of being crowded out by ravening hordes of hipsters than you will at any given Trader Joe's.

Even Aldi, however, has just a few blind spots, or rather, soft and mushy spots, since the one area in which they tend to be not quite on the same level as other grocers is with their produce selection.

Aldi produce goes bad too soon

While most Aldi products get rave reviews, the produce... well, not so much. WiseBread singles out Aldi's garlic, calling its cloves both tiny and difficult to peel, and saying that the potatoes and other produce (including peppers, onions, and bananas) may not be all that fresh and could be well on its way towards turning into a moldy mess as soon as you bring it home. CheatSheet also lists produce as one of its top Aldi "don't buys," calling it hit or miss and also remarking on the fact that it tends to spoil more quickly than does produce from other stores.

In a comparison of Trader Joe's produce vs Aldi's, The Penny Hoarder didn't have too many good things to say about the German grocer's selection, either. For one thing, they found the selection to be limited, and several trips were needed to procure the wanted goods. Secondly, the site reveals, the offerings were "a tad scary looking — OK, REALLY scary looking. All the tomatoes were either bruised or smooshed, the bananas were already turning brown, and fruit flies were buzzing around the produce section." Aside from those two rather significant strikes, The Penny Hoarder also noted that because only bulk-sized bags of certain produce are offered, it's not a good buy for singles.

Is this why Aldi's produce gets a bad rap?

What's really up with all of the bad press on Aldi produce, though? Most of the bad reviews regarding Aldi's fresh fruits and veggies tend to revolve around its inability to stay fresh for any length of time, so it seems that the problem might possibly have something to do with how the produce is stored. 

One review on Consumer Affairs from a shopper who states that they are a huge fan of everything Aldi, aside from its produce department, suggests that one potential reason for the accelerated spoilage could be the fact that Aldi's produce tends to be placed right at the entrance to the store, and is therefore subject to temperature fluctuations (too cold in winter, too hot in summer) as the doors open and shut. Fluctuating temperatures are never good for product freshness, which is also the reasoning behind why you should not be storing your milk or eggs in the refrigerator door.

Aldi is taking steps to remedy the produce problem

A 2017 Business Insider article reveals that Aldi has been taking steps to address the produce problem in some of its newer stores. They will be greatly expanding the produce section, and also moving it to a more central location within the store, which ought to help keep temperatures more stable. There will also be a large refrigerated section that will be used to hold salad greens and certain fruits that need cooler temperatures, such as grapes and berries. These refrigerated sections will also feature certain types of premade soups and dips. Business Insider compared the look, the layout, and the selection of these newer Aldi stores to the 365 stores that Whole Foods introduced in 2016 (and killed off just two years later, according to Eater).

All of these changes bode well for the future of buying produce at Aldi. At present, though, unless you're absolutely sure that your local Aldi boasts one of these new and improved produce departments, you might be better off shopping for fruits and veggies at a different grocer.