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How to Read Aldi’s Expiration Dates (Explained)

How to read aldis expiration dates

At the end of 2022, Aldi was ranked as the most popular grocery store among all US adults. No wonder. Aldi’s prices are hard to beat and the stores carry plenty of fresh foods, produce, and meat. 

The only downside about the grocery chain is that Aldi recently removed best-before dates from about 60 food products as part of its commitment to reducing food waste. But the good news is that the products still come with a special code that can be used by the staff members.

Keep on reading to find out how to find the freshest items in Aldi using this mysterious code system. 

About Aldi’s Expiration Date Code System

The code is, basically, a date in a day and week format (you might find it on the front of the packaged vegetables and fruits). Two numbers would be used to indicate the week when the product was harvested and the other two – the day of the week (01 for Monday, 02 for Tuesday, and so on).

Do bear in mind that the first week of the year is the one that contains the ‘first’ Thursday. This means that the highest week number in a year can be either 52 or 53. 

If you see 3402 on your package, it means that the fruits or veggies have been picked on the 34th week of this year on a Tuesday. 

Trying to figure out how many days have passed since that exact week can be a bit too time-consuming. That’s why you might simply choose to pick the package with the highest day and week on the code the next time you go grocery shopping. 

Everything You Should Know About Shelf Life and Expiration Dates

Aldi’s code system might help you find out when the food item was produced, but this information won’t really help you if you don’t know the shelf life of the foods that you’re planning on placing in your fridge.

But first, let’s figure out what’s the difference between the expiration date and shelf life.

The former is the date that the manufacturer lists on the labeling. It shows how long the product will stay good for as long as the packaging remains unopened.

The expiration date can also sometimes be called the ‘use by date’ (for highly perishable foods, like dairy and meats) and the ‘best before’ date (for foods that can be left in storage for a long time).

The shelf life is typically for how long the product will stay good once opened. And while the expiration date is a set date, the shelf life is usually a period of time, like ‘one week after opening’, for example.

Here is the fridge shelf life of some of the most popular food items:

FoodShelf Life in Fridge
Raw pork and poultry1-2 days
Raw fish and prawns1-2 days
Milk1-2 weeks
Yogurt1 week
Butter2 months
Avocadoes, berries, peaches, strawberries2-3 days
Cucumbers, eggplants, lettuce, mushrooms10-12 days

If left unopened, canned goods can be kept in the pantry for years, while packaged goods will typically last for several months before becoming stale. 

What Do Special Codes and Labels Mean?

Just like any other store, Aldi has plenty of labels inside the store. But did you know that all of them serve an important purpose?

For example, the color of the label might tell you whether the product is a seasonal item that will be gone in a few months (yellow label with ‘seasonal items’ on it) or whether right now might be your last chance to try the product out (red Aldi Finds signs).

When it comes to expiration dates, even the labels in the stores can tell you quite a lot about how fresh the product is. 

Right below the price, you’ll typically find a few numbers (for example, 5D-48921). If one of the numbers is followed by a ‘D’, it means that the product arrives at the store frozen. The number before the ‘D’ indicates how many days the food item will be good for once the staff thaw it.

What Is a Lot Number?

In some cases, you might be able to use the lot number to identify the expiration date. It is typically an 8- or 9-digit number that has been placed somewhere on the packaging. At times, it can have the ‘LOT’ indication before the digits.

If you have found the number, then:

• The first two digits refer to the year of manufacture

• The next one or two digits – to the month

• The following two refer to the day

• The final three numbers represent the company plant number and the product batch of that day

The lot number 230322403, for example, would mean that the item was manufactured on the 22nd of March, 2023. 

What Should You Do with Expired Products?

Once a food item has expired, you can compost it. If composting at home is not an option, then make sure to throw the product away in the ‘organic matter’ garbage can.

If you’re dealing with swollen metal cans, then they have to be placed in a black garbage bag and securely closed before being thrown away in a regular trash container. 

But how do you find out when the product has actually expired?

Though manufacturers typically place expiration dates on their products, that does not mean that consuming the foods after that date automatically becomes unsafe. 

Even highly perishable goods can last after the expiration date if they have been kept in the freezer. Canned goods can last for years as long as the can itself is in good condition.

Packaged foods will generally be safe to consume after the ‘best by’ date, but they might simply not be as tasty, and so on.

How to Stay Informed About Aldi’s Expiration Dates

If you have more questions about Aldi’s expiration dates, you can always ask them on the company’s website or in the store. The friendly staff members would be happy to explain to you how the system works.

Final Thoughts

One of the main reasons why Aldi decided to remove the best-before dates from some of its products is because plenty of food items remain perfectly safe to consume even after the date indicated on their packaging.

And though you can use Aldi’s date code system to find the freshest products, always make sure to judge the overall appearance of the foods as well.


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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