Frugal shoppers know that Aldi is the place to be if you're looking for affordable groceries, like store-brand alternatives to favorite snacks or fresh produce. But, that doesn't mean every product is a winner, and Aldi has a somewhat mixed reputation when it comes to its meat products. Whether you're an Aldi regular or trying out the grocery chain for the first time, you may want to think twice about buying these meats.
There are lots of reasons why a certain meat product might not live up to a customer's expectations, from the inconsistency of the food quality and the value of the cost to the texture and taste. From issues with food products expiring early to issues with high fat or water content, there may even be ethical concerns around the sourcing, production, or packaging of certain meat products, like seafood. Before you rush out to take advantage of Aldi's low prices, let's take a closer look at various meats like Aldi's chicken, beef, seafood, and deli cuts and uncover the reasons why you're probably better off buying them somewhere else.
It's not only fresh meat that gets a bad rap at Aldi -- you may also want to be cautious of the store's deli meat. To cut down on costs and to keep prices low, Aldi doesn't have a deli counter like some other larger grocery store chains do. That means that Aldi shoppers can't get fresh cuts of deli meat straight from the store, and instead need to purchase prepackaged slices of meats like ham, turkey, or roast beef.
While Aldi provides convenience with pre-packaged deli meats, the offputting texture might leave some shoppers worried about whether the meat has expired. Critics of Aldi's, including a Facebook user, called the lunch meat "slimy" and "NOT deli counter quality." One Reddit user complained about Aldi's deli turkey, saying, "The slime on it is the reason I no longer buy it. I just couldn't get past the slime." Other Aldi shoppers haven't sworn off the store's deli meat completely, advising others to only purchase deli meat that comes in hard plastic tubs.
But, is slimy deli meat really safe to consume? Utah State University food-safety expert Brian Nummer, Ph.D. told Mens Health, "Strong off-odors, not slime, indicate spoilage." So it seems that, while the slimy coating that you find on older slices of deli meat is certainly offputting, it won't hurt you. A better way to tell if your meat has gone bad is by smelling it -- a rotting smell indicates the growth of harmful bacteria, and you're better off tossing it.
Chicken breasts are one of the most popular cuts of meat that Americans purchase, mainly because of its versatility and low price point compared to other more expensive meats like beef. In fact, each American eats at least 100 pounds of chicken on average every year so, with such a high demand, one would hope that Aldi's chicken breasts could offer a low-cost and delicious option. Unfortunately, the grocery chain is notorious for its low-quality chicken breasts with odd, unappealing texture and high fat content.
While a little bit of fat is good for flavor, too much can lead to an unappealing dish, so fat is often trimmed from the breasts before cooking. Aldi shoppers often find that the fresh chicken breasts have an overabundance of fat that has to be trimmed off before they can cook, only to realize that they've lost a substantial amount of mass from the breast. All that extra prep still doesn't stop shoppers from finding pieces of bone in their chicken breasts on occasion. One customer even took to Reddit to warn others they found bones in their chicken breasts, even claiming to have damaged a tooth.
Chances are, you and your family regularly enjoy ground beef -- it's by far the most popular way that Americans consume beef products, with up to 60% of all beef being bought in ground form. There's a lot to love about ground beef; it's relatively affordable, easy to cook, and versatile, making it a standout choice for families everywhere. But, if you're looking to get a deal on ground beef, you might want to think twice about getting it from Aldi.
the budget supermarket hasn't had the best luck with its ground beef quality control recently -- in August of 2023, the USDA Inspection Service put out a public health alert informing the public that they'd received reports of soft, clear plastic found in the store's ground beef. However, no recall was issued because Aldi no longer sold that particular brand of ground beef. But, customers aren't just finding plastic in their hamburger meat, one Reddit user claims they "have to be very careful when chewing to not hit a bone piece or [gristle]."
Unfortunately, it looks like the quality of Aldi's ground beef is inconsistent, even within the same brand with a Redditor claiming, "The first time I bought the 80/20 one it was absolutely vile, like [there] was something wrong with it. The second time I got it, it was delicious." Regardless, if you do decide to purchase ground beef from Aldi, make sure you keep your receipt and proceed with caution.
Since Aldi is such a great place to get deals on practically anything, it's understandable if you want to buy your fish there, too. But, if you're thinking about buying seafood of any kind from Aldi, you should know about some reportedly unethical practices of some of Aldi's seafood suppliers, as well as the quality of the products themselves.
For one thing, an investigation by the Associated Press revealed that the grocery chain has sourced seafood from China, a country known for employing North Korean workers in harsh conditions. North Korean workers are sent to China to prep seafood that would end up in stores like Walmart and Aldi, and while these workers are paid, as much as 70% of their salary is given to the North Korean government. Additionally, a class action lawsuit filed in 2021 challenges Aldi's claims that its seafood products are sustainably sourced. The lawsuit alleges that Aldi falsely markets its fresh Atlantic salmon as sustainably sourced while using harmful industrial practices that harm the environment.
Aldi's seafood has also received mixed reviews from customers, who love the fresh frozen salmon sides, but recommend against the tilapia, with one Redditor calling it "terribly thin" with "no flavor." Other reviewers strongly advise staying away from the Fremont frozen seafood mix, which contains calamari, shrimp, mussels, and scallops. One disgruntled Reddit user mentioned that the seafood released lots of liquid into the pan, leaving a soupy texture and overwhelmingly "fishy" smell.
While some meats from Aldi have notorious reputations and should always be avoided, others aren't necessarily known for their bad quality. But, a few bad experiences could be enough to put shoppers off certain products, like Aldi's whole turkey. If you're planning on purchasing your next holiday turkey from Aldi, make sure to do your research and consider what other shoppers have to say.
Aldi's whole turkeys do not have the greatest reputation. The supermarket was hit with quite the scandal in 2019 when angry U.K. shoppers claimed that the whole turkeys they bought for Christmas dinner were "spoiled" and "rancid", having already gone bad by the time they were ready to be cooked. While that incident might have been an unusual occurrence, Aldi's turkey can also have texture issues. One Aldi reviewer called the Kirkland bone-in turkey breast "very tough and dry with a game-like flavor despite brining and using moist cooking methods." Another called it "stringy," or "inedible".
If you do decide to enjoy an Aldi whole turkey, make sure you double-check the expiration date, and keep your receipt, since Aldi will accept returns. Remember to cook your turkey at an even temperature to avoid drying out the meat in the oven -- keep it between 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The best bacon is sliced thick enough that it can hold up to frying, with just the right amount of fat compared to pork meat. Unfortunately, not all bacon is created equal. The quality of bacon at any grocery store can range from fantastic to downright nasty, but Aldi seems to have issues with inconsistent quality from pack to pack, so you may have to gamble on whether the Aldi bacon you're buying will be any good.
Luckily, there haven't been any major complaints about Aldi's bacon going bad too quickly. The majority of the issues with bacon at Aldi have been with its fat-to-meat ratio; frustratingly, it seems that the results are inconsistent even with packs from the same brand. While some shoppers may enjoy Aldi's Appleton Farms bacon, one Reddit user called it "basically uncooked pork fat" and noted that there was very little meat in each strip. The same reviewer lambasted Aldi for having "ZERO quality control." Other annoyed shoppers emphasized how the bacon strips don't easily separate from each other. Some had issues with the bacon shredding when they tried to pull the strips apart, with one Aldi reviewer even going as far as to call it "one of the worst bacon experiences I've ever had!"
Read the original article on Daily Meal.