* Prices may differ from that shown
TOO MANY FAULTS TO LIST
JUST AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE
This store is superb on all levels. It is cheap, incredibly cheap compared to the major supermarkets and the overall quality of food is excellent.
I have been shopping at Lidls for many years and I feel their standards only seem to get better each year and the range of food increases each year. The in house bakery is superb and the bread and muffins are the best outside of a village bakery if not better. The muffins especially are beautiful, fresh and lovely flavour.
The store holds all the food one would need, however it certainly doesnt hold everything that you would want specifically, which is its downfall, as albeit I shop here regularly I still find I have to go to other shops to get extra bits and bobs. I do however cook intricate meals alot and hence the ingredients I need cant be bought in this one store.
They sell not only food, but toiletries, freshly cut flowers, and an array of items either for the home or clothing or random items sometimes including electrical goods but these are weekly offers and they change each week. Therefore if you see something advertised or in store you need to get it there and then otherwise its most probably likely it wont be coming back and once its gone its truely gone.
The store appears to work with british farms and hence sell british only meat which is a bonus point. They could however enlarge their free range selection dramatically which would entice even more people in.
They sell branded items for a cheaper price and their own brands which can sometimes be foreign but again are overall good quality.
The store has trolleys and baskets however the trolleys need a pound coin to release or a token and the store sells carrier bags but none are free. This of course is good as it encourages people to use their own bags, helping the environment but bags can be purchased on varying levels from basic but thick carriers to freezer bags.
I have found excellent seafood ranges in Lidl before and interesting items such as game pie and pigeon which you dont tend to find in mainstream supermarkets so again they have a unique quality about them.
In conclusion an excellent store, cheap still maintaining excellent quality.
Always looked down my nose at Lidless but having read that they are taking customer share from the big boys. I was driving past a store and called in out of curiosity. Some of the stuff I wouldn't buy and I will still do the main shop at Sainsburys but there are some good quality products genre. Try their Italiano pizzas, and I just love the jelly beans! They are equally as good as the gourmet ones in Sainsburys and half the price. Also recommend fresh fruit and veg, and they seem to stock a lot of local produce. Swallow the prejudice and visit. You will be pleasantly surprised
Since my husband has been made redundant, I now shop around very often to find the best deals which I why I now shop at all the supermarket no matter how far they are. I recently did a review on Aldi and now I will be doing a review on Lidl.
****The store itself****
The store itself was just like Aldi, as it was nicely organised. However unlike Aldi, I only had a choice between a basket and large trolley so I decided to take the larger trolley as I struggle carrying heavy loads by hand. The store itself had lots of parking and it’s free for 3 hours so there was no need for me to rush my shopping.
Like Aldi, the prices were really cheap but unlike Aldi, it didn’t have the super 6 but the prices were still much cheaper than the other supermarkets! Also, Lidl sells quite a few branded products whereas Aldi didn’t. I particularly like the chocolate aisle which had a very wide variety of chocolate which much cheaper prices as I found lots of chocolates at below 50p and these won’t just plain chocolate; there were hazelnut chocolate, crunchy chocolate etc…
Their bakery section was also excellent as they had many good products at excellent prices such as burger bun which were 5 for 50p, French baguettes which were 2 for £1, a ciabatta or tiger loaf for just 75p. The pastry section was also to die for as they sold double chocolate chip cookie at 4 for £1, almond croissants at 3 for £1 etc…
****The good points****
I’ve never bought any products which I’ve found disgusting from Lidl as they are all high quality products which taste excellent!
****The bad points****
Like Aldi, the tills were exactly the same design so there is no area to pack your bags however at the end of the store they were shelves so you can pack your bags using them. Also, we have to pay for bags but since I shopped with them beforehand, I knew I would need to bring bags anyway.
I would 100% definitely recommend Lidl as they have a large range of products with excellent prices!
