Is Aldi about more than just low prices?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer magazine.
“The Aldi of today is not the Aldi you once knew,” observes Kathy Hayden, SVP/general manager of customer success at Inmar Intelligence.
Beyond its sometimes shockingly low prices, “Aldi has continued to offer a variety of products in each category that cater to the different lifestyle needs of its shoppers, including natural, organic, plant-based and gluten-free,” which consumers are not accustomed to finding in a limited assortment discount store.
On one recent visit, for example, we spotted everything from plant-based patties and keto ice cream to organic almond milk and cauliflower crust pizza. And then there are the “gourmet” items, including European meats and cheeses, high-end frozen appetizers and premium desserts, plus a wide array of seasonal favorites.
Many of those products are “get ‘em while they last” in-and-outs included in the chain’s Aldi Finds program, which creates the treasure hunt experience for which the retailer is known. Beyond impulse purchases, these “special buys” support perpetual market testing.
Bill Bishop, chief architect at Brick Meets Click, notes, ‘“It’s a win-win because shoppers get to try new products and the retailer gets to see how the market responds to those products without a big investment.”
Between Aldi Finds and regular buys, industry observers say the chain’s offer is “more than sufficient” for a full shop.
“Even though the range is limited, it’s far more extensive than at other discount formats like dollar stores — with a more comprehensive assortment of fresh and frozen,” says Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData.
“Plus, