Cooking up a bargain
Love it or loathe it, Aldi is certainly a shop of surprises, a place where unfamiliar washing powders and cornflakes are stacked alongside angle grinders and exercise equipment. Products on special offer often disappear from the shelves in the dead of night, never to be seen in the store again.
For some, its higgledy-piggledy aisles offer endless opportunities to unearth top bargains at low prices, while for others, it is, literally and metaphorically, all over the shop, a tiresome place where inferior products are sold cheaply but still represent bad value.
Aldi has a lot more fans than foes among our readers, and when we quoted one correspondent’s negative impression of the German retailer recently there was outcry on the Pricewatch blog. “I’d be lost without Aldi! It’s so much cheaper. I get a good 90 per cent of my groceries there,” wrote one contributor. “If you’re not tied into a particular brand, Aldi and Lidl offer huge savings,” came another. “The quality of the food is without doubt fantastic. I don’t feel a bit embarrassed about shopping in Aldi, I feel smug,” said a third.
In fact, so effusive were some of the pro-Aldi views that we wondered if the store’s senior management or PR people had been submitting comments under pseudonyms, a notion we discounted on the grounds that the retailer is famously reluctant to communicate on any level with the media.
AT LEAST IT was until last week, when it got in touch about a new programme it is running which aims to prove it’s possible to feed a family of four with tasty meals for a mere €10 using ingredients found exclusively on its shelves. The chef fronting the initiative is Garth McColgan, who also runs a well-regarded FoodActive education programme for children in south Dublin.