Treated APPALINGLY by the manager and duty manger in the Caerphilly road store cardiff on the 12/1/14 for pointing out the fact it was more polite to show me where a product was rather then a point across the shop and reply ( over there somewhere ) in a complete can't be assed taking tone by the duty manager named Toni! After I told her I been looking for the last 10 minutes. Then when I ask her to show me her reply word for word was ( can't you see I'm busy) Sorry love but all I seen you doing was sitting on your backside casually putting labels on food near there sell by date, Then both managers decide it funny to giggle and laugh as I leave the store! The strangest thing was that there were products similar to the one I wanted right in front of her behind the stack of crates she was next to yet it took an elderly lady (another customer) to point that fact out for me, I hope your reading this as I'm taking this as far as I can! And making it my mission to ruin your reputation and write as many bad reviews as humanly possible Intill I'm satisfied you've been dealt with accordingly!! I have never in my life been treated so badly and left a store feeling as angry and upset as i did. Even two shoppers who followed me out could not believe there attitude towards me, I hope lidl buck up there ideas and maybe give manager jobs to staff who actually want and deserve them! The security guy and young lady at the till were fantastic and could not have been more polite!
People not familiar with Aldi and Lidl will normally ask 'which one is best'. That's a bit like trying to compare Tesco to Asda (or any other supermarket for that matter). They are both supermarkets, have similar layouts and both sell food. It's the subtle differences that attract loyalty, for example, location, range of products, loyalty cards, customer service, offers. Aldi and Lidl are the same, there are lots of similarities but also differences.
Stores are smaller than traditional supermarkets and you'll only find 1 type of strawberry jam as opposed to the 7 you'll get in tesco. It can be difficult to change your way of thinking, but less choice can be good ad it means you faff around less.
At the checkout, you are expected to put your shopping straight back in the trolley and either pack near the exit or in your car. It is a bit of a rush, but keeps queues moving, which is great if you have children, who, like mine, are normally fed up by this point. The checkouts are designed so that there isn't much space for your shopping on the checkout once it has been scanned, so you don't have the opportunity to dither.
Lack of decor - the stores aren't pretty. If you've been to an Ikea restaurant, you will see a sign, which says 'we ask you to clear up after yourself so our staff can focus on other things. This means we can keep our prices low'. The same principal applies to Aldi and Lidl. Don't be put off if you see a pallet of Heinz beans on the shop floor - they taste the same as ones from Sainsburys.
Don't forget to bring your own bags, otherwise you will have to pay 3p or 9p for a bag. The big plastic reusable ones are handy, as you'll see below.
Go with an open mind - my other half dubious about trying brands he hasn't heard of, but I said to him, 'let's give a few products a try and if you don't like them, we dont have to get them again'. We now have products we prefer to the leading brands.
Aisle of junk - both stores have one. They have change the range every few weeks. It could be stationary, then gardening, crafting, cycling, diy. I've seen bongos next to poker chips. Really random, but can be a treasure hunt.
In London, there seem to be way more Lidl stores than Aldi. I have 3 on one road near me.
Some stores have an in house bakery and you can get croissants for 19p (haven't tried them, but they look nice).
They have weekend meat offers but my local stores seem to sell out before they are even put out on the shelf.
Stored look quite scruffy
Have a wider range of cleaning products like Lidl own brand, flash, domestics and clout bang. I think Aldi only has its own brand (although I could be wrong).
Seem a to have more products overall than Lidl.
The super 6 fruit and veg is a great offer. Lidl have only just cottoned onto this but still have a way to go before they catch up.
Stores are closer to the traditional supermarkets design than Lidl.
Go with an open mind. Start with products that don't have an obvious leading brand like eggs, milk and meats. You probably won't be able to tell that your spaghetti Bolognese was made with Aldi tinned tomatoes and your children won't know their sandwiches were made with ham from Lidl.
Take your own plastic bags, otherwise you will have to pay 3p or 9p for a bag. I take the big heavy duty ones and I stand them up in the trolley. As I unload them onto the conveyor belt, I sort them as I want to pack - tins, cleaning products, meats etc with fruit and veg last. It means I can packs as I go along as my bags are open in the trolley.
They often have cardboard boxes in store - they are free to take and handy if you don't have enough plastic bags.
The leaflets at the exits tell you what offers are in store. Neither store had promotional items at the end of their aisles, so offers aren't always obvious.
My shopping bill in cheaper if i go to Lidl/Aldi and then top up at one of the big 4.
Overall, I prefer Aldi, but that could be because the store closest to me is only a year old, so it's still a bit of a novelty. There are some products that I can only get in Lidl though. I'm lucky because both stores are reasonably close to me, so I will continue to do both.
