Who’s got the cheapest groceries—Walmart, Lidl, or Aldi? We compared prices for your millennial grocery list

If I had a penny for each time I heard a millennial grocery shopping joke about how we can only afford ramen noodles, I think I would be rich by now.

To help us stick to our budgets, CharlotteFive has already compared prices at seven stores around town where you can get the cheapest groceries on your millennial grocery list. We found that Aldi, by far, was the cheapest option in this grocery store war (and our winner for lowest prices), compared with Target, Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Publix.

But what about Aldi’s prices, compared with specific stores known for their low prices?

Fellow millennials, take a deep breath, you don’t have to settle for tap water, you can actually buy your fancy Pamplemousse La Croix for a price that won’t have your wallet gasping for air.

We went around to Walmart and Lidl with our handy-dandy list of grocery store items that scream “millennial” and created a side-by-side comparison of their prices, against those at Aldi.

Here’s what we found.* Yellow indicates cheapest find. CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE.


*Prices may vary per location; sales prices generally not included.


-Most affordable: It’s a tie!

Aldi: Though they might provide “lemon-lime carbonated beverage” instead of Sprite or “cheese covered puffs” instead of Cheetos, Aldi provides affordable prices and a pleasant shopping experience. Aldi is a fairly small store, but is becoming more and more popular around the U.S. Although, as we’ve previously noted, those low prices also come at the expense of some grocery-store frills: you bag your own groceries and you have to insert a quarter to get a cart.

Lidl: Though also reigning victorious in the category of most out-of-the-way, it is definitely a grocery store worth checking out. Lidl is a German grocer that is actually fairly new to the U.S. It’s only current Charlotte-area location is all the way in Indian Land, SC. From Lidl’s unique exterior to its easily navigable interior, this store offers some popular brand items like Chobani yogurt and Halo Top ice cream, while lacking others like Tostitos.


Still, both stores should make you feel like your basic needs are met.

-Most reliable: Walmart, believe it or not, is the most expensive for once. In this grocery store war, Walmart may not be the most affordable, but it is the most reliable in our opinion. Out of the three, Walmart is most likely to carry your favorite name brands for a lower price than your generic grocery store. Charlotte even has a variety of different types of Walmarts now. There is the typical, classic Walmart (yes one still exists in the Arboretum — and yes the Arboretum still exists), Walmart Marketplace, (one location is 7735 N Tryon St.) and Walmart Supercenter (which can be found at 3240 Wilkinson Blvd., among other locations).

Bonus: As a source of hope for the budget-conscious in the future, a recent study by UNC Chapel Hill indicated that when Lidl enters a new market, competing grocers nearby lower their prices by 9.3 percent. Lidl began opening stores in the Charlotte area in 2017.

Photos: by Deanna Drogan