Opinion: This is the Weakest Part of Aldi’s Product Lineup

A hint.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Like all posts on Aldi Reviewer, this piece is the opinion of its respective authors. Also like all posts, comments are welcome, although we ask users to be mindful of our Community Guidelines.

Aldi has come a long way over the years. Once a niche destination, the German supermarket has evolved into one of the titans of the global grocery retail market. In the United States, Aldi is the fastest-growing grocery chain and is on pace to be the third-largest food retailer behind Walmart and Kroger by 2023.

It’s rare to see a story like this one, where a company that was around for so long grew from relative obscurity to being a true force in its space. How did Aldi do it? The answer is simple: Aldi dramatically improved the overall quality and diversity of its store inventory without giving up much ground on price. By improving what it sold, it went from being a “stock-up store” of middling items to a place where the food was actually pretty good.

Aldi’s PR department deserves an assist for cultivating the cult-like status Aldi enjoys, but without the solid base of product offerings, Aldi wouldn’t stand out from the rest of the small store crowd.

So much of what Aldi sells has gotten better in the last two decades. Overall, Aldi is now a great place to buy most of the staples you need.

That said, there is one glaring weakness in the Aldi lineup in the United States. It was a weakness when we started writing about Aldi in 2016, and it’s still a weakness now.

That area?

Personal hygiene.

If you’ve ever taken a look at the bath and toiletries section of your local store, you’ve probably noticed some things. One, most of it is national brands, a stark contrast to the rest of the store. Two, the prices aren’t all that great compared to other stores, also a marked contrast to the rest of the store.

Mediocre selection, few house brand options, and poor prices are a perfect storm of problems.

Take bath soap. Let’s say you want, you know, to have stuff to clean off your body when you’re in the shower. Aldi currently has just two options, a pair of house brand soap bars that are perfectly adequate but also not well priced. Meanwhile, the only body washes you’ll have at your disposal are national brands. Right now, for instance, I can get Suave body wash at Aldi, but at post time it is more expensive per ounce than the same product at my local Walmart.

Shampoo is no better. Aldi’s lone shampoo option is a decent imitation of Head and Shoulders, which means if you don’t have dandruff and want a conventional shampoo, you’ll be left once more with just a few name brand options such as Pantene that don’t provide any price advantage over other retailers, and they often cost more.

In terms of oral hygiene, Aldi does sell its own toothbrush, which we think has improved over the years, so there’s that. But its toothpaste and mouthwash are, yet again, name brands. And for reasons we’ve never been able to figure out, Aldi rarely carries dental floss.

And don’t even get me started on deodorant. My wife is perfectly fine with Secret, which Aldi carries, but I’ve never been an Old Spice guy, and that’s all Aldi offers. While I don’t expect generic deodorant — brand loyalty on the stuff is too high to allow for much house brand competition — having more than one option would be nice. As it stands, I’ve never purchased deodorant from Aldi.

Why Doesn’t Aldi Sell More Personal Care Products?

As I see it, there are three possibilities. Either Aldi doesn’t have the means to fix it, Aldi isn’t interested in fixing it, or Aldi doesn’t think it’s broken.

It’s possible Aldi doesn’t have the means to fix it — namely, that the store can’t find private label suppliers at a competitive price point. If Aldi can’t get the suppliers, it will default to the national brands. The prices will be higher, but at least Aldi will have some options (except dental floss!) on the shelves.

It’s also possible Aldi isn’t interested in fixing it. Aldi is a grocer, and perhaps that section just doesn’t generate enough sales to be worth the bother. The supermarket knows its data.

Alternatively, maybe it’s a feature, not a bug. Perhaps Aldi wants national brands here because something in their data says that’s best.

I couldn’t tell you what it is for sure, although if I had to hazard a guess I’d say that Aldi probably would like a private label solution but has struggled to work one out across the board. I think there is some evidence of this, given that Aldi has tried and later dropped both a Regular Buy body wash and Regular Buy shampoo. We’re not even talking Aldi Finds here — although the store does sometimes sell those, too — but everyday private label products that failed to stick. It’s perhaps telling when Aldi trots out everyday buys and then lets them lapse.

Some Competitors Have Figured it Out

This is the part that still makes me scratch my head. I mean, Walmart may be a titan in the retail space, but it’s got this part of its store figured out. Equate products cover a number of areas, and they’re generally decent quality. I don’t expect Aldi to be Walmart, but it’s not even close.

And then there’s Trader Joe’s. Aldi’s distant cousin shares the Aldi DNA of small inventory and mostly house brands, and yet TJ’s has managed to put together some options in areas Aldi can’t. The store sells a nifty 3-in-1 shampoo/conditioner/body wash, for example, and it does all right with its body wash and shampoo options. Better still, they’re all cheaper than the national brands Aldi sells.

Also, Aldi in Europe does sell personal care products under its Lacura house brand. In fact, some of our writers have used Lacura personal care products when they traveled overseas and stayed at European Airbnbs.

To me, that suggests there is a way to crack this code so that customers will buy. As awesome as Aldi in the U.S. is in many of its other spaces, this remains a spot where the store still has room to grow.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Co-founder of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at joshuaajohnston.com.


  1. Not being a pet owner I’m not qualified to say but I wonder if Aldi’s personal hygiene selection is in the same shape as their pet selection — incomplete coverage and a mix of name brands and uncompetitive house brands but far enough away from the core mission (or the big categories) that Aldi doesn’t feel the need to fix it.

  2. They still have the Lacura Lux Shampoo and Conditioner. Just used up a bottle–thought it was pretty good and super cheap!

