Saturday 2 May 2009

SOLE v Aldi.

So, this fine and frosty morning, Furry and I set off, as I have Twittered about, to our local Aldi, to see just how SOLE we could buy. As we were on the way I was mentally composing this post, musing to myself on what sort of acronyms I could come up with, pretty much prepared to call ALDI all sorts of nasty things.

I was getting in touch with my inner pre-schooler, mulling over whether to use "Aldi is a lying poopie-breath" or "Aldi sux big fat jobbies" as a title, when we walked in, and the first thing I was met with was Aldi's range of organic, fair trade tea.

Yes, I know, you just did a double take, didn't you? It's not that acid you dropped at Uni in 1982 finally metabolising, you read that right.

And if that didn't tilt your world along the "most unlikely words ever to be heard in the same sentence" axis, guess what? The tea is $2.19 for 50 bags.

You can find the range of teas (green and black) right next door to their organic honey. Produced on Kangaroo Island, honey with honey made by the world’s only remaining pure strain of the Ligurian honeybee.

Do you need time to remember that this post is about Aldi, and re-read that paragraph again?

Oh, and the honey is 500g for $5.49

I bought some organic yoghurt ($2.99 for 500g) and some non-organic but awesome looking muesli, as well as sundry other household items.

Is it SOLE?

Sustainable? I didn't see much evidence of supporting sustainable producers.

Organic? Well, far be it from me to believe labeling, calling something "organic" does not make it so, but a quick check on their web site does indeed prove that their organic range is NASSA certified. So yes, it is most definitely Organic.

Local. Their corn is from Thailand, their dry biscuit range made in Denmark from Danish and Imported ingredients and their soy is a product on Indonesia. HOWEVER, a quick tour of their web site shows that 100% of their meat, 97% dairy and 95% of their fruit and veg are Australian sourced. I imagine pretty much the same percentages as Slaveways et al. Like all grocers, the key to shopping local is caveat emptor, READ THE LABELS, and you'll be fine.

Ethical? Now here's where I was prepared to really get stuck into Aldi, I mean ANY large chain spewpermarket being ETHICAL?? Clearly I have been inhaling too many organic lentils, but I hate to tell you.

Aldi is.

Aldi is the first and only supermarket to introduce a national pricing policy, something consumers have been calling for Safeway/Coles to do for years. Adli's policy is "all people, wherever they live, should have the opportunity to buy everyday groceries of the highest quality at the lowest possible price."

That said, Aldi has also been awarded an ecoBIZ accreditation by the Queensland Government for its environmental policy, which included planting only local, native, drought tolerant plants at Aldi stores.

Oh, and they stock certified organic and certified fair-trade coffee. At. Aldi.

So, in these tight and uncertain times, it is still possible to shop as SOLE-ly as possible AND save some $$$, and while I will I still can prove that buying fruit from out local farm gate and local meat from the butcher is still the cheapest way to shop, Aldi, much to my suprise, now has a place in my weekly shopping ritual


stickyfingers said...

We're also Aldirati. Like you we eschew the monopoly of Coles & Safeway. I like the Aldi pancetta & proscuitto. It comes from the Barossa. The Aldi organic range is surprisingly large and even includes soy milk.

But there's a trick to shopping at ALdi as their stock can vary from week to week. Some of the it is special purchase and will only appear for two weeks until the whole lot is sold out. eg. this week, 2.5kg Laucke sour dough & crusty white bread mix from the Barossa is a special buy only.

Most people who buy SOLE are stumped by getting detergent, bog roll, cling wrap etc, but I have been ordering from a local manufacturer/distributor instead. It means buying 3-4kg/5 litres at a time, but if you have a family, that's not a big deal, and it's good if you're budgeting.

A commercial biodegradable concentrate laundry powder on par with OMO costs $19.05 for 3kg while the same amount of OMO would set you back $33.44 at Safeway. So not only does it help to keep jobs in Melbourne, but it saves us money too.

Zoe said...

I went to Aldi for nappies, and kept going.

I don't buy fruit or veg, but sometimes bread, etc, kid cereal, etc. They have organic dark chocolate, but it isn't free trade, and that is very important given the child slavery issues around chocolate manufacture. I buy their organic diced tomatoes by the case.

I am a bit worried that they initiate some of the dairy price suicide stuff, but who knows where that starts.

Griffin said...

Well ethical also means how they treat their staff too, so you're still in with a chance!!

kitten said...

Love Aldi, too! Hubby is a huge fan, him being the tight as shrink wrap kind of he does ALL the shopping! I think I can honestly say that the only thing I have tried there that I didn't like was the shampoo/conditioner. But then, I'm a hair care product snob..there, I admitted it....ack!

frogpondsrock said...

Down here in Hobart it is a duopoly it is either Coles or Woolworths.There was a whisper that Aldi might be moving in but unfortunately that hasn't happened yet. I am on my soapbox about ethically produced meat at the moment after Stateline showed horrendous images of a Tasmanian piggery that supplied woolworths.It is possible to shop down here using the SOLE principle but gosh it takes a lot of committment as well as petrol to do all the running around. cheers Kim

purple goddess said...

Just found out thet Aldi home-brand cosmetics are certified cruelty-free.

More Aldi-Awesomeness!!