Edit: I have added a more concise review with photos, find it here: Aldi's Milk Review - Revisited (With Photos)
Aldi vs. The World in the Milk Arena?
What exactly makes different brands of milk different? Have you ever asked
yourself the same question? For this review, I purchased a gallon of 2% Aldi
milk (sold under their friendly farms label) for $2.49 and compared it to a
gallon of 2% store branded milk from another local supermarket that cost $3.99.
At the same supermarket, they also carried gallons of 2% milk from
nationally-recognized dairy brand Kemps for $4.09. I was already thinking I was
saving a few pennies by purchasing the store brand milk, but after a trip to
Aldi I was concerned I was getting scammed at my local supermarket. If I could
justify the cost savings of Aldi's milk - over a dollar per gallon - and I
consumed a gallon per week, I could save about $50 on my grocery bill without
doing anything differently except stopping at a second store.
So What's The Catch With Aldi's Milk?
As soon as I saw the Aldi's milk I felt there had to be some kind of catch -
how else could a company (even a highly efficient, German company like Aldi)
sell their milk for so much less than everywhere else? I wondered if this was
some kind of "B" grade milk, the milk that was about to expire, or
milk that had tons of hormones in it. And who exactly was this “Friendly Farms,”
Is Aldi Milk “B” Grade Milk Or Something?
I learned that there is such a thing as B grade milk, and its inferior
status comes from the level of bacteria present in a sample of it, but it's
usually used in cheese and other dairy products, not sold for drinking. I
felt confident that there would have been an uproar on the world wide web if
Aldi was selling B grade milk in their stores as regular, grade A milk. I
didn’t find any complaints about Aldi milk online, except on one forum where a
lady was convinced that her gallon of Aldi milk held less product than the
competition. I examined my gallon of Aldi milk and it sure looked like it held
the exact same amount of milk as the store brand gallon of milk. The milk jugs
were the same size, but the circles on the sides that expand to prevent the
gallon from exploding under pressure or impact were shaped a little
differently. I decided that the woman’s complaint probably wasn’t valid and
there was no way Aldi was using “B” grade milk under their label. Point to
Is Aldi Milk About To Expire?
My gallon of Aldi milk had an expiration date over a week from the date I
purchased it. I felt that Aldi wouldn’t risk the bad press and government
fallout that would arise from consistently selling milk nearer its expiration
date than their competition, but at that point I wasn’t exactly convinced there
wasn’t some scheme running behind the scenes with Aldi milk where they would
ask the plant for their oldest milk to negotiate a lower price or something. No
points given here.
How About the Hormones in Aldi Milk?
The Aldi brand label, Friendly Farms, says that their milk is produced from
cows not treated with rBGH or rBST. Aldi milk also carries the REAL seal, which
means that the milk is certified as Made in the USA, made from cow’s milk,
doesn’t contain any casein, caseinate, vegetable oil, or other substitutes. Not
that I would expect any of these products to be present in Aldi’s milk, but
it’s reassuring to see the seal. The ingredients listing and nutrition facts on
the Aldi milk label are also exactly the same as the ingredients and nutrition
facts on my gallon of store branded milk, which was also a point in Aldi’s
What Really Put My Mind At Ease…
After tasting the milk and not being able to tell the difference, I knew I
had to try a little harder to discover why Aldi could sell their milk so cheap.
Finally I noticed that the plant code stamped on both my store brand milk and
the gallon of Aldi’s milk had the same format, two digits, a dash, and three digits.
This convinced me that the two milk brands were either from the same company,
which used the same format between all its plants, or else there was some
standard plant notation, that might be documented on the web. After a little
more research, I discovered the mind-blowing web site whereismymilkfrom.com,
which lets users enter in the code from their dairy products and uses it to
look up the dairy plant of origin in a public database published periodically
by the government, the Interstate Milk Shippers List. It then returns the
result in a Google Maps pane with icons detailing what products are made at
Looking up the Aldi label milk using its code, I saw it came from a plant operated
by Kemps! The same thing with my store brand milk, it also came from a Kemps
plant, although it wasn’t the same exact one. This discovery leads me to
conclude that most milk is exactly the same regardless of the container it
arrives in, and consumers who choose Aldi milk can save money without worrying
about getting a subpar product. Why would anyone pay more for milk that is made
at the same plant as the cheap stuff? In my opinion, Aldi milk is just a good
way to cut the grocery budget down to size, and Aldi wins this one!