There's a rule of thumb about how to navigate the standard grocery store: Shop from the outside in. It's a simple way to ensure you buy fresh first, picking from produce, meats and dairy before buying dry or canned goods.
But the year is 2016 and who has time for rules? With grocery retailer ALDI slated to bring its unique model of quality groceries at low prices to Southern California beginning in March, you'll find just a few well-stocked aisles bursting with fresh buys and affordable prices.
ALDI, one of America's top three favorite grocers, is expanding its existing 1,500 U.S. stores and is already well-versed in providing high-quality groceries affordably and easily.
"Shoppers can expect a back-to-basics approach to grocery shopping that's not only extremely efficient and affordable, but also high-quality and fresh," said Brigitte Nguyen, celebrity chef and contestant on the Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown, as well as a loyal ALDI shopper.
The first thing you'll notice stepping into an ALDI is the size - they're more compact than the grocery store you're used to. Featuring just four or five wide aisles and spacious checkouts, the focus is on the most popular grocery items in their most common sizes. The result is a clutter-free experience to whiz your shopping cart through easily.
"This means a much faster shopping trip that isn't nearly as overwhelming as navigating your traditional supermarket," said Nguyen. "Take extra virgin olive oil, for example. Instead of a dozen different brands and bottle sizes, you'll find one quality option in one size."
For a healthier shop, ALDI makes it easy to find fresh items. Stock up on fresh meats, dairy products and produce, much of which is locally and/or organically grown.
"With a smaller quantity but wide variety of fresh produce on display, it's simple and easy to find your favorites," said Nguyen.
As you check out the easy-to-navigate aisles, you will find basic, specialty and seasonal items all priced at up to 50% less, when compared to comparable national brands sold at leading national grocery stores.
"When you walk into the store, you'll notice that things look a little different," Nguyen explained. "ALDI skips the fancy, expensive shelving and keeps products in their specially designed display boxes to save employees time and keep the freshest products coming."
More and more, shoppers are making healthy choices a priority when they shop for groceries. ALDI puts easy-to-spot nutrition labels on the front of its product packaging so customers always know what they're buying. .
While some Southern Californians are used to supplying their own grocery bags, ALDI led the charge. "Sustainability is really important to ALDI, and they've encouraged their customers to bring their own bags (or buy reusable bags) since the beginning," said Nguyen. "You also pack your own groceries. This keeps the line moving, and makes sure your groceries are packed up just the way you like."
Don't you hate it when an errant shopping cart is taking the best parking spot? This won't be an issue at ALDI. Upon arrival, ALDI shoppers put a quarter into a cart to unlock it. When the cart is returned, so is the quarter. This helps keep prices low because ALDI staff can focus on serving shoppers inside the store.
Yet all of this lower-cost convenience doesn't mean compromising quality, variety, or healthy options. In addition to ALDI exclusive brands such as liveGfree -- a gluten-free line of products -- Specially Selected, Friendly Farms dairy products, and SimplyNature -- a line free of over 125 artificial ingredients and preservatives -- ALDI shoppers will find familiar "name" brands at great prices.
"Whether you're buying dairy, fresh meats, eggs, produce, or pantry staples like cereal, pasta, soups and bakery items, you'll be wowed by the savings in your grocery bill," said Nguyen.
And lucky for health-conscious Angelinos, she adds, "You can find many on-trend products, like organic coconut oil, chia seeds, almond butter and diet-specific items."
-Paul Rogers for Aldi