There has been a Lidl just a five minute drive away from where I live for about the last five years and I am so annoyed that I have just discovered the savings that can be made!
Due to working almost full time, I usually do the weekly shop on line with either Sainsbury's or Tesco but due to having had no wage rise for three years, every bill possible going up and the price of the weekly shop just getting higher and higher, drastic measures are called for.
I started seeing the bonus of Lidl initially when I dropped in for bread. Similar loaves to which I often pay up to £1.50 for in Sainsbury's are a pound. I refuse to pay £1.50 for a loaf of bread especially as a family of four we get through 4 loaves a week. So this in itself is a saving of a couple of quid a week.
Whilst going in for bread I would take a look at other bits and pieces and found there was quite a lot we could make savings on. Took quite a while to get my husband on board with shopping at a no frills shop as secretly he is a bit of a label snob but he now spends more time dawdling round the aisles than I do! He finds it hilarious that you can be looking at tinned stuff one second and then very close to the tuna there will be random bottles of beer or some hardware item like garden tools next to it. Its a bit like a car boot grocery store! It often stocks his favourite cider Rekorderlig though as well as other good value alcohol at much cheaper prices than the regular supermarkets so I think that swung it for him. Tesco express has lost out big time. If we need milk or the odd bits he is straight there in the car.
~~~So why is Lidl different to the main supermarkets we all know and frequent like zombies?~~~
Its back to basics. There is no fancy shelf lay out and costs are kept to a minimum. There are some brands of things that you may not recognise and its a matter of trial and error to see if the taste or quality is for you. There are also branded things in store and sometimes these are cheaper. Sometimes not.
One of the main differences is at the checkout and this is something you need to be aware of or you could be caught out.
Carriers are charged for so take your own!
No credit cards are accepted so you must have cash or debit card.
The cashiers go very fast so if you are doing a big shop, just shove everything back in your trolley and go to the back of the store where there is an area you can take your time loading your purchases into your bags.
~~~An idea of prices~~~
Potatoes 2.5Kg £1.99
3 pack of Pizzas £2.69
Garlic Bread £1.15
4 pint skimmed milk £1.00
Hovis wholemeal 99p
Hovis thick white 99p
Luxury Mueseli £1.49
Vanilla ice cream £1.99
Plain flour 45p
Peppermint tea 99p
Sunflower seeds £1.19
Cien handcream £1.25
This is obviously just a few items that I have bought. I can't really comment on the meat as i use a local butcher for all my meat but will occasionally buy chicken breasts at Lidl if I have run short and they are fine.
I can't always get everything that I need at Lidl but each time I go I am finding something else that I can add to my regular shopping trip there. There have been a couple of things that I wouldn't buy again like their own brand chewing gum and basic tea bags but there are some things that are regularly saving me money. Wine, bread, beer and basics such as sugar, pasta, flour and passata are good buys.
Fruit and veg is good and I wouldn't hesitate to buy these.
The bread section is especially good as they have their own in house bakery and you can get freshly made buns, croissants and paninis etc.
The kids (grown up kids) prefer their pizzas to Sainsbury's!
It's worth having a look at their offer leaflets or on line as they regularly update offers on various items and run themes like Bathroom items (coming up this Monday 9th September, dressing gowns, slippers shower heads and leisure wear on good offers. Told you it was a bit random!
I have noticed in the short time that I have been shopping at Lidl that it is slowly but surely getting busier and busier. I can probably knock £20 - £30 a week off my weekly shopping bill and will continue to do so.
My days of thinking of my clubcard points alone are long gone when I can make those kinds of savings!
Thanks for reading.
All i can say is blame it on the giant baked pretzel!
I'm only a recent convert to Lidl. I'd tried them in the past and found the range of food stocked to be too narrow. I'm veggie and don't want to go to half a dozen stores to assemble the ingredients for just one meal. Then, after hearing for the umpteenth time that the average family of four spend just £54 a week on groceries, I decided to try again to reduce my weekly shop. So, a trip to Lidl it was.
