'I got an Aldi £3.30 surprise bag - I've never been more disappointed'

The Aldi Sd logo
-Credit: (Image: Joan Cros/NurPhoto/Getty)

I love a bargain - and trying to avoid waste - so the Too Good To Go app is a favourite of mine. Too Good To Go is an app which offers food which is nearing its use-by date for a fraction of the price - the only catch being that what's inside is always a mystery made up of what is left over at the end of the day.

Users just have to be online at the right time to grab a bargain which they then go and collect at a set time - usually just before the store or restaurant is about to close. But some of the offers are harder to get than others and Aldi is one of these - you need to be on the app just as its offer goes live otherwise you have no hope of nabbing one of its bargain bags.

So when I spotted an Aldi deal with two "surprise bags" still available I was delighted. Feeling generous I avoided the urge to grab both and bought one leaving the second for another lucky bargain hunter.

I'd seen loads of reviews about the amazing contents of the Aldi surprise bags - and even been lucky enough to get one myself a few months ago which had been a really good deal. So it was with a great amount of anticipation that I headed for the store to collect my treat at 3.15pm last Sunday.

I was first to arrive of those who had bought that day's bags so a friendly assistant went to get them from the store room. But as she neared me with three of the sought-after deals she gave me a sheepish look telling me: "They don't look that great today."

The contents of my Aldi Too Good To Go surprise bag
The contents of my Aldi Too Good To Go surprise bag -Credit:Elaine Blackburne

And boy was she right. At first glance the box they bring the items out in looked so empty I wondered if all three were for a single customer - I quickly learned that was not the case.

She handed me the top box after a glance through to see if any was better than the others and finding all were "about the same". Rather than look in the store I quickly decanted the items from the box into my bag and headed to the car.

Now, sadly, after seeing other people's previous experiences, I'd held off buying anything for dinner just in case there was something that would need using. But a quick look at the contents meant I knew I'd have to go back and buy something to add to them as it was completely made up of vegetables or fruit.

The bag included mango, apples and pomegranate
The bag included mango, apples and pomegranate -Credit:Elaine Blackburne

I noticed there was a bag of stir-fry vegetables so went back inside and bought some chicken to add to that then headed home. Once there I had a better look.

My box contained:

  • Pomegranate (full price 89p),

  • Mango (£1.99)

  • Four apples from an opened six pack (£1.99 for six so £1.33 value)

  • Two tubs of beetroot salad (99p each)

  • Sweet and crunchy stir-fry (£1.29)

  • Oriental style stir-fry (95p)

  • Edamame bean and broccoli stir-fry (95p)

Now I know the whole point in the surprise (or magic) bags is that you get the food that is going out of date so you can't guarantee what you get. And having had several poor offerings from other stores mixed in among far more great deals my expectations are pretty low.

However knowing Aldi's record I was left totally disappointed in what was given. Part of my reason for using the app is that I hate food waste and the contents were never going to be eaten within a reasonable time - even if I pushed and used some of it the following day.

Two of the bags of stir-fry were already quite soggy despite being in date so they went straight in the bin. We ate the sweet and crunchy one with the chicken for dinner and it was fine.

Two lots of beetroot salad
Two lots of beetroot salad with that day's use by date were never going to get eaten -Credit:Elaine Blackburne

The fruit was also good but two tubs of beetroot salad were never going to get eaten, even though I did have them for a couple of days afterwards. But I did feel the value was poor.

The app said I would get at least £10 worth of food for the £3.30 that I paid. However when I checked online - and then double-checked a day later in store to make sure I was right the total if I had bought them fresh and with plenty of date on them came to £9.38.

If I'd bought them fresh there is no way I would have bought three packs of stir-fry or two tubs of beetroot. And even if I had I would have had plenty of time to use them.

All in all my bag has put me off buying another Aldi one as it was a total waste of time. Luckily I only bought it as I would have been out at the shop in any case so I didn't have a wasted journey adding more damage to the environment.

It has even made me think twice about using the Too Good To Go app. I've always sung its praises but I don't want to end up with more food heading to my bin. While I've always known I might get something I don't really fancy as I'm not that fussy I've always been able to eat it. And even if I do change my mind it is likely to be a long time before I risk an Aldi "surprise" again.

A spokesperson for Aldi said: “We apologise that, on this occasion, our Too Good To Go bag did not meet our usual high standards. Reducing food waste is important to us and our store colleagues try to ensure a mix of products are included where possible.”