How a cheap, brutally efficient grocery chain is upending America's supermarkets
Aldi, a discount grocery chain, is on an aggressive growth spurt in the United States, pressuring even Walmart on low food pricesRead full story
I wandered into an Aldi in North Carolina, extremely curious about its brand and style after hearing GLOWING remarks from friends now living in the area. Mix up clean styles, no aggressive sales pushes, and extremely affordable prices, and sprinkle in German efficiency, and you get a luxury-like feel into a Walmart-style chain.
Growing up an Aldi kid, other grocery stores often don't make sense to me. Why cut coupons for a brand name when a similar off brand is waiting for me at Aldi and cheaper than the coupon discount? Why spend the mental energy deciding which of 10 peanut butter brands I should go with when at Aldi all I have to ask is "Creamy or Crunchy?" When store clerks bag my groceries I cringe because they didn't group items they way I would have if packing my own stuff at the Aldi counter. I become more than peeved when big box stores have customers who leave carts all over the lot in the winter for some poor teen to chase down or to make it more difficult to find a parking spot. And in an almost religious way, the exchange of a cart for a quarter between 2 shoppers is a lovely interaction of 2 insiders sharing a knowing glance that this "stripped down model" is really beneficial for everyone involved-- except maybe those huge brand name companies who have you pay more for the name than anything else. I'm for subtance over show. #ALDIFORLIFE
I'm a true believer in brutal efficiency/less choice, not only for the sake of lower prices, but also just to GTFO as soon as possible. I wish all restaurants operated like Sugarfish & all shopping experiences were like Aldi, from a customer perspective.
And like, it's great Aldi pays their employees more than average, but I wonder if those few feel overloaded/over-worked, despite the all the great efficiencies cited in the piece.
Brutally efficient is the perfect descriptor for the shopping experience in an Aldi. It is fast but extremely not fun. I have two near me and have found them both excruciatingly joyless. However, I have the privilege of being able to consider pay more for some joy. I'm glad it's making strides and hope it pushes into some of the food deserts that reduce health outcomes for Americans of color.
German supermarkets are great at getting you out of there ASAP.
The fact they managed to make it click in the US is really something.
True story: Aldi had to be split in two over fears of breaking anti-monopoly laws. They're THAT big.
Having said that, over here we'd rather basically any other grocery chain instead of Aldi.
Disclaimer. Grocery shopping is akin to root canal to me, so anything that makes the shopping experience more difficult isn't going to resonate. My perception from shopping in Aldi in Europe ... a limited selection of stuff that's not good for you, but at lower prices.
The move towards non label specially in FMCG has taken it strides. Aldi on the other hand is not just efficient but has also made sure that the stigma that comes with cheaper products is eliminated due to it higher quality or equivalent in many causes to other well known chains.
Best thing about Aldi is that they pay staff really well.
Culturally, we've gotten to the point where people are so afraid of being labeled "basic" that they're compelled to embellish and elevate even the most mundane things and activities in their lives.
Thankfully, brands like Aldi have realized that not everyone needs to "experience" buying a loaf of bread.
Aldi has already swept up the market in the UK and western Europe bringing the fight to the most dominant of grocer retail chains and bucking the trends in economic downturns. Be afraid Walmart, their no frills, super value brand with ruthless efficiency is not to be underestimated!
Shopped there often in Germany. Never pleasant, but that wasn't the point. Lower prices, high-quality products.
Kept reading and reading until I found it: “Aldi also recently pledged to cut plastic and transition to 100% sustainable packaging by 2025 — not a cheap endeavor.” Okay, I’m in, even if, as the article notes, it makes prices go up slightly.
As long as they treat their employees well and provide benefits, which they do, I'd give 'em a whirl in the US. I've already shopped there in Berlin where my daughter lives. They do a good job there. Don't try to shoplift either: we watched a worker jump over a turnstile and chase a thief down the street, catch him, and haul him back to the store. Not sure that's normal. 😄
I'm reading Sam Walton's book "Made in America" about how he built Walmart and their culture, and now it gets even more interesting with Aldi as their challenger.
They’re very popular in the UK, especially in the years since the recession. You basically pay less and get less choice, which is great considering most people don’t want to look through 40,000 items on their weekly grocery shop.
An Aldi is across the street from a Fresh Market (identical to Whole Foods) here. I used to pick up most groceries at the later but I only go there for seafood, baked goods, and speciality products now - needless to say much less often. I'd feel like an idiot picking up my regular list there now, Aldi is so much more economical and the quality is very competitive.
This proves you can actually compete with top guys and win on prizes.. So refreshing to see Aldi embracing their shortcomings and making them it's biggest asset
Fantastic read where one of the big takeaways for me was how brand agnostism is going to play a big role going forward.
Trader Joe's and Aldi are owned by the same parent company so it doesn't really seem fair to call them competitors.
Aldi’s might be slightly difficult for customers, but it’s totally ruthless in using its vast purchasing power to crush small farmers and fruit growers around to world. It saves its rich customers a few pennies that mean little to them, but a great deal to the growers living barely above subsistence level.
They must be on to something. One way to cut down on employees is to invest in self service technology but anyone that's used the Amazon Go stores will attest that human touch does add something to the shopping experience.
There's a happy medium in the number of employees.
We have a couple in the area. My experience wasn’t positive. Below average goods sold at below average prices. Some people need volumes of cheap food to feed large families, probably a fit there.
Interesting tie with Trader Joe’s roots. And I stop in there periodically, some different and interesting choices.
But no Aldi’s for me. No interest in some knock-off brand tuna at any price.
Trader Joe's growth and ability to have a strong user dedication has always impressed me. Amazing that Aldi and Trader Joes built from the same original businesses and processes are becoming such a strong force in the US grocery realm.
Will be interesting to see what happens when more grocery stores try to adapt their procedures and open smaller stores focused on efficiency and low labor costs as well as removing the name brand experience.
Rarely shop for groceries other than Amazon and the D'Agostino's door to me for perishables but can see the pressures on local Whole Foods (ahead of buy out) or D'Agostino. The pressures have forced two other grocery chains in New York to close down stores in the last two years. D'Agostino's often has only half of its shelves filled because of liquidity issues.
It‘s more interesting that from my knowledge this is ‚Aldi Süd‘pushing in US whereas ‚Aldi Nord‘ is owning Trader Joe‘s.
They are that big as even the article mentions basically them ^^
Interesting to see how Aldi is saving costs efficiently across store size, labour, packaging etc. and passing them on to consumers
It’s taken over Europe and now it goes to the home of shopping with cheap deals. Seems like a match made in heaven - the capitalist dream.
Aldi produce may not have the refrigeration and misting that Americans expect
One important thing on comparison between Amazon or other retailers is how conglomerate companies are. If they have many income streams except for retail div, they invest more in delivery service, automation of storage, both of which are the top 2 burdens on profitability. ‘Focus’ is generally said the most important thing on sustainable business management with competitive edge. However, it cannot be a good example in disruption.
Aldi: a lesson in efficiency
Aldi reminds me of food lion when it was in Texas. The Aldi store in my neighborhood took over what use to be a foodlion. So how long will it take for it to close down like every other one did.
Rock bottom prices, but still good quality. :)
#Business #BusinessSense #SmallBusiness #Walmart
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