In the bargain grocery market, Aldi and Lidl are pretty similar, and the original store owners were brothers. I already shared Aldi with you a few months ago, so this week, I’m taking you to Lidl! Both are filled with lots of merchandise under the store’s label. I find that the Aldi stores feel smaller, but they tend to have more vegan specific merchandise. Lidl stores are bright and open, but historically have less variety for vegan diets.
Lidl entered the Richmond market a couple of years ago, and they have rapidly expanded to several locations in the metro area. Since I hadn’t been to Lidl since March at the height of the pandemic, I thought I’d take another look. Unlike Aldi, you do not need a quarter to unlock a grocery cart. You do, however, need to bring bags, and be prepared to bag your own groceries. And like Aldi, they have a couple of aisles of seasonal, non-food merchandise which is always fun.
You can expect to find all the vegan basics here. The biggies are canned and dried beans, a variety of rices, nuts and nut butters, and fresh, canned, and frozen vegetables and fruit. On my last trip in March, I was excited to find tofu, and at the height of the pandemic, Lidl was one of the only stores that had it! On this trip, I was excited to see a number of new vegan offerings!
Here’s what I found at Lidl this trip:
- Produce. Their produce is typically very fresh, and you can sometimes find interesting things you don’t see in other stores. This week, the weird thing was a bag of large, purple sweet potatoes. Those definitely came home with me! I also bought bulk bags of lemons and limes, bananas, organic grape tomatoes, and organic green grapes. They had a variety of berries, salad greens, and pumpkins this week, too.
- Dave’s Killer Bread. I love this brand, as you may have read before, and they had the hamburger buns this time!
- Vegan dairy/tofu. They have a nice selection of plant-based milks, including Almond Breeze brand. I bought a couple of types of vegan cheese from Follow Your Heart and some extra-firm organic tofu. I did see that they had So Delicious coconut milk yogurt, which I’ve never seen here before. In the vicinity of these items were many varieties of hummus, including from CAVA, as well as CAVA’s tahini based sauces.
- Beyond Meat products. There was also a store brand of vegan patties! I picked up some Beyond breakfast sausage which was in the freezer section. So excited to try the spicy variety which I haven’t seen before
- Spices. They have great prices on these, and are generally great quality. This trip, I picked up a pepper mill, red pepper flakes, and some real maple syrup, all at fantastic prices.
- Surprises this trip include Banza pasta (I bought the spaghetti), sundried vegetable mix (I’ll throw it in some pasta!), two flavors of frozen sorbet, accidentally vegan chocolate, and frozen vegan pizza!
- Non-food merchandise included a wide variety of Halloween items, clothes, and sewing items. I picked up a pattern tracing kit, which I think my daughter will enjoy for embroidery, and an LED magnifying light, which I think my husband will enjoy for looking at some of the treasures he finds relic hunting.
I didn’t find everything I needed for the week here, but I found several items at really great prices. The syrup, for example, is usually $15-16, and I bought it for less than $14. The red pepper flakes were 79 cents, usually $1.99 other places. And the Dave’s breads were almost a dollar less than retail.
The biggest change since March is the expanded selection of specifically vegan items, and I’m really happy about that! The fact that they now carry Beyond products and a competing store brand is encouraging. And I’m excited to try the vegan pizza! Hopefully, this pattern continues! It might be time to put Lidl into regular extra grocery trip rotation.
Do you shop at Lidl? What are some of your favorite items, if so? As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.