Aldi Products You Didn't Know Changed Ingredients

Aldi is known for its store-brand snacks and meals. There are a lot of favorites out there, from imitation Girl Scout cookies to peanut butter cups that taste as good — if not better — than name brand Reese's. The fact that the chain produces its own products typically means these Aldi-branded items come at a better price, but it also means the chain is liable to change the ingredients and recipes on Aldi shoppers any time they wish.

Sometimes, that change is for the better, and either the nutrition label or the flavor profile gets a boost. Sometimes, the change is for the worse, and a previously tasty product is dulled down (true Aldi fans, as you can imagine, are not happy when this happens). And then there are the times when you might not have even noticed a change at all. 

One of the biggest changes Aldi has made to the ingredients of Aldi-branded foods happened in 2015. That year, Aldi altered products across the board to remove some synthetic colorings, MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils. The grocer didn't stop there, though, and changes are still regularly made — and in many cases the changes happen without any formal announcement. In fact, if it weren't for highly observant Aldi fans, many shoppers wouldn't even notice when things change.

Thankfully, there are plenty of observant Aldi fans calling changes out online. For better or for worse, these are the Aldi products that have changed ingredients over the years.

Aldi's Cheese Club Macaroni and Cheese

Aldi's imitation of Kraft Mac 'n Cheese is the Macaroni and Cheese Dinner from the grocery chain's Cheese Club brand. In 2017, the extensive, nearly exhaustive blog Aldi Reviewer gave the product a dismal review, calling it "rather plain," and that even putting pepper on it "doesn't remedy its underlying lack of taste." Additions, like more cheddar cheese, couldn't even save the food.

And then Aldi changed the recipe in 2018. Aldi Reviewer gave it a second chance and re-tried the simple and cheap box of dry noodles and flavored powder pack. The process to make it remained the same (cook the pasta and then add the sauce packet with some milk and butter), but the taste was "definitely better, with actual flavor, something that was altogether missing in the previous formulation." The salt increased by about 80 milligrams, the review notes, which is likely a big factor in the overall better taste.

Some fans enjoy the new mac 'n cheese, like one full-time college student who declared that it's "cheap and tastes amazing" (and at 49 cents, it's hard to argue with at least one of those proclamations). It hasn't won over everyone, however. The site Cheapism ranked it close to last in a boxed mac 'n cheese tasting in 2019, calling it "another buttery, bland, slightly mushy also-ran."

Aldi's Journey to India Tikka Masala

The Tikka Masala simmer sauce from Aldi's Journey to India brand once had passionate fans. And then the ingredients changed, taking it from a 70-calorie sauce to a 60-calorie sauce. Then it changed again to a 45-calorie sauce. Today, people lament the change, with one fan on the r/Aldi sub Reddit admitting they stocked up on the original version because, "No other jarred tikka masala sauce has even compared to the 70 cal Aldi sauce."

The people behind Aldi Reviewer got their hands on all three versions and decided to give them a try. All have the same label, but with different ingredients and ratios. The original 70-calorie sauce was the favorite because it has a "rich flavor, a medium heat, and it soaks in beautifully with chicken."

The 60-calorie one lacks coconut cream and garam masala, which makes it lower in fat and sodium but also lower in flavor. Finally, there's the 45-calorie sauce. The latest lists water as the first ingredient, and takes out the cayenne pepper as well as the coconut creme and garam masala that's in the 70-calorie version. That resulted in a big hit on the flavor, as you might imagine.

Fans in r/Aldi also lack enthusiasm for the change, with some saying the consistency is all wrong while others noted how the new sauce can't stand up to adding vegetables. One fan in the same thread perhaps put it best: "I'm so disappointed."

Aldi's Simply Nature Fruit Flavored Snacks

In 2019, an Aldi fan posted on Reddit that the fruit-flavored snacks from Simply Nature had changed. The difference was right there on the front of the box: First, the sodium went down by half, from 40 milligrams to 20 milligrams. The sugar also went up slightly, from 13 grams of total sugar to 15 grams. Perhaps the biggest change, however, is that "Made from organic fruit juice" was taken off of the box entirely.

The person who posted the comparison photo of the old and new fruit flavored snacks noted that the new version is "smaller and waxier." Another chimed in that the first ingredients went from pear juice to rice syrup, calling it "basically a different product with the same packaging."

Simply Nature's original product was a fan favorite. As one person put it on Reddit: "Hands down, the best fruit snacks I have ever had the pleasure of eating. They taste more like gummies. Hot d*mn are they good."

Those who prefer the original may still be in luck. While Instacart only lists the changed version, Aldi's website currently lists the fruit flavored snacks that had everyone from kids to adults to the young at heart eating fruit flavored gummies.

Aldi's German Sauerkraut

Aldi started in Germany, and in the United States, the company has a theme called "German Week" two times a year — once in March and once in September. It's a celebration of all foods from Germany as well as foods inspired by Germany. Aldi's house brand sells under the label Deutsche Kuche (which translates to "German cuisine").

The sauerkraut is one of those beloved products that make the rounds during German Week, but several Aldi customers found that the sauerkraut had a major change in 2019. In an early 2020 Reddit post, a fan noted that the sauerkraut label had switched from saying "Imported from Germany" to "Inspired by Germany." 

Where it was made wasn't the only thing that they noticed had changed. The "inspired by" sauerkraut has 440 milligrams of sodium versus 260 milligrams from the "imported from" version, and the new one had 5 fewer calories and added water. That's a lot of extra salt and water when compared to a product that many Aldi fans already knew and loved. The poster added that it "looks like it's generic 'hotdog sauerkraut in a bag' garbage that other stores sell."

Another fan posted on the blog Almost All Aldi that they noticed the switch as well, and that it is a switch for the worse.

Aldi's Reggano Marinara Sauce

The Journey to India Tikka Masala isn't the only sauce that Aldi has changed up recently. In February 2020, an Aldi fan posted on Reddit about their "first time getting burned by a recipe change." The offending product: Reggano Marinara sauce. The issue: Added sugars.

The new version has eight grams of sugar, which is three additional grams of sugar than it had before. There's also a side note that it comes from "added sugars" (meaning not naturally occurring from the ingredients). The original sauce's ingredients listed tomato puree first and foremost followed by diced tomatoes and 2 percent or less of seasonings like onion, garlic, and parsley. 

The new sauce also has the puree and diced tomatoes listed first, but that's where things change. Sugar and soybean oil follow next on the ingredients list before getting into all of the spices. It led another Aldi fan to post in the original photo of the change that "the last few jars I had were nasty and bland." Pre-made sauces can be on the simple side as long as there's the right balance of flavors between sweet, salty, and savory. The new formulation unfortunately appears to appeal more to those with a sweet tooth.

Aldi's Beer Mustard

Aldi's sauerkraut isn't the only product that changed in flavor when it shifted from being "imported from" to "inspired by." A keen-eyed fan on Reddit noticed that the beer mustard made a big switch in its ingredients.

The original beer mustard had the certification that it had been imported from Austria. Its ingredients listed beer first and foremost (34 percent), followed by water, mustard flour, vinegar, apple juice from concentrate, sugar, salt, and finally caramel sugar syrup. The type of beer isn't listed, but in general, malty beers that aren't too hoppy are best, according to CraftBeering. The new one loses its namesake ingredient: beer. In the new recipe, the ingredients, in order, are water, mustard seed, distilled vinegar, sugar, natural beer flavor, salt, apple juice from concentrate, and caramel for color. It doesn't specify what "natural beer flavor" is. 

People who tried the beer mustard (or in the new case, the beer-flavored mustard) noted that it has a strange sweet taste to it in the comments to the Reddit post on the change. The original inspired people to lament when the special, limited-time sales period ended every year. The verdict is still out on whether the new beerless beer mustard can do the same.

Aldi's Simply Nature Ketchup

Aldi has more than one brand of ketchup. Burman's is one popular option — and one that is widely considered as good or better than the name brand ketchups — while Simply Nature, which makes a number of different Aldi products, is the other. The latter was a decent ketchup, judging from previous reviews, but the ingredients were altered around 2018, according to a fan on Reddit who noticed the change with no shortage of dismay.

The original bottle had a long neck, similar to Hunt's ketchup, while the new one tends to be more stubby (and, notably, has a "non-GMO" tag on the label). The person who noticed the difference noted that the "old style ketchup is a little more vinegary than the new one," which makes "the new one taste a little sweeter/richer than the old one." They also added that the difference is subtle, and you can only notice that the new one "is a little sweeter" if you taste them side by side. 

Still, Aldi experts tend to have a favorable opinion of Simply Nature's ketchup. On a 2019 Aldi Reviewer post about ketchup, the Simply Nature version was rated as the best choice for people who "want a ketchup that does not have high fructose corn syrup." Whether or not you notice a difference could very well depend on whether you prefer your fries dipped in something sweet or something a little more on the sour side.

Aldi's Countryside Creamery Homestyle Spread

This one might be a stickler for people who prefer margarine over butter (and for those who don't know, butter comes from dairy whereas margarine comes from plant oils). Aldi's Countryside Creamery Homestyle Spread switched recipes (and container shapes) in 2018, as Mouse Print noted.

It started with price changes in the year that the blog writer was purchasing the product. First it went from $1.79, then to $1.99, and then to $2.29. With the last switch, it also went from a cylinder tub to a rectangular tub. The ingredient change was no less dramatic: According to photos from Mouse Print, they cut the amount of oil in the product by over 10 percent, from 51 percent to 40 percent. Whereas oil was the primary ingredient before, the new version listed water as the primary ingredient.

The previous version, as Aldi Reviewer notes, was comparable in flavor and ingredients to Country Crock. It also carried the overly long name of Countryside Creamery Country Recipe Homestyle Spread With Hydrogenated Oils. We'll see if this new version gets reviews that are just as positive.

Aldi's Choceur Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Aldi's Choceur Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups have some passionate fans. The candy is similar to Reese's, though some say Aldi's version is even better thanks to a creamier and more plentiful filling. The recipe and ingredients are obviously a big part of why Aldi is able to punch above its weight and compete with Reese's — the most popular Halloween candy of 2019, according to USA Today — in terms of flavor. 

It wasn't always such a sought-after candy compared to the name brand, however. Aldi Reviewer first tried the product in 2018 and found it fine but not quite as good as a Reese's. The recipe changed in 2019, however, and the Aldi reviewers changed their tune. In a word, the Choceur Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups are "sensational." It can be worrying when a beloved Aldi food undergoes an ingredients change because you never know if it'll be an improvement or a downgrade. Thankfully, these fall squarely into the improved category.

Though it should be noted that as of October 2020, Aldi has once again toyed with the peanut butter cup recipe, and now each is individually wrapped in foil. Still, even through all of the recipe and ingredient changes, these peanut butter cups have remained a must-buy Aldi snack food.

Aldi's Tuscan Garden Large Black Olives

Aldi's canned black olives underwent a recent change in both appearance and substance. The ardent observer may have noticed right away that the old cans had silver tops while the newer cans have copper tops. And while the older version of Tuscan Garden Large Black Olives were non-GMO certified and from the United States, the new version is not certified and is a product of Greece (interestingly, neither version comes from Tuscany or even Italy, which grows the second most olives in the world).

When Aldi Reviewer tested the new olives out, they found the older version to have more flavor, a better salt level, and a thinner skin versus the less flavorful and chewier new olives. However, the company that makes the Greek olives reached out and told Aldi Reviewer that it was a bad batch. 

"I'm reaching out because I believe you may have gotten one of the first loads that arrived to ALDI of this new item from Greek olives, which were a bit lower in salt," the company statement said. "Since this point, the item has been adjusted accordingly and I believe it will better align with your taste preferences and hopefully perform well in a side by side sampling."

On second tasting, the revamped Tuscan Garden Large Black Olives stood up to the flavor profile of the original. Change isn't always easy, but thankfully for olive fans, the olives you'll get at Aldi are pretty tasty.

Aldi's Appetitos Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Sometimes the simplest of foods are also the easiest to get wrong. Take mozzarella sticks, which, at their most basic, are just breaded and fried cheese. When done right, it's the perfect quick snack. When done wrong, it's a mess of fat, grease, and leaking cheese. Aldi's version, the Appetitos Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, has generally good reviews, with some even saying they're "either identical to the TGI Fridays frozen breadsticks or are a very good knockoff."

It wasn't always this way, though. In 2018, Aldi Reviewer wrote that they couldn't recommend the cheese sticks because there wasn't enough cheese and too much breading. Aldi switched up the ingredients, however, and they became something worth seeking out thanks to a crispy exterior and much more cheese than the previous version.

While making the cheese sticks even cheesier than they were doesn't exactly help in the health department, it does make for better snacking. After all, if you're reaching for something with "cheese" in the name, you no doubt want something that is cheesy.