June Grocery Haul Challenge

June Grocery Haul #1: My Week’s Worth Of Groceries At Aldi

By Thursday, June 03, 2021

For the month of June, we’re tracking what a week’s worth of groceries looks like from four major market chains.  Every week, we’ll highlight one shopper’s food haul from a different nationwide grocer (including their receipts)! At the end of the month, we’ll do a store round-up, weighing in on the outcome of overall price vs. purchases., per store. Be sure to check out all recaps here!

**Prices for this haul include vegan and non-vegan options and price differences for both.

As more people become interested in exploring veganism or simply just incorporating more veggies into their diet (e.g. one plant-based meal a day / week), vegan items, in general, have become more widely available. The trend of traditional grocery stores selling, creating and expanding their food options based on varying dietary preferences allows for the exploration of these products to be more accessible. So instead of heading to your local health food store, you may want to check out your local Aldi. 

Okay, so I know what you may be thinking: Aldi?! Trust me, I understand. I have vivid memories of heading to Aldi with my grandmother when I was younger to stock up on basic, everyday dry goods and canned foods, both for her personal use but also to send in a barrel to Jamaica for family. However, Aldi is so much more than the spot where you get large bags of rice and canned sardines. Aldi has come a long way. So much so that it has become one of my favorite grocery stores. And with the addition of their vegetarian and vegan line “Earth Grown,” I feel like I am able to have a holistic and authentic shopping trip. 

So I did just that: I bought about a week’s worth of groceries from Aldi. Before I show you what I purchased, I would like to let you know that first, the price of my haul may vary from that of the average shopper in that I do not have any meat or dairy products included (but instead include substitutes for both). However, I do include the price for what each meat and dairy item would cost.

Second, like many grocery stores, the products sold vary from one location to another. 

I spent $78 on groceries at Aldi and I would say this is pretty representative of what I spend on a week’s worth of groceries. In a typical week, I might round this out with visits to other stores (for specialty items like preferred vegan cheeses or ingredients for my YouTube channel) but I usually do not surpass $100 per week. 

Like any grocery shop, there are some basic things here but as I said before, don’t sleep on Aldi. There are a lot of gems if you look for them, vegan or non-vegan. Let’s get into it!

Produce

I’ve always maintained that Aldi has some of the best produce in the city; and I mean any city. I’ve lived in five different places throughout my life and Aldi’s produce has been consistently fresh and affordable. These strawberries were on sale this week for $1.50 this week. I mean come on, what a steal! I also always love to pick up these Guajillo chilies when I see them. They’re great for making Birria tacos and tamales!

Cold & Frozen Food

When I say not to count Aldi out, I mean that! When it comes to their brand “Earth Grown,” they really deliver on vegan items. I was really excited to see tofu on this trip, especially since it’s so affordable. I also really enjoy these vegan yogurts. Like any yogurt, they are incredibly versatile and easy to dress up. For breakfast, my go-to is topping it with granola, sliced bananas, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. But for dessert, I like crumbling up the Benton’s Original Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (yes, they’re an Oreo dupe but they’re still pretty good and vegan) and sliced strawberries. It is the perfect way to end your day!

Non-Vegan +/- Cost Difference:

If you refer to my receipt above, you’ll notice that I purchased oat milk, dairy-free yogurts, meatless meatballs and so forth. Below, I compare the price difference for what it costs to by the non-veg version of these items, from Aldi.

This was in no way intentional, but for this particular haul at Aldi’s, the price difference between my main vegan options, compared to the prices listed on their site, actually cancel out. While items like dairy yogurt cost about half the price of Almond Milk yogurt, dairy coffee creamer did cost a bit more. So in short, you spend some, you save some. Also, keep in mind that location plays a role in price variation, as well.

My homemade yogurt parfait

Beverages

I’ve been in my pressed juice bag recently and was excited to see these juices. I just had to pick them up. This blueberry wine by Pacific Fruit Vineyards also caught my eye. Although it isn’t something I would usually pick up, their peach flavor was really good so I wanted to give it a chance. Finally, even though it was a bit expensive, I wanted to pick up the Starbuck’s iced coffee. Not to toot my own horn but I’ve become a little bit of an at-home barista over the past few months. This little combo of iced coffee, oat milk (the superior of the plant milks, in my opinion), and this caramel coffee creamer can help you become one too! And I know, it’s wild that Aldi carries a vegan caramel coffee creamer. They have a vanilla one too!

My homemade iced coffee drink

Jar and Canned Foods

Here, I’d like to point out this Greek vinaigrette that I found. Aldi carries a few salad dressings that are vegan friendly. I was in the mood for a Greek salad and was happy to find this. It was also incredibly easy to make. In a large bowl I combined chopped romaine lettuce, diced red onion, diced cucumbers, sliced cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, seasoned artichokes, banana peppers, Greek vinaigrette, and diced vegan feta. *chef’s kiss*

My homemade vegan chef salad

Breads, Grains, And Snacks 

I understand they might sound a bit strange but these Coconut Cashew Crisps are everything. And while I haven’t tried this specific flavor, the vanilla and chocolate ones are amazing are pair well with a cup of coffee. However, the real star of the show here is this Artisan Flatbread. I was so jazzed when I found out this bread was vegan friendly since this is normally a rare find. Usually, when I come across flatbreads they have milk in them. But Aldi made this day my lucky day. The possibilities are endless with this flatbread but my favorite way to use this is to make pizza. You can have a top-tier pizza experience right in the comfort of your own home. Plus, what other place can you get a vegan pizza in about five minutes? Here I have the flatbread of course, hummus (trust me, it might sound weird but swap out the marinara for hummus and watch your life change right before your eyes), sliced onion, minced garlic, sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, banana peppers, and vegan mozzarella. If you don’t know, now you know!

My homemade flatbread

One of the things I love most about being vegan is watching the landscape of veganism evolve and change over time.  Vegan accessibility presents itself in a lot of ways including the representation of vegan food culture in the media, the addition of vegan options to fast-food chain menus, and of course, the places in which one can find vegan items. 

I hope I have convinced you to give Aldi a shot. They have so many quality products that also provide endless possibilities for versatility. And the best part: it’s extremely affordable. I would love to hear what your go-to Aldi buys are and anything you think I missed!

If you would like to see a video version of this piece, I did a Vegan Aldi Haul and a What I Eat In a Day using only items from Aldi on my YouTube Channel “Katie Makes It Vegan.” HERE is the link. 

Katie Brown is a classical musician, podcaster, educator, and content creator. In addition to being a Fellow with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and cohosting Classically Black Podcast, she curates her YouTube Channel “Katie Makes It Vegan,” dedicated to making her formerly favorite foods vegan. You can also follow her on Instagram.

All images via Katie Brown

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