Walmart vs. ALDI: Who wins?

walmart                 aldi-logo

UPDATE: Please submit your own price lists! I would especially love to see what the prices are like on these items at Save-a-Lot, since it operates on a very similar business model to ALDI. I would also like to see how Kroger compares since they usually have good prices and are the second-largest grocer in America after Walmart in terms of sales. Please take note of the sizes given for all items and remember to compare store brand, not name brands, so this will be a true apples-to-apples comparison. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you can send your list to me by private message. Otherwise, email it to me at jatbankson-at-gmail-dot-com. Thanks!

Not long ago, a friend on Facebook asked for her friends’ opinions of ALDI. Most of the comments, including mine, mentioned how much people liked ALDI’s low prices, gave recommendations on certain items, and offered other tips. One commenter, however, could not find enough bad things to say about ALDI. He said that he always saved at least twelve dollars per cart of groceries (or something like that, I can’t find the particular post now!) at Walmart over ALDI. I was a bit incredulous, since a Walmart Neighborhood Market had recently opened nearby, and I was underwhelmed by their prices. The ALDI-hater in the discussion turned out to be a Walmart manager, which only added to my incredulity.

I decided to check things out for myself.

THE LIST

I put together a shopping list of common grocery items. I did not include things such as meat and eggs since those prices are so volatile. And, since ALDI by nature is virtually store-brand-only in what they offer (with a few exceptions, such as Coke products), I decided to price only store-brand items at each store I would visit. I compared items of identical size. In some instances, the weights were not exactly the same (such as with some of the coffees). In those cases I divided the total price by the weight of the item to get a unit price.

THE STORES

I visited ALDI, Walmart Neighborhood Market, Walmart SuperCenter, and Publix. All four locations are in the same ZIP code: I know from experience that Walmart’s prices can vary even within the same city, so I wanted the stores to be as close together as possible. I was going to add Trader Joe’s to the mix, but the sizes of items did not match up well enough to get a fair comparison.

THE RESULTS

I went to ALDI first, then to Publix. I knew that Publix would cost more, but there were a few items that were very similar in price to ALDI (such as the cookies and the animal crackers). Next on my list was Walmart Neighborhood Market. As I started recording the prices at Neighborhood Market, I saw that almost all of them were higher than the prices at ALDI. “Well, maybe that’s because it is Neighborhood Market,” I thought. “Maybe Walmart Super Center will have lower prices than Neighborhood Market. After all, they promise that if we shop at Walmart, we will save money and live better, right?”

Wrong. Walmart SuperCenter’s prices were exactly the same as Walmart Neighborhood Market’s prices, with one exception. For some reason, the lowest-priced store-brand coffee was four cents less at Neighborhood Market than at SuperCenter. One item, the chocolate sandwich cookies (similar to Oreos), cost fifty cents more at Neighborhood Market than at ALDI, plus it weighed an ounce less, making it the worst buy at all four stores. Furthermore, both Walmart SuperCenter and Walmart Neigborhood Market had much higher prices on milk than either Publix or ALDI.

THE STATS

Of the 21 items priced, ALDI had the lowest price on 18 of them and had the lowest price overall. Walmart SuperCenter and Walmart Neighborhood market tied for the lowest price on only 3 of the 21 items and tied for the highest price on one item (milk). Additionally, Walmart Neighborhood Market had the highest price on one other item (the chocolate sandwich cookies). Publix had the highest price on all the items except for the chocolate sandwich cookies and the milk. ALDI did not have the highest price on any item and was the clear “low price leader” overall.

A representative cart of groceries at ALDI would cost $37.53. The equivalent cart of groceries would be $43.18 at Walmart Neighborhood Market ($5.65 more than ALDI), $43.22 at Walmart SuperCenter ($5.69 more than ALDI), and $50.08 at Publix ($12.55 more than ALDI). If this were a week’s groceries, annual savings from shopping at ALDI would be $293.80 vs. Walmart Neighborhood Market, $295.88 vs. Walmart SuperCenter, and $652.60 vs. Pulbix! After seeing these figures, it is highly unlikely that anyone could save any money at all on groceries by shopping at Walmart instead of ALDI, and certainly not $12 on a cart of groceries!

The details are included in the following table:

Item

ALDI

WM Super Center

WM Neighborhood Mkt.

Publix

Toasted Oat Cereal, 14 oz

2.19

2.24

2.24

2.39

Coffee, premium*

3.99 (12
oz)

3.98
(11.3 oz)

3.98
(11.3 oz)

4.59
(11.5 oz)

Coffee, bargain*

2.79
(11.3 oz)

2.98
(11.3 oz)

2.94
(11.3 oz)

3.59
(11.5 oz)

Peanut butter, 18 oz

1.49

2.18

2.18

2.39

Grape jelly, 32 oz

1.59

1.72

1.72

2.19

Animal Crackers

1.49 (13
oz box)

1.48 (16
oz bag)***

1.48 (16
oz bag)***

1.50 (12
oz box)

Chocolate sandwich cookies, 15.35 oz

1.49

1.98

1.98
(only 14.3 oz)

1.50

Black beans, 15.5 oz,  x 2

1.18 (.59
ea.)

1.44 (.72
ea.)

1.44 (.72
ea.)

1.90 (.95
ea.)

Green beans, 14.5 oz,  x 2

0.98 (.49
ea.)

1.36 (.68
ea.)

1.36 (.68
ea.)

1.60 (.80
ea.)

Whole-kernel corn, 15.25 oz,  x 2

0.98 (.49
ea.)

1.36 (.68
ea.)

1.36 (.68
ea.)

1.60 (.80
ea.)

Pineapple chunks in juice, 20 oz

0.99

1.16

1.16

1.39

Taco seasoning, 1 oz, x 2

0.70 (.35
ea.)

1.10 (.55
ea.)

1.10 (.55
ea.)

1.58 (.79
ea.)

Chili seasoning, 1.25 oz,  x 2

0.98 (.49
ea.)

1.48 (.74
ea.)

1.48 (.74
ea.)

1.98 (.99
ea.)

Yogurt, blended, 6 oz, x 6

2.34 (.39
ea.)

1.82 for
a 6-pack

1.82 for
a 6-pack

3.00 (.50
ea.)

Whole milk, 1 gal

2.99

3.95

3.95

3.55

White bread, 20 oz

0.85

1.18

1.18

1.99

Cheddar cheese, 8 oz

1.89

2.32

2.32

2.50

Spaghetti, 2 lb

1.45

1.97

1.97

2.67

Dish liquid, 24 oz

1.89

1.97

1.97

2.19

Laundry detergent, 50 oz (32 loads)

2.99

2.87**

2.87**

2.99

Soft drinks, 12-pack

2.29

2.68

2.68

2.99

TOTAL

37.53

43.22

43.18

50.08

All products are store brand. Compared equivalent sizes. All three stores in the same ZIP code. Tax not included.

*Each store has a “value priced” store-brand coffee as well as a “premium” store-brand coffee.

**Did not have a store-brand detergent. Price shown is the lowest-priced national brand at that store (Arm & Hammer).

***Did not have a store-brand animal cracker. Price shown is for Stauffer’s in a 16-oz bag.

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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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One Response to Walmart vs. ALDI: Who wins?

  1. Pingback: Walmart vs. ALDI, Part II | Know Tea

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