Breakfast at Aldi's: Way Cheaper Than Their Publix Competitor

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I don't like grocery shopping.

While I will be the first to admit I love food, I will also admit I don't like buying it.

I've caught myself standing in the pasta aisle, comparing the deals between store brands and name brands, wondering if my coupon for Kraft macaroni and cheese makes it less than the Publix alternative. This has gone on multiple times, even in the same visit. I normally take a nap afterwards. Grocery shopping is exhausting.

So when an unknown store made its way to my neighborhood, I was sort of intrigued. Aldi - a German grocery chain - opened up their Deerfield Beach store in November and doesn't carry name brands. This actually scared me. If it's not 'Kraft' macaroni and cheese, I thought, then it's not really worth putting in a blue box.

Aldi's has opened three locations in Broward and a store manager who requested his name not be used says they plan to open nearly a dozen more in South Florida - Palm Beach County included - before the year is over. But are they even a threat to Publix, their pleasure-shopping competitors across the street? I spent an afternoon at both stores looking to find out.

At Aldi's, a cart costs you a quarter for your entire visit in the store. "It saves on labor," the store manager told me. "You put your quarter in the cart when you start, and take it out when you return it." Meaning, those who would normally be fetching carts in the parking lot are employees helping customers inside the store.

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Dori Zinn
The store is smaller than its competitor. The shelves aren't very high or deep with items. It's not as bright as Publix. It's even quieter. It still feels like the chain bookstore it served as before the revamp last year. Really, though, it's not all about the look.

In my quest to discover a genuine price difference, I made a list of the exact items I would make for a meal. For this experiment, I'm comparing prices for a Sunday breakfast to feed a family of four. See my complete price comparison here.

"Most people see a drastic price change in their produce and essential grocery products," the manager told me. He's not wrong, either. A gallon of milk at Aldi's costs $1.99. The Publix store brand costs $3.39. Name brand McArthur costs $5.49. So is there really a difference in the actual product?

"We use some of the same distributors our competitors use," he said. "Tyson and Kraft are a couple of our main ones."

Ah. So my blue box is safe.

I checked the ingredients on a 32 oz. box of pancake mix. Aldi's Aunt Maple's mix costs $1.39, while Publix sold Aunt Jemima - also 32 oz. - for $2.59. Same ingredients, just less money.

Even a pound of bacon was more than double the price at Publix. Oscar Mayer charges $6.39 while Aldi's Appleton Farms sold it for $2.69. A 34.5 oz carton of coffee costs $4.99 with the new guys while Maxwell House is charging $11.89. One of the hardest realizations to accept is that Aldi's offers one or two choices per product. Publix can offer as many as four or five. Lessening the choices in turn lessened the grocery shopping headache.

My total breakfast at Aldi's was $46.83. That's roughly $11 a person. At Publix, I gathered prices for name brands and store brands, totaling $90.16 for the same products. Even with the store brand prices, I would still pay more than $40 more at Publix. Click here for the complete price comparison.

While Publix offers convenience (they do have an iPhone app, you know), Sunday's breakfast will come from Aldi's, where it's a pleasure to spend less money.


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15 comments
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Chauncey Phelps
Chauncey Phelps

I'm thankful that there are still people who are willing to pay 30% more just for "customer service". That means way fewer people that I have to deal with when I go to Aldi.

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online coupons

Well to provide food at cheaper rate always attract customers. But remember that their should not be any compromise on quality.

American
American

PUBLIX EMPLOYS LOTS OF PEOPLE WHO SPEND MONEY IN OUR COMMUNITIES. quater for a cart to save payroll. Send profits to Germany. NOT ME. LOOK AT HOW PUBLIX SUPPORTS CHARITIES. LOOK AT PUBLIX DELI, BAKERY, SECOND TO NONE. BETTER WISE UP FOLKS. DO THE RIGHT THING, SHOP AT PUBLIX

Dori Zinn
Dori Zinn

Sorry, Dennis. Since I don't have $150 to spend on research, I don't have receipts for you. Spending an afternoon at these grocery stores discovering the price difference doesn't seem to be enough for you. I apologize. However, you can take a chance there yourself if you don't want to take my word for it. You don't seem to think there is much to lose, do you?

