- a blog about food and value

Product reviews: Smoothies, steak, booze and more at Aldi

Cheap, reliable, delicious, good value food? Aldi and Lidl are hard to beat.

Aldi now commands a bigger share of the Irish grocery market than Lidl or Superquinn, and is growing rapidly in Ireland. Although Lidl have many delicious items – their Greek yoghurt is spellbinding – it’s Aldi that are winning the plaudits. In addition, over 50 per cent of Aldi’s food comes from Irish food producers, many of whom were small businesses before linking with with the German giant.

Recently, they sent us out some food to sample. Jean gave the Del Rivo Kids Smoothies to her daughter Lily, who stubbornly refused to wax lyrical about them. But she did she say they were very nice and asked if she could have more. There are four flavours: orange mango and pineapple, peach and passionfruit, blackberry and raspberry, and strawberry. I had a sip myself. They’re just as good if not better than the Innocent Smoothies (€4.25 for four in Tesco), and they’re significantly cheaper, at just €2.29 for a packet of four. A good way of stuffing your kids full of fruit.

Aldi’s meat is a very affordable treat, and Jean and I are in no doubt about it: their meat is the best value you will find in any Irish supermarket. Only Superquinn can really hold a candle on quality, but you’ll pay a lot more there. Check out their amazing fillet steaks (€8.99 for two), the lamb rump steaks (€9.99 for two, cook them as you would the fillet steaks, and be kind to them), and the bacon loin (€6.99)- all three won medals at the recent Blas na hÉireann food awards.

With Halloween in mind, check out their barm brack with ring (99c): the same price as a miserable St. Bernard or Tesco Value brack, but of hugely superior quality.

And the whiskey ain’t bad either. I’ve been sneakily filling a little hip flask and drinking it in between pub stops (although of course I never drink it in the pub itself – that’s just mean). Aldi’s Clontarf Irish Blended Whiskey (€15.99) is surprisingly gentle, smooth, sweet, and doesn’t take like cheap burning meths like you might expect from a whiskey of this price. If that’s a little strong, try the Walshe’s Traditional Lemonade: the pink stuff with raspberries is a really nice, tangy treat.

You might be feeling a little guilty after all the whiskey and steak. Throw some Linseed Crunch with Cranberry and Almond (€2.79) over your cereal and feel healthy until you start drinking more whiskey again. Hell, the linseed crunch is so healthy and tasty, I’d nearly throw it on the steak – but of course I would not. Then if you feel too healthy after all that linseed crunch and steak, indulge in the Luxury Caramel Fudge Diary Ice Cream (€2.19). This ice-cream is clearly an imitation of Carte D’Or, only Aldi’s product is not only significantly cheaper – it’s also better.

You might have noticed that we like Aldi. I’ve been trying to tell my mum to go there, but she remains reluctant to try an unknown quantity. I tell her she’ll find almost everything she needs there, but she seems hellbent on paying more in Dunnes. I don’t get why.

Readers, are you reluctant to make the switch to Lidl or Aldi? And can you recommend any products from the German discounter?


  1. You can’t really compare an innocent smoothie to an Aldi one – can you? Aldi use devils ‘concentrated’ juice in theirs as it’s cheaper to produce and gives a longer shelf life. I don’t know about Tesco smoothies, but at least innocent only include real fruit which has been squeezed and pressed and it’s not concentrated.

  2. I’m not sure whether they use fresh or concentrated juice. I’m not a huge fan of concentrated fruit juices either, but when they’re in a smoothie you wouldn’t know the difference. And the health benefits are the same.

  3. (won’t enter that discussion of not-from-concentrate)

    I shopped at Lidl today. A reassuringly back breaking khao-san road over-sized ruck sack stuffed with fresh fruit and veg. A weight under which I could barely waddle my bike home. Admittedly I tried to be uber-healthy sticking strictly to fruit and veg, no meat, no processed, except a pack of choc bars. All for 44e.

    And pleased to discover whole organic Irish milk 1e a litre instead of 1.50e for my usual choice of Avonmore vitamin enriched lighter milk in the local Londis.

  4. I usually stock up with frozen food at Aldi. The burgers there are nicer than Big Al’s and Bird’s eye in my humble opinion.

  5. ‘Magnum’ washing up liquid…. as good as Fairy.
    Gluten free bread, brown and white, great price and texture.
    Lemon Curd yogurt, yum.
    Duchesse potatoes in fridge in vacuum pack, keep for weeks and ready to throw in oven, enough for two.
    Sparkling water.
    Coffee vacuum packs, ‘Java’ and other blends.

  6. Innocent Smoothies are actually now owned by the Coca Cola company…..just to note! The Aldi alternative are really nice and just as tasty. In all honesty unless your making your own smoothies and juices, all shop bought smoothies are pasteurised which destroys a large proportion of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals and enzymes anyway, but that said having a smoothie is better than having a coke! So really concentrated vs. non-concentrated isn’t all that relevant in smoothies.
    Other Aldi products that are brilliant:
    Brannigans Smoked back rashers
    Brannigans garlic and herb sausages
    Goats Cheese Log
    Turkey Mince (sounds weird but is lovely in Turkey Burgers)
    The fruit and veg. are better quality and better value than Tesco

  7. Aldi is fab. I have started to do most of my shopping there. Initially was reluctant to try many of the staples but have been converted. Tea, jam, honey, porridge (esp the one with apricots and sunflower seeds), their meat, fresh orange juice, rock shandy & apple drink. Actually any if their specially selected range is worth trying – I haven’t been disappointed yet. And their fruit and veg special offers are always good value. All in all definitely worth a visit.

  8. I love shopping in Lidl. Very cheap but you can find good quality stuff there.

  9. As well as being owned by Coca-Cola and overpriced, Innocent smoothies are responsible for starting the horrible, horrible ‘wackaging’ trend in product copy:

  10. The only time I go near bottle smoothies is as the Electric Picnic and then it’s only because they are usually given out free.

    Aldis’ organic wheat muffins are excellent and low in fat, as are their oven chips (in the blue bag), fat free yoghurts and their specially selected mince pies are the best around.

    I do prefer Lidl though, their fruit and vegetable are better, I stock up on their fat free long life milk at 75c a litre it is the best value around. Their bakery is great, although I’ve never eaten anything from it but Himself goes wild for the apple turnovers and pretzels. The special flamenkuchen tarts are top notch and the 3 ply loo roll is fit for a royal bum. 😀 Oh, and the running gear is excellent.

  11. I just can’t bring myself to buy cheap sausages. I know that it’s not exactly top quality meat in the regular ones anyway, but if you’re paying that little for them, there can’t be anything good in them, right?

    We buy chips, some frozen veg, a lot of fresh veg, some meat and most staples from Aldi. We don’t go to Lidl that much (just habit, I guess), but we do avoid their chips, as they have palm oil, rather than sunflower oil, and palm oil can have very unsustainable origins.

    I also get a lot of my baking stuff from them, flour (€1.19 v €2.79 for Odlums), margarine, etc. It can get frustrating that if you are looking for something in particular, they almost never have it in Aldi. This weekend, no baking soda, no cocoa, no milk smaller than 1 litre (I only use it for baking). Things like that mean that we can’t switch to only going to Aldi or Lidl, and will have to continue splitting our shopping between there and Supervalu.

  12. Also, I remember reading (I think in the Pricewatch column) that Superquinn and Aldi have the same suppliers from their steaks. You could buy steaks from the exact same animal in the different shops, and pay vastly different prices for them.

  13. Grainne, you are so right about sausages. Look for the highest percentage of pork content you can in the sausages you buy.

  14. I shop everywhere that’s willing to give me good value (as opposed to just plain cheap): Dunnes, Superquinn (very good special offers on meat and fish), Tesco, and Lidl and Aldi. I prefer Aldi to Lidl in terms of choice and quality, but their fruits and vegs are a tad better. Although I am quite fussy with fruits and vegs and would rather buy them at the veg stall on my road. Lidl’s in store bakery is great, especially their seeded and wholegrain breads. They also have a good range of dark chocolates. I like Aldi’s pasta sauces, honey, jams, part baked organic rye muffins, milk, cooked meats (they have a lovely Wicklow ham), Irish Angus beef which I buy for the kids, porridge and Wheat biscuits, eggs and they are the only shop to do a nut free fresh pesto.

  15. Been shopping at aldi now for the last 5 years and would get almost 80% of my weekly groceries there. I tell everyone and anyone to try them out. Super prices on fruit and veg. Specially selected burgers are so much cheaper and more tasty than big al’s. Fromage frais better than petit filous. Stonebaked pizza another success. Eggs butter and cheese great and cheaper than other brands. Fresh chicken and meat ones to try. Their chk fillets always cheaper than any promo at dunnes. Try their brand of “Pringles” called Stackers, great taste and nearly less than half the price.