First up the flowers. Good choice and at prices low enough to treat yourself should your shop be cheap enough to celebrate. Then the sweeties and biscuits. A good range of naughty things. Easy to get distracted here especially by the own brand 60% cocoa chocolate. You have been warned. Up next the bakery and this is where I became acquainted with the giant baked pretzel. Delicious beyond its 45p price tag. This item, like a good many in the store, comes from the in store bakery. This is a modest oven on the shop floor where a good range of breads are baked during the day. These are quality items - granary loaves, pumpkin seed rolls, croissants..... All excellent and at keen prices. You'll also find some prepared bakery goods here too - these are more variable - the granary sliced loaf and naan bread get a thumbs up but the crumpets and scotch pancakes are a tad mean in size and lacking in flavour.
Next in my store comes the fruit and veg. A good choice and reasonable quality at prices undercutting the supermarket. I found most of what I needed here though I still prefer to use a market. What is best though is the bagged salad. Mine has lasted well and at 25 to 40p less than the supermarkets, I can buy an extra bag for the week.
The dairy products and cooked meats are an area Lidl are known for. The yogurts are nice though the choice is a bit limited. The sliced cheeses are excellent and the milk is the cheapest I have seen. The meat eater in my life was impressed with his sliced beef too. On the veggie front things had looked up since I last visited. I was happy to find free range eggs on sale at prices less than the supermarket , cous-cous, brown pasta, nuts and seeds and basmati rice. I was surprised to find Quorn mince and pieces in the freezer as well as Linda McCartney sausages.
So, enough choice in the store to keep me going for a week at under £50. Perhaps not enough choice for Lidl to be my only supermarket, but the pretzels alone are worth a return trip.
Until recently, I would not use Lidl due to some of my female friends saying that they never go there to shop.
I never asked them why, I just took them on their word.
Then, a few months ago, when it was snowing badly, I had to walk to get food supplies. The nearest shop was Lidl.
So, with great trepidation, I walked into the store. Boy was I surprised by the prices I saw.
I could barely carry the bags home - I had bought THAT much !! (and I'm no lightweight fella - big biker type).
Since that day I have done my main shop there every week.
I then realised that the females that had advised me not to shop there were ALL shopping snobs. They complain bitterly about the money they spend on food, but will not try to save by savvy shopping. (typical lol). I realised this when they all told me that they refused to buy reduced price items :(
OK - Lidl does not have a massive selection, but it is more than enough to satisfy most people.
Some of the brands you will not recognise, but most are known brands but with different (overseas) packaging.
The wines & spirits section is not vast, but what there is, is blummin' cheap. White Rum for only £8.99 !!!!!
Pizzas - 3 for £1.79. Eggs - dead cheap. Hovis - £1.00. Flour, milk, sugar, fruit, veggies, meat, fish, fresh bread .....
Oh heck - I could go on for ages here.
Then there are the discounts.
Every week they have weekend specials. Items reduced by 50%.
Their daily reductions. Items reduced by 30%
They recently had Nescafe 300 gramme jars for only £3.49 ... I mean ..... have you ever heard of such a cheap price ????
They do a great price reduction catalogue every week too. They tell you what is coming up on sale over the next few weeks, so you can plan your shops.
Their hardware items are not to ignored either. Every week, new offers. Drills, tools, camping, footware, cooking equipment, bedding, clothes, the list goes on. This weeks bargain for me was tins of a butane mix gas. I get trade discount so, for large tins, I pay £3.49 + VAT. Lidl had them on sale for £2.99 each !!!!
I bought 12 tins :)
Trust me - visit Lidl every week .... you'll come out clutching a bargain.
The staff are friendly. Once they see you as a regular shopper, you get a 'hello bud' from them. They are helpful, even though they are overworked. You never see them stood around doing nothing. Probably because there are so few of them.
The only thing I can complain about is the tills. It's a race between the till operator and packing. On your marks, get ready, go!
Overall - I have to say that Lidl is the best store chain that I have visited. A lot of their prices are better than warehouses.
Give them a try. Don't be a snob. You'll be glad that you did.
A new supermarket near me
As a non driver I have to admit proximity dies play a part in where I shop - so when a new Lidl store opened on my way home from town I was a little bit pleased.
Lidl is a budget supermarket, and as a chain of European descent it stocks a lot of brands that I would have historically connected to shopping on the continent. (For example they stock more kinder products than you could shake a stick at)...
Like most supermarkets this chain has a choice of trolleys, all of which are easy to steer (that'll change in another 6 months or so I suppose)... The supermarket itself has only four isles, and a 'back wall' however it does carry enough stock to do a basic weekly shop. This may differ for you if you have special dietary requirements (they have no 'free from' ranges as far as I have seen)...
