5 groceries that are cheaper at Aldi than Trader Joe's

Source: Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

If you're shopping at Trader Joe's to score the best prices, chances are, you're getting a pretty good deal. But there are several everyday items you may be surprised to find are cheaper at Aldi.

"Aldi, happily, has a lot of good quality, good-tasting products at good prices," John Karolefski, grocery store analyst and editor of Grocery Stories, tells CNBC Make It. "It's one of the reasons they've been so successful in the U.S."

Part of the secret to the store's low prices is that the vast majority of their products are private label, so you're not paying for the marketing and advertising that many brands use to attract customers.

It's a strategy similar to the one used by Trader Joe's, but Aldi is able to beat their prices because it also takes a stripped-down approach in its stores. There are few frills: Products are shelved in the shipping boxes they arrived in, there are fewer employees around the store to help customers, you need to bring and bag your own groceries and you rent your shopping cart for a quarter to ensure you bring it back.

It's worth noting that Aldi U.S. and Trader Joe's are independently operated companies with distinct but once-related corporate parents. It could be said that Aldi and Trader Joe's are "estranged cousins."

Next time you're heading to the grocery store, here are five items to try purchasing from Aldi to save a bit more on your grocery budget.

Basic cheeses

Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

When you're looking for a block of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Swiss or Mozzarella, head to Aldi. The grocery chain sells 8-ounce blocks of its Happy Farms brand of cheeses for just $1.99.

Shredded cheeses are also a steal here — a 16-ounce package of shredded Mozzarella is $3.29 at Aldi, compared to $3.79 at Trader Joe's. Mild Cheddar is also less at Aldi, as are organic shredded cheeses.

Aldi also sells a variety of specialty cheeses as well, such as English Cheddar and white Stilton with mango and ginger, but the prices and availability can vary. Trader Joe's offers a wider selection, particularly for imported cheeses.


Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

While Trader Joe's has a great selection of cereals, Aldi also offers a broad selection of organic and traditional cereals —and beats out the competition on price, according to a comparison by CNBC Make It of Northern New Jersey stores.

If you love your "Joe's O's" from Trader Joe's that sell for $1.99 for a 15-ounce box, then you may be surprised to learn that the company's take on Cheerios is not the cheapest price in town. Aldi sells a smaller box, 12 ounces, for $1.49, which ends up being slightly cheaper on the price per ounce. There's an even price gap on the honey nut variety and rice crisp cereal.

For organic options, Aldi's SimplyNature oats and honey granola cereal sells for $2.99 for a 15.5-ounce box. Trader Joe's similar organic Honey Crunch N' Oats is priced at $3.49 for a 14-ounce package.


Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

When it comes to fresh, frozen, sustainable or traditional meat options, Aldi beats Trader Joe's on price. Fresh boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $2.29 per pound at Aldi, as opposed to $2.69 per pound at Trader Joe's. Aldi undercuts Trader Joe's by 20 cents per pound on the organic variety as well.

On ground beef, Aldi sells its 85/15 for $3.69 per pound and a 16-ounce package of organic grass-fed ground beef for $5.29. Trader Joe's ground beef will set shoppers back $5.49 per pound for the 85/15 grade and $5.99 for a similarly sized package of organic.

Nut butters

Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

Aldi not only narrowly beats Trader Joe's on price when it comes to peanut butter, but the low-cost German grocer also has a wider selection. Aldi offers traditional, natural and organic peanut butter varieties (available in both creamy and crunchy smoothness) starting at $1.79 for a 16-ounce jar of the basic creamy.

When it comes to almond butter, Aldi sells a non-GMO variety under its SimplyNature brand for $4.89 for a 12-ounce jar. Trader Joe's sells a 16-ounce jar of creamy almond butter (salted or unsalted) for $5.99. That's slightly cheaper when comparing the price per ounce, but the Aldi version is a higher quality.


Trader Joe's sells a wide variety of pasta, including organic and gluten-free options.
Megan Leonhardt | CNBC

Until recently, Trader Joe's was the place to shop if you wanted affordable, quality pasta. Not only does the California-based chain offer 99 cent packages of basic pastas such as spaghetti, farfalle, rigatoni and macaroni, but it also has one of the widest selections of organic and gluten-free options.

But Aldi is catching up on that range of options, and at slightly better prices. Organic whole wheat spaghetti is $1.09 for a 16-ounce package at Aldi, compared to $1.49 at Trader Joe's. Aldi sells its regular spaghetti in a 32-ounce package for $1.98, making it slightly cheaper than Trader Joe's when comparing price per ounce.

"The best place you can buy organics, and they're continuing to roll out even more, is probably Aldi," agrees Phil Lempert, food industry analyst and editor of SupermarketGuru.

Aldi also sells gluten-free brown rice spaghetti at $1.89 for a 16-ounce package, while a 16-ounce bag of brown rice quinoa fusilli and penne is $2.89.

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