  3. My skin is normal, not dry but if you DO have dry skin the Lacura day and night creams are super rich and moisturizing. I like the light water cream, too. I wish they had the selection of skincare in the States as they do in Europe-lots of dupes for high end creams, etc.

  4. Valerie B Williams

    You all are ignoring the main issue, which is the size of the stores. To have a real personal hygiene aisle, or any other specialty, they are going to have to build bigger stores. They’re not Walmart where you can get everything, they have certain things they do really well like produce, bakery, meat. They hopefully will never turn into a warehouse store full of cheap products. Get your body wash online or elsewhere.

    • The size of the store is not the problem. Aldi overseas and Trader Joe’s in the U.S. manage to have a solid selection of house brand personal hygiene items, including body wash. Aldi US, by contrast, has a slim selection that is disproportionately national brands that aren’t competitively priced, a stark contrast to the rest of the store. The fix is straightforward enough: find a way to stock more affordable, quality private label options.

      • Aldi Germany has a great selection of personal care products. They even had a soap bar with urea (great for dry hands) for about 2 euros and change.

    • I agree it’s not the size of the stores. They’re already shoehorning more different items into the stores than they did when I started shopping Aldi years ago. Where did that room come from? And around here most of the Aldis are brand new buildings. They could make them whatever size they wanted.

      They’ll make room for what sells. In my usual Aldi the AOS now runs both sides of two long aisles. If they offered a competitive selection of health and beauty aids that sold well they couldn’t take more space than the end cap sized space they take now?

      I’m okay with not buying everything at Aldi. I’m not looking for dozens of vitamins or eight kinds of bandaids. But having more than one choice for shampoo or shaving cream? That would be nice. And it doesn’t seem like asking for a lot.

  5. If I were asked to write a response to this question, I’d have to say, canned soups. Even with a small selection of Campbell’s soups in the mix, Aldi appears to offer the narrowest soup variety I’ve ever seen, surprising for this food staple.

  6. I used to do only occasional shopping at Aldi until I increased a couple years ago and now I go weekly. I never considered it a place where I get everything I need. I do what I call ‘Fill in’ shopping at other stores like Target, Walmart, and Woodmans every few months. There are certain items I like that Aldi doesn’t have like my favored brand of toothpaste, cornmeal, grape jam (they have only jelly) and shelf stable milk.

  7. Our particular store is relatively new and big and they are still working things out but there are a couple of things… they have Campbell Soup instead of Their Own and if they have their own once in a blue moon they only have one flavor. Their soup was better than any name brand and very good for the price. Also they don’t have chunky natural peanut butter at all and they don’t have large jars of natural smooth peanut butter but they do with commercial peanut butter. Also there’s some items they are not sure when or if they will come in. A few times they weren’t sure if they were even going to carry some items I asked about. I’m just talking it up to maybe it’s a trial and error kind of thing . This store moved down the street from it’s former location which was much smaller and the new layout is very confusing and as far as produce and any other cooled or frozen products location doesn’t make any sense. All cooled, refrigerated, and Frozen is up against the wall as you go around the store so if you walk in and you get produce by the time you get to the last aisle that includes frozen food your produce is not cool anymore especially if you go up and down every aisle and you’re ready to cash out. Hopefully they will work all this stuff out but I think what would be great would be if they left something for people to fill out to ask how they’re doing or any changes they would like them to make. Don’t get me wrong I really do love the store I always have and I tell everyone how good their own brand of food is and they have the best chocolate on the planet. Bring back Your own own brand of Reese’s cups in a clear box, please. But seriously I’m still going to shop there because I love the place and it’s new, got to be patient, and the prices, in my opinion are really good. And some things things I can’t get there I order from the web

    • >> All cooled, refrigerated, and Frozen is up against the wall [so] by the time you get to the last aisle that includes frozen food your produce is not cool anymore

      I don’t know where you live but in the upper Midwest where I live, that is a *very* common layout. The frozen food section at other stores often runs down the middle of the store, but produce 95% of the time is the first section you go through when you walk in (stores have found psychological benefits to that arrangement).

      I remember when Aldi didn’t merchandise *any* of their produce in coolers, so it’s already better than it was. I just bunch the cold stuff in the cart and make sure frozen is the last section I shop.

  8. Maybe seven years ago, Aldi began increasing the size of their existing stores (or building new stores with an enhanced footprint), all in response of the threat of their arch-rival, Lidl, coming to this country.

  9. Aldi stores in Germany, England (Europe general) have amazing variety hygiene products. I was surprised not to find them in USA.

  10. It might be a matter of slim profit margins on those items. Lidl has a very small personal hygiene section as well, but the quality seems a bit better. I’ve bought face wash, floss, and shampoo at Lidl. But don’t remember ever buying any kind of similar products at Aldi. Another issue is that Aldi’s toilet paper and paper towel section is uncharacteristically large and diverse. For a store that prides itself on limiting duplicate selections of the same product, it’s surprising to see 5 kinds of toilet paper.
    Personally, I’d like to see Aldi ditch personal hygiene altogether. When I need those products, a 5 minute visit to CVS or Walgreens is all it takes.

  11. Aldi carries almost everything we need. We recently bought a great boxed wine and enjoy it very much!

  12. I used to buy men’s body wash at Aldi. It came in a blue plastic container. It was made in Germany and had the Aldi’s private label, Lacura. I liked the product a lot because it was much more economical than the national brands that they currently carry.

  13. Dave,

    “Used to…” Why did you stop using it?

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