The store has always been clean, and tidy when I have gone in, and the staff are generally really helpful - although there aren't that many on the shop floor (not surprising to be honest the shop is small)...
General things to note are that you do have to pay for bags - this is one of the ways that they keep prices down. (I often pick up a box or two in the vegetable isle). The till assistants, scan and you are kind of expected to pack at the pace they scan (this is a new store, and they have yet to start to 'race' me so they are a bit slower than in more established stores).
However if you need time to pack as you wish they have a bench behind the tills so you can sort your bits out when you are done.
They have once made a small mistake on my bill - only noticed when I got home. When I called through to customer services (in a bit of a mood) the woman who answered my call was great - so very helpful, and nice I was stunned (it'd been one of those weeks when each time I ordered something on-line or had to call the bank etc the call would take about an hour)... This really was a huge surprise, and they get 10*s for customer services on that occasion.
I do give the store 5*'s as they really do pack some real bargains.
Feel free to read on for the low down on some of the sections of the store - however if you don't have one locally feel free to zone out now...
You enter (in my store this may differ) on the chocolate / bakery isle. They have a small selection of flowers, and do have a stock of cereals, and musili type bars. They tend to stock 'own brand' products, or products that are known better on the continent, but they do have the odd British product thrown in (Cadburys chocolate for example). The bakery section has a wide choice of breads - sliced and packaged, and baked in store with Danish, and crunchy offerings available.
We then move onto fruit and vegetables. I have never had any issues with the quality or freshness of their products, they have a good range of basic items, as well as seasonal fruits - and vegetables available. They may not have all of the weird and wonderful items that some supermarkets get (physilis), but they do have a nice wide range (apples, oranges, pomelos, pineapples etc).
They have quite a good selection of tinned goods. The different choices are limited though - they have one choice of chopped tinned tomatoes, and one whole tinned tomatoes for example. These are better quality in my mind than 'basics' ranges and were last time I checked cheaper than those options also. (I personally like this - I don't need to be looking at 12 different choices of this type of staple - and anything that makes sopping quicker in my mind is the way forward).
They offer tea, coffees, and juices. They often have brands that I recognise like Kenco coffee, and tetley tea bags as well as cheaper options from their own ranges. The ones I have tried have been nice, and are really cheap compared to larger supermarkets...
They stock choices of snacks, and crisps, and the jelly / hard boiled sweets are here, rather than with the chocolate. (Some of the lay out is a bit mad in my eyes, but it does work)...
They have 'seasonal items' available... So recently they were stocking things Christmas themed, and at other points have had items such as slippers, pyjamas, children's books, DVD's, bird feeders, and general household bite. The key here is to pick up things as you see them, because each time I go in these isle seem to be populated with different items. (They produce a news letter that will tell you what will be available 'soon', and these in my store are situated by the doors on the way out - they also deliver these to local homes). My sister bought a coat for 'play time' at school for £14.99 - so they do have some real bargains...
They stock all sorts of other bits that you will require, and I have always found the cleaning products to be really good. The only section that I feel is a bit lacking is the toiletries section. They have continental brands - but they can be pricey, and they do lack choices. As my store is next door to a store that stocks branded toiletries really reasonably priced so for me this is not an issue - but it is something to bear in mind...
LiDL - A supermarket that certainly seems to be up and coming at the moment! It seems to be currently travelling in parallel with the success of many other 'cheap' high street stores, selling not only food but toiletries, clothing, garden and home accessories, children's toys and many other sundries that you don't realise you want or need until you see them.
I believe with certainty that everyday products such as milk, bread and certain frozen produce can be purchased here for a lower than standard price without sacrifcing quality. Smilarly, I believe meat, fruit and vegetables bought from LiDL are probably of a superior quality and certainly a more competitive price than other mainstream supermarkets.
A lot of frozen produce, chocolates, sweets, drinks are also just as acceoptable to the tastebuds but may simply suffer with poorer packaging - for food and drink this is not a problem, please do not let this alone put you off. On many many items you are buying a very similar product to that which you may usually purchase on your grocery shop(blindfolded you probably wouldn't know the difference!), but at a fraction of the price.
