What’s Up With Aldi’s Deli Cheese and Lunch Meat Packaging?

We’ve been writing long enough to see Aldi make all kinds of tweaks to its food products. While some of those changes have been a letdown, most of them have been for the better. We think that, overall, Aldi is a better place to shop for food now than it was ten years ago.

Usually, though, when we talk about Aldi food products, we’re talking about the food itself. As in, the actual food we eat. It’s less common that we’re talking about the packaging, because most of the time Aldi does a pretty good job with that part.

Most of the time.

Starting in early 2019 or thereabouts, Aldi — or whatever vendor Aldi goes to for these particular products — decided to redesign the packaging for its Happy Farms Deli Sliced Cheese. The old packaging was a plastic bag with a Ziploc-style opening. The new packaging is a soft plastic cover over a harder plastic shell that involves pressing the soft plastic back down on the hard plastic to seal it.

The current look for Happy Farms Deli Cheese Slices. The packaging isn’t happy at all. (Click to enlarge.)

The problem is that the packaging doesn’t work. And by doesn’t work, I mean that it isn’t effective. At all.

The underlying problem isn’t hard to figure out. This resealable packaging relies on a bit of reusable adhesive, rather than the physics of a plastic zip system, to keep everything sealed up. That adhesive doesn’t do nearly as good of a job in keeping the cheese sealed up as the old system did.

This doesn’t work. (Click to enlarge.)

The consequence? In our experience, this cheese goes bad a lot faster than our cheese did in the old containers. When we’ve left it in the fridge as is, it tends to dry out or go moldy well before it should. And we’re not alone. People have e-mailed us. Friends have told us. I had a co-worker explicitly bring up this package at lunch. This is not a small problem.

Of note: some of Aldi’s lunch meats, including several under the Lunch Mate label and Never Any! label, also currently use this resealable design. It’s equally ineffective. The meat tends to go slimy or dry out a lot faster, especially the meat on top, closest to the poor seal.

We do have a solution: we’ve been packaging our meat and cheese in a Tupperware-style container. That seems to work well in preserving our meats and cheeses … but, in my opinion, I shouldn’t have to. The packaging itself ought to be designed to keep things fresh. And it’s not like that kind of packaging doesn’t exist. It does.

I know, because Aldi used to use it.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Editor-in-Chief of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at www.joshuaajohnston.com.

15 Comments

  1. I wish that they would consider reusable packaging like the containers the meat comes in. I reuse these all the time instead of just throwing them out, which to me is a big perk!

    • I buy the deli meat in the tubs with the red lids BECAUSE I want the container, lol But I think they no longer have that packaging.

  2. If you look carefully, you will see that this packaging is not recyclable either.

  3. Have you written to Aldi to ask why they made this change? Seems like it would be more expensive and may even lead to higher transportation costs.

    I hope it’s temporary, but for now, I’ll get my cheese at Lidl which is 2 blocks away from my Aldi. Food Depot has very good and inexpensive deli cheeses too.

    • We haven’t yet. I have a sneaking suspicion on what the response would be, but if anyone feels enterprising, they can be contacted here: http://www.aldi.us/contact/.

      • Thanks! I sent them a message and I’ll let you know what they tell me.

      • Well that was disappointing. I received the following auto-reply:

        August 19, 2019

        Case # 1601154

        Thank you for contacting us.

        ALDI is committed to bringing our customers the highest quality products, and reviewing our customers’ feedback is an important part of our quality assurance process.

        This item is covered by our Twice as Nice Guarantee and we will gladly replace the product AND refund your money. Please present the package and remaining product to the store manager for our Twice as Nice Guarantee – a replacement product and a refund of the purchase price.*

        In the future, if for any reason you are not completely satisfied with any product, please return the packaging, remaining product and receipt of purchase to the store to receive the Twice as Nice Guarantee – a refund and replacement.* A replacement or refund will be offered for non-food ALDI Finds, alcohol or national brands. In addition, some of our ALDI exclusive brands and national brand offerings are covered by a manufacturers’ limited warranty. Please consult the instruction manual or warranty card that came with the product to determine how to make a warranty claim. Please note, state law may prohibit the replacement or refund of alcohol.

        We value your business, and we thank you for taking the time to provide us with your feedback.

        Kind regards,

        ALDI Customer Service

        • That’s pretty much along the lines of what I suspected. That doesn’t mean they won’t change the packaging at some point, but for now, that’s about all they’ll say.

  4. I wish you would add dairy free cheese (similar to Daiya) for the many who are lactose intolerant. I recently noted you had dairy free ice cream and when I tried to buy some, the store manager said it sold out as fast as they put it in the case. I told him perhaps he should get more of it and he said he only could get what they sent him and had no control of the amount I think these issues are not consumer friendly. I have to go to Wal-Mart or Wegmans and those stores are too big. I like the size of your stores but not all of the non food, health or household items (seasonal junk – but I guess that is the money maker for Aldi.

  5. This is especially a problem for older shoppers. My husband cannot get it closed. Moldy cheese is not appetizing and ends up meaning extra cost. So I’m moving the cheese to a zip lock bag.

    Glad to see this problem addressed. I’ve considered not buying it and going to the Bigbox store across the street. Not good!

  6. I suspect this is a sustainability thing. While the packaging is not recyclable, I suspect it is made with recycled plastic (which is likely what makes it non-recyclable), which was not the case with the plastic bag packaging.

    if that is the case, I applaud Aldi, as I think all food manufacturers need to be doing more in that regard. That said, the packaging still needs to seal shut. The resealable strip on the specially select black forest ham and oven roasted turkey seems to work fine. Not sure why this one doesn’t.

    I’ve got a new set of beeswax wraps coming. Will be using these to properly seal my cheese!

    • The one’s I’ve tried seal OK. The problem is all the trapped air, which results in dried out cheese. I ended up just putting it into my own ziplock bags which undermines the “sustainablity” effort. Regardless, I now just get my cheese from Lidl and Food Depot, which are similarly priced as Aldi’s cheese.

  7. Hello! Thank you for posting this! I just came from Aldi without the packaged cheese. I got quite upset. We would we need 11 slices packaged in hard shell. That is really MY question. I find it ridiculous. I emailed the corporate. The use of plastic is outrageous. Same applies to spaghetti sauce that got “upgraded “ to plastic. I am only buying the organic one which is still in a glass.

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