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Lidl: I really miss having a local store!
Author Name: An1rak
Advantages: Low prices for excellent quality British meat and veg, including free-range products
Disadvantages: There is a very small selection if you want to have a specific "brand"
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!
Summary: Excellent quality ingredients for an unbeatable price... just brilliant!