However, in the case of many other items it can be a case of trial and error until you realise which of their product you actualy like. I give examples of many tinned produce such as beans, spaghetti, soup - in my experience these have tasted different, and not for the better. I think their soup was quite possibly the worst I have ever tasted! Also LiDL'S cooking sauces and condiment sauces are also a matter of taste.
I think once you have been several times, you know what you can happily buy from here and for what you need to go to your regular supermarket.
The actual shopping experience is not that enjoyable, no music to leisurely stroll around the aisles to, no particular organisation to the produce, huge queues at the checkout, and products literally scanned and thrown back into your trolley when you do get there! - It actually made me a bit panicky!
However, if these are the only downfalls of saving a reasonable amount of money off your weekly shop, then I think they are pretty acceptable.
All in all I would recommend LiDL for either a top-up shop or as an addition to your regular supermarket for certain items, but I personally couldn't do my full weekly shop there. Nice to have a nosy now and again though!
Lidl are commonly referred to as a budget supermarket, with some claiming prices are cheaper than Asda and Tescos. I visited for the first time last week with this advice in mind.
First impressions on walking in was that it felt like being in continental Europe for the style of shopping and the large range of foreign products available. I felt that the fruit and vegetables were good value for money compared to Tescos especially with raspberries for £1! The bakery I didn't make use of except for a "30% cheaper" Hovis loaf which did come to a fairly good price but was still more than £1 for the loaf.
I enjoyed the feel of the store as it reminded me of being abroad but I found that there was no real logical organisation of shelves, fridges and freezers. Not recognising any of the butter brands I opted for the cheapest one and it is the saltiest butter I have ever tried so not sure we'll be buying that one again!
There are a lot of own brand products which are pretty cheap but for branded products they are pretty much the same as other stores. You have to pay a pound for a trolley, so make sure to have a pound with you. The checkout assistant at my local in Stafford was incredibly helpful and friendly, offering me a box to carry my stuff home in (as I was walking and predictably bought too much!)
I saw that someone hadn't shut the freezer properly which I can understand as the mechanism was not very well designed but this made me concerned that the staff hadn't noticed this!
Four Carlsbergs were £3.19 which I considered a good deal compared to other stores! Overall I spent £26 in store for fruit and veg, a few frozen meals, a pack of Carlsberg and some essentials which I consider an okay price but not that much cheaper than average stores.
In the future I would buy from Lidl if they were convenient to me, but the Lidl is actually slightly further away from my house than Tesco and Sainsburies so I wouldn't go out of my way to go there as I primarily went for the offer of lower prices and I am satisfied with Tescos for the deals!
Back in 1994 there were rumours of a new phenomenon flying around the country. Tales of a new supermarket originally from Germany that offered extremely low prices was rumoured to have the likes of Tesco and Asda quaking in their cut price shoes.
They were a novelty, you could wander in and look at these jars of pickled vegetables long before there were Polish supermarkets. Long before the Poundworlds they were stocking strange generic health and beauty products such as 'Washyourhair' and 'Stinkysmells' for men. But now they are everywhere their cheery yellow signs pulling us in. But the age old question remains, is it worth a trip?
Amazingly in a Lidl you cant get a basket necessitating popping a pound in for a small trolley. All of course to blackmail you into buying more rather than be embarrassed by the tub of Greek yoghurt and bananas that seem to occupy an extremely small corner of the trolley making you look a bit of a cheapskate.
Contrary to every other supermarket I've ever been in Lidls always seem to have their soft drinks as soon as you walk in. I personally tried lemonade then found it was much better employed as getting the paint off my interior doors. There's loads of different cartons of juice, very occasionally they have offers but to be honest I'm not convinced about the price or quality.
They also have these huge tins of Chilli Con Carne or Bolognese for about a £1. Now I've never actually seen anyone buy these and can only say its a good job that food has to be labelled as otherwise I'm not sure that I would believe what this and other products purpose to have in as regards what meat in it and how much!
I'll put their confectionery and bakery together. There's a lot of German and Swiss products there which can taste rather odd sometimes. European chocolate is very different to the UK stuff. There's a lot of those butter biscuits with sugar grains on top, marzipan flavoured cakes with icing sugar and lots of Swiss chocolate. They used to do a lovely chocolate bar with Smartie type beans in it, but alas no more. I will mention that their bread isn't cheaper than the supermarkets!
