Sam’s Club vs. Aldi – the Baking Basics Edition
Sam’s Club vs. Aldi – the Baking Basics Edition
I look at four different products today: all-purpose flour, white sugar, baking cocoa, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. These products are in millions of kitchens, doing the regular, boring duties of baking. Using comparison pricing, I will help you decide whether to buy those bulk baking products you see in your local Sam’s Club, or if you can buy in smaller quantities and still save money.
Price comparison – is it worth it to buy so much?
Have you ever gone to Sam’s Club and wondered about those giant bags of sugar or flour? Even a container of cocoa is intimidating at Sam’s Club. We all hear about how we shouldn’t necessarily buy in bulk because the product will go bad before we can use it and so we will waste our money.
But, is this true? There are times when buying in bulk for baking is MORE convenient than buying smaller quantities. Holiday baking is a tradition throughout the world, no matter what the holiday being celebrated. Many families choose to bake not only to control costs, but also so that they know exactly what they are eating. For others, baking is a hobby, a way to connect with grandchildren, or a way to show love to friends and family. Every situation is different, and you need the most information you can get to make choices for yourself. That’s where I come in – I’m here to help you check your choices.
Flour has a relatively long shelf life. According to thekitchn.com, flour will last for one to two years, which is a long time. If you have it stored in a sealed container, it may last even longer. TheKitchn.com says that when flour has ‘gone bad,’ you will be able to smell a sourness from the flour.
Sam’s Club sells flour in 25 lb. bags, and in 12 lb. bags. Consider that you must store these bags once opened. Obviously, the 12 lb. bag will be easier to store than the 25 lb. bag.
At Sams’ Club, you can buy Bakers & Chefs All-Purpose Flour in a 25 lb. bag for $5.64. This works out to 23 cents per pound of flour. Even though you may never have heard of the brand name, you have probably eaten this flour many times in your local bakeries and restaurants, and it is a good product.
You can also buy Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour in the 12 lb. bag for $4.98 at Sam’s Club. This is 42 cents a pound – 19 cents a pound more expensive than the flour sold in the larger bag.
At Aldi USA, we can buy a 5 lb. bag of Baker’s Corner All-Purpose flour for $1.39. That’s 28 cents a pound.
Flour lesson: unless you actually need to buy flour in large quantities or you find it more convenient to buy flour once in a while instead of more often, you should consider buying the Baker’s Corner flour from Aldi USA. The price difference per pound between the 5 lb. bag from Aldi USA and the 25 lb. bag from Sam’s Club is only 5 cents per pound. You would save only one little quarter by buying the large bag of flour! I would recommend you to NEVER buy the 12 lb. bag of Gold Medal All-Purpose flour! It is a very expensive buy for a smaller package at Sam’s Club, and I’m sure it is there just to ‘lure in’ shoppers who think that buying at the warehouse clubs is always the best deal.
Sugar will last indefinitely (http://www.ussugar.net/id4.html), although you may need to break it up from clumping if you store it in humid conditions. The old trick of adding a piece of bread to the sugar container works very well, by the way. I would just recommend that you get that bread OUT of that container in a day or two. Otherwise, it will get moldy – trust me on this!
Sam’s Club offers sugar options in various sizes. The first thing I have to say about the first option is WOW! Look at the size of these bags! 50 lbs! Not for most people – period. It’s too heavy for most people to want to bother with, and storing it would be difficult. It would be possible, but might involve holding the bag while you pour sugar into another container – not exactly an easy task with a 50 lb. bag. The cost breakdown is this: The 50 lb. bag costs $24.39, which is 49 cents per pound.
Just take a look at the pallet of bags!
Sam’s Club offers other options: the first, a 25 lb. bag of Domino Sugar for $12.17,
and the second is a 10 lb. bag of Domino Sugar for $4.98
The 25 lb. bag works out to 49 cents a pound, and the 10 lb. bag of sugar is also 49 cents a pound.
Aldi USA offers Baker’s Corner Premium Granulated Sugar at $1.69 for a 4 lb. bag. This is 42 cents a pound – seven cents a pound cheaper than EVERY OPTION at Sam’s Club – and you NEVER have to worry about having to store gargantuan quantities of sugar!
Baking cocoa also has a long shelf life, about two or three years (doesitgobad.com). The container of cocoa at Sam’s Club is about three times the size of a smaller container at Aldi. Like flour, if you don’t open the package and you store it properly (in a dark, dry place), it may last even longer than two to three years. I read more than a few blogs about this, and it seems that no one could say conclusively that their cocoa ‘went bad,’ no matter how old it was. The worst that they could say is that it changed color a little in the can, but when mixed into batters with liquid, it was fine.
Sam’s Club has one offer of regular baking cocoa. I didn’t look for any premium brand, such as Ghirardelli. I just stuck with ordinary baking cocoa. Sam’s Club had Hershey’s Cocoa in a 23 oz. canister for $7.82. That is $5.47 per pound.
At Aldi USA, I found Baker’s Corner Baking Cocoa in an 8 oz. can for $2.19. This is $4.38 a pound – again, cheaper than the Sam’s Club product by $1.09 per pound. This is a pretty large price difference! Some of you may prefer Hershey’s because of the brand name – but I’ve used both very regularly, and can really tell no difference between the two. I never knew that the Aldi USA choice was so much cheaper, though!
Semi-sweet Chocolate Morsels
Semi-sweet chocolate morsels (a.k.a chocolate chips) have a much shorter shelf life than flour, sugar, or cocoa. Eatbydate.com says that the pantry shelf life of chocolate chips is 2-4 months. If you store the chips in the fridge or the freezer, you can safely figure that you can keep them for about two to three years. Like the flour and sugar bags, you might have to find another container to put the chocolate chips in for storage.
Sam’s Club has Nestle Toll House Morsels in a 72 oz. package for $8.98, or $2.00 per pound.
Aldi USA carries Baker’s Corner Real Semi-Sweet Morsels in a 12 oz. package for $1.79. This is $2.39 per pound. You will need to buy six bags of Baker’s Corner chips to equal the ounces in the Nestle bag. The Nestle bag is certainly cheaper, and is $2.34 cheaper than if you buy six bags of Baker’s Choice. So, it’s like getting one bag free – but you need to store them properly to take advantage of this price break. You’ll need a cool, dark place, preferably your refrigerator or freezer.
Flour – Buy Aldi’s flour just because it is so much easier to carry around and store. You don’t save enough money to make buying the large bag worthwhile.
Sugar – Unless Sam’s Club changes their prices, I can’t imagine why anyone would EVER buy sugar at Sam’s Club. Transporting those heavy bags just isn’t worth straining either your back, or your employee’s backs! Restaurant owners – remember your worker’s compensation costs!
Baking Cocoa – I’m definitely using the Baker’s Corner product in future. When I bake my goodies (and boy, can I bake!), I have found absolutely no difference in quality between the Hershey’s from Sam’s Club and the Baker’s Corner from Aldi USA.
Chocolate Chips – I’m choosing Sam’s Club. The Nestle Semi-sweet chocolate morsels are great, and the price is enough cheaper that I would make the effort to store the extra chocolate chips.
Come back for more!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading! If you would like to see more information comparing the prices and products between Sam’s Club and Aldi USA, please see here and here, or one of the links below. Sign up below for our email list, so you can get notifications of new postings!