Aldi Vs. Walmart: Which Grocery Chain Is Cheaper?

Forget panic at the disco, what about panic in the grocery store aisles? Anyone who's doing the food shopping for themselves or a family these days knows the price of milk isn't what it used to be. Who among us hasn't spent at least a few sweaty minutes in the store, deciding between a carton of eggs or a moderately priced diamond bracelet? We kid, of course, but though experts say inflation is leveling off (as the Fed attempts to achieve a soft landing for the economy), grocery store prices are still up some 30% more than they were a handful of years ago. Shoppers are getting hit hard in their grocery budgets, and so, are hitting budget-grocery options, like Aldi and Walmart, even harder.

Aldi is a German chain rapidly growing in America. This small-format discount grocer, which has over 2,000 stores across 36 states, sells almost exclusively private-label products. Efficiency is the name of Aldi's game, and the company passes these savings on to its customers by selling its 1,400 or so products in a no-frills environment, charging a quarter deposit to use a cart, and disposing with typical supermarket sections, like a deli counter or bakery.

Meanwhile, mass-merchant giant Walmart sells practically everything, including budget groceries. This Bentonville-based company boasts similar price points to Aldi, with a different variety of house- brand and name-brand products. Walmart also has a more expansive presence than Aldi in the United States, with stores in every state and Puerto Rico. Both stores offer their customers budget specialty items, too. Here, we'll take a closer comparison-look at which store, Aldi or Walmart, is cheaper.

Staples and weekly items

Walmart's and Aldi's price ranges usually fall within a few cents to a dollar of each other for most pantry and fridge basics, even when accounting for regional price variation. Comparing each store's house-brand prices, for example, show a dozen cage-free, large, brown eggs are $2.75 at Aldi, and $2.72 at Walmart. A gallon of whole milk is $4.05 at Aldi and $3.91 at Walmart while a 20-ounce loaf of whole-wheat bread goes for $3.64 at Walmart, and $2.09 at Aldi.

Produce prices are also neck-and-neck. A 3-pound bag of Gala apples will run you about $3.86 at Walmart and $3.09 at Aldi. Both stores offer a 16-ounce box of organic spinach, which you can get for $5.39 at Aldi and $4.98 at Walmart. A three-pack of bell peppers is $2.88 at Walmart and $2.49 at Aldi. This fractional differential in price is typical of almost all of the two stores' produce and pantry items, and even cheese.

One pound of organic, grass-fed, 85/15 ground beef goes for $6.36 at Walmart, while Aldi has the same for $5.49. A 5-pound family pack of fresh chicken breasts is $12.18 at Walmart, and $10.95 at Aldi. One pound of frozen salmon runs $13.87 at Walmart and $6.05 at Aldi. Aldi tends to sell meat and fish portions in the single-serving or 1-pound range, while Walmart has more bulk frozen and fresh meat options. These offerings allow for additional savings but may be unwieldy for single or smaller-family shoppers.

Snacks and specialty items

If equivalent everyday savings won't lure bargain-hunting shoppers exclusively to Aldi or Walmart, each store's snacks and specialty items might. While Walmart has its own Great Value line of snacks, including Glacier Ranch Tortilla Chips and Zesty Ranch Veggie Straws for under $3, the store also stocks name-brand snacks at a savings, as well as Bettergoods products: Walmart's take on specialty private-label offerings. The line includes upscale-sounding treats like Cold Brew Coffee Premium Ice Cream and Cinnamon Honey Butter, both under $4.

Walmart and Aldi offer a range of take-and-bake pizzas, as well as flatbreads that can get dinner on the table for $5 to $10, depending on the size and topping. Walmart offers a volume of frozen pizzas, as well as hot rotisserie chickens at $5.97 in a variety of flavors (which might be reason enough not to renew your Costco membership card). Aldi can't compete with the variety Walmart offers, so the grocery store uses novelty and premium private-label options to stand out and provide savings.

Aldi's Specially Selected and Aldi Finds lines change seasonally or weekly. These limited-time offers can inspire cult followings, and have made devotees of the so-called "Aisle of Shame," Aldi's center aisle full of non-food weekly specials that may include anything from seasonal drinkware to exercise equipment. While Aldi and Walmart are close in price point, the added element of surprise might tip some shoppers in favor of the smaller grocery. (This, by the way, is how much of your income you should be spending on groceries.)