They have a very small fridge section which is mostly taken up with various types of yoghurt and cottage cheese. Don't buy your Muller Lights here though they always announce they are on special offer, they're always more expensive than elsewhere. Their ready made lasagne is the best of its kind that I've tasted. Of course there's a good range of salami and continental sausages.
There's a small pet and household cleaning section, not that cheap and now completely redundant with the rise of the pound shops.
Perhaps the oddest thing about Lidl is their rows of goods down the middle of the shop. It changes every Thursday and usually follows no rhyme or reason but is sometimes season based. In winter there will be skiing equipment, goggles and the like. Not much call for those in the area of Manchester I live in! In summer there's lots of camping and seaside things such as wind breakers, camping saucepans. Now you can usually find a bargain here.
The rest of the stuff is very varied, flat pack chest of drawers (cheaper in Argos), art supplies (cheaper in Poundland) and various DIY products (more expensive than B &Q and Poundland). Do you see a theme here? Of course they still sell 'Washyourhair' and 'Stinkysmells' and loads of other lotions and potions. The booze is fairly small, though it does have quite a few bottled ales and occasionally offers on the likes of Carlsberg. There are of course spirits to be had 'Gotrut' and 'Cirrhosis', seriously though that's what they'll probably do to you. However to the wary they look just like other own brand spirits.
Their wines however can be a lot more palatable. They do my absolute favourite South African Pinotage at less than £4 a bottle. A few other people know the quality of this wine so I tend to buy 6 or so bottles when I go there.
I mostly go in there for the fresh meat or fruit and veg. They do the most extraordinary good value, sometimes a packet of pork chops or chicken breasts for under £4. Their fruit and veg is reasonably priced as well.
Lidl was also the first supermarket to introduce paying for your carrier bag as well, an idea that caused some consternation at first and must have made the company an absolute fortune till everyone came around to the idea AND remembered to bring their own.
As can be seen I'm not impressed I still think its trading on the myth that its cheaper than the other shops, in my experience it isn't except on a few items, most of which is negated by the pound shops.
The shelves are always stocked, the stores are always clean, and the staff helpful and polite. Apart the fact that they stick the stuff straight back into your trolley and you have to go pack it yourself. Another novelty!
A novelty is precisely what Lidl is and not a viable alternative to other supermarkets.
Today I had my first shopping experience at Lidl and I must say I was quite impressed. As I no longer life with my parents shopping on a budget is really important, an on a recommendation of a friend I decided to test out my local Lidl. On first entering the shop it did seem to have a small selection of products but the aisles were wide leaving plenty of space to browse. I always find the browsing part hard in your more popular supermarkets as you do tend to push and shove with other people, so the relaxed atmosphere to shopping was brill.
First of all I will say this was only a quick shop so I didnt really look at every part of the shop but did try and browse around.
I had an idea of what I needed to buy in my head and had a good shop around. first on my list was fruit and veg, Although they did not have a wide selection they did have the basics which were very reasonably priced or had offers on them, Some of the more in demand fruit and veg also came in bumper packs which i took advantage of. A found a big bag of washed white spuds for £2.49, a bag of onions(about 8 in a bag) for 69p both a bargain. Next was bread I got myself a loaf of bread for 49p and a selection of breadbaps 5 for 75p and there was a great selection to choose from. As I made my ways down to the fridges I was quite lost among the unfamiliar brands, there was only a smattering of top brands so I did find this part tricky and didnt get much chilled Items. Most of the items looked like they were either cheap brands or brands from different contries which did put me off a bit. I did pop in a 4 pint of milk for a £1 which is the cheapest I've found anywhere and a pack of childrens yoghurts which I have just tasted and found really yummy and sure my nephew will enjoy. Next was the meat counter which was very small and did not much to choose from but I grabbed a pack of Mince 500gm for £1.99 something else I havent found cheap anywhere else. I did intend to buy some fizzy pop but was a little put off by the lack of popular brands, they did have there own 'freeway' pop but I wasnt brave enough to try, cheap pop lets face it is hard to swallow. In the middle of the store was the shop specials which included anything from furnature to clothes, I had a browse and did see some rather good items for a great price but did not buy anything. I moved onto the tin isle and cooking sauces and agian saw a few branded item but not many. I did pick up some things and consider them but was put off my the own branded items, I think I was being a bit picky with it being my first shop there. I had a browse on the frozen section and was quite impressed I couldnt believe my eyes at some of the things they had, like whole frozen lobsters, cant say I have every come across these at ASDA.