Muffinmanmania: I completely agree about the service. Publix does thrive on their "where shopping is a pleasure" stance. However, I've had plenty of bad experiences with Publix Customer Service. Some employees are just not capable of being friendly, respectable, and/or go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction. That's okay, I guess, as long as you're not working for a place that encourages it.

Their BOGO free options are great, but not always what I'm going to be eating that week. Publix is bright, shinny, and really, it is about the experience sometimes. But I'm looking at the all-around savings here. If I'm going to save $40 on one meal and the experience is great, what is stopping me from going back? I've gone a few times and have yet to be disappointed. And if they're set to open a dozen more stores in South Florida alone, maybe this is showing you that they aren't so bad after all.

Dennis
Dennis

Then you should have done an honest article without creating a bogus story about a sunday meal. You have a month of breakfasts in your shopping cart. Its just not an honest comparison.

Dori Zinn
Dori Zinn

I don't believe it was dishonest. I said it was an experiment, and I compared prices.

Dennis
Dennis

I have the proof. You even lied about the ingredients matching. What a disgrace.

Dennis
Dennis

Losers hide behind a bogus screen name (and isn't it funny how it's the college kids and other poor people who always call people losers?)

She padded the pricing by buying 4 times what she needed, and by buying overpriced items at Publix. So instead of saving $2 per person for a meal, she's claiming $11. It's hack journalism. I think I'll do fact check article on this. Is Oscar Meyer really the least expensive bacon at Publix? Do Aunt Mable's and Aunt Jemima really have the same ingredients? How much would it cost me to buy what Dori bought at Publix? Should be interesting.

JstSayin
JstSayin

Regardless of the amount of food she bought, the quantities were the same for both stores.Dennis, you're a loser, but i expect you already know this.

Dennis
Dennis

Well then you have no chance of getting better at what you do. It's not honest to say you're going to make 10lbs of potatoes for a single meal. Why just enough for home fries? Why did you buy the 34oz coffee can? Why a pound of bacon? You're not going to make bagels and toast and biscuits and cinnamon rolls cheese omelets and pancakes. And a quart of jelly. And then claiming its $11 savings per person. Its just ridiculous.

Its very easy to point out the savings without making up some fantasy feast for the Miami Dolphins defensive line.

Dennis
Dennis

a month of sunday breakfasts that is...

Muffinmanmania
Muffinmanmania

You pay to rent a cart? Wow! The big part you left out of here was service. You get that at a Publix, and you get knowledgeable staff that are there to help you in every department. I could shop at a cheap place and get more items of possibly questionable quality and have to search hi and low for assistance if I can get any, or go to Publix and get treated better that I get treated anywhere else. It's not all about money it's the entire shopping experience, even on a tight budget.( By the way did you happen to see all of the items they have a buy one get one free?)

Dennis
Dennis

Its just a rental for the cart. You get your quarter back when you bring back the cart.

Dennis
Dennis

Did ALDI really charge you 6% tax on your food, Dori? You didn't actually buy or eat any of that stuff, now did you? Otherwise you would have used an actual receipt. In which case the tax would be almost nothing since its all food.

This would have been a good idea for an article if you did it right. No family will eat half of the stuff on your list. And throwing stuff out or ticking off your kids is very expensive.

Snchkllr
Snchkllr

Around my house, we buy a pound of bacon and use 1/4 of it and put the rest in the fridge. We don't throw it out. If you don't like a product, you pay more for what you like. It's that simple. I like different brand of coffee, so I wouldn't buy mine at Aldi. If you don't like the calculation of sales tax, just compare the sub-total. That easy enough for you?I don't like the fact that you rent a cart and eliminate jobs, but I do like the fact of saving money on campatible items...the brand names I have to have, I can buy seperatley at the Publix in my neighborhood. If I can reduce my $300 per week grocery bill by $50-$70 I will do it, and I certainly plan to investigate this. Maybe Dennis is a Publix manager??

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