The One Aisle You Should Consider Skipping at Aldi

The low-cost grocery store has a cultlike following for its great prices and high quality. Turns out, there's one aisle in which prices are actually higher at Aldi than at other stores.

It’s no secret that the Taste of Home crew loves Aldi—the low-budget grocery store stocks quality food at incredibly low prices (and they’re a great store in several surprising ways, too). Apparently, we’re not alone: the grocery chain is slated to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by 2022, which will make it the third-largest grocery chain in the country.

Though the store offers unbeatable deals on everything from baked goods to fresh produce, there is one section of the store in which prices are actually higher than average: the toiletry aisle. In fact, prices on beauty and personal hygiene products can cost as much as $2.50 more than the same items at grocery and big box stores. The reason lies in Aldi’s unique business structure.

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What Makes Aldi’s Prices So Low…With a Few Exceptions

In general, Aldi sells generic brands—about 90% of their products are private label, which means Aldi can sell directly to consumers, keeping prices low. When brand names do appear, they tend to be overstock: perfectly good food that simply had a surplus of supply. Again, that means Aldi can offer the items at a lower rate.

Toiletries are the major exception. Most toiletries at Aldi are name brand, the same you’d find at a big box store or grocery store. That means Aldi isn’t acquiring the items at a significantly lower rate than other stores, making their prices less competitive. Plus, Aldi doesn’t put the items on sale, while grocery and big box stores will almost always have at least one or two options on sale, meaning customers can opt to buy the on-sale shampoo or toothpaste. According to Go Banking Rates, Crest toothpaste costs about $0.50 more per tube at Aldi than at Target, while shampoos can cost from $1-$2.50 more per bottle.

Other Drawbacks of Aldi Toiletries

Aldi will typically stock fewer brand options than chains like Target or even drugstores, giving you fewer choices to choose from, and perhaps not stocking your favorite volumizing conditioner. In addition, they mainly stock smaller sized products, meaning you’re not able to get a lower price per-ounce by buying the big bottle. If you have a favorite brand, the best price will likely be stocking up at a bulk shopping outlet, like Costco or Sam’s Club. (Try these seven tricks to save even more at Costco.)

While it’s good to steer clear of the toiletry aisle, you’ll find great deals in the rest of the store. We’re not saying goodbye to this grocery store anytime soon. You should always buy these things at Aldi.

Kelsey Mueller
A former senior digital editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Chicago. Since 2010, she’s followed a gluten-free diet, and especially enjoys the challenge of baking sourdough bread and pizza dough. As a contributing writer for Taste of Home, she covers a broad range of topics but with a special emphasis on gluten-free cooking and baking. Outside of her gluten-free experiments in the kitchen, Kelsey is also the author of the thriller novel “Girl in the Rearview Mirror.”