One thing I also noticed was the lack of staff around to help you, although I didnt need any help, there is a certain amount of comfort in knowing of you need it its there, in fact the onyl staff member I remember seeing was at the check out.
One thing that really got me ticked off was the fact that I had to purchase my own shopping bags, 3p a bag for a small bag 9p for a larger bag. Im all for saving the environment, but I think having to purchase your own bags is a bit daft (no I didnt buy my own I remembered I had some in the car). The shop was also quite busy and they only had one till open which made me feel a bit rushed by the people stacking up behind me . Also the end of the checkout had one squre inch of space were the operator left your shopping so I realised that packing your bags as you go wasnt an option, I guess the idea is for you to put your items back in your trolley and pack away from the till, which must be a pain for anyone will more than a few items.
Lidl did offer some good items at a very cheap price, you cant go much wrong with their fruit and veg offers. The wide isles was a bonus and the relaxed atmosphere was good but I would have liked to have seen more staff around. There was not much to choose from which is the ideal for anyone who doesnt like making decisions but for me I like a bit of variety. another critisism is the lack of top brands avaliable to buy, now im not at all fussy on what I eat, I find that the cheaper items are just as good as the branded ones but the packaging of the products avaliable did put me off a bit. Also the way they price the items is completly confusing. When I walked into the store I saw a sign for single peppers for 40p each which I wanted to get but when I found them they were priced at 60p, so I didnt know if the offer was on or off and didnt want to chance buying them. The prices for the item are labelled quite strange, if something is on the bottom shelf the price for the item is above it, which when there is an item above the price label it is quite tricky to work out what price goes with with item and I found myself thinking that the item above was cheaper than it was.
I would certainly return to Lidl again simply for its cheap items but wouldnt consider do my weekly shop there as for me personally did not offer enough products, and next time knowing what the shop is like I will be more prepared such as bringing my own bags and maybe being a bit more adventurous with the items I buy
Having always been a Waitrose and Tesco girl, I first visited a Lidl with my snobby head on and considered the store to be untidy and the check-out policy to be too rushed; however, having sampled the free-range and British meat on offer, as well as the very good quality vegetables (British when in season) on offer, I rapidly changed my mind and now rarely bother to shop anywhere else!
The most common gripe about Lidl seems to be their check out policy, which is because they keep their prices low by opening only a few tills and having check out queues. The way some people go on, you'd honestly think they got chucked out of the shop with piles of shopping in their arms and balanced on their heads! This is not the case. As long as you put your shopping into your trolley as it is "beeped" through the machine, you can take your time with packing it to your own standards at the dedicated packing areas beyond the checkouts in each store. TBH I haven't had to worry about that for years, as it's now second nature to pack quickly and accurately and to make sure my trolley and my purchases are laid out on the conveyor belt in order according to weight, food type, etc, so that I can pack quickly. It should be noted that this is store policy in most "discounter" supermarkets including Lidl's rival store Aldi, so certainly isn't something unusual. I'd also point out that I prefer it to having to wait in line forever!
If you are the kind of person who cooks from scratch and doesn't buy these awful ready meals and "brand" items, you'll love the quality of ingredients in Lidl. I particularly like their fresh tortellini for a quick meal, the tetrapacks of passata, the maple-cured British bacon, the free range British chicken, the free-range eggs, the packs of speciality bread flour, delicious olive oil and their excellent quality fresh vegetables, fruit and salad products. Their prepared olives, parmigiana cheese, prosciutto and pre-prepared cooked muscles packs are also very high quality. As regards other goods, I have found that their cleaning products work very well and are good value at the price and that the somewhat random "special" goods which line the aisles are generally of reasonable quality and very good value for the price.
I'm devastated to no longer live near a Lidl and pop in to any stores I pass to stock up on my favourite items (esp the bacon!). I'm currently giving Aldi a try and am impressed by the improvements they've made in their free-range meat items and British-sourced vegetables and meat... it's not as good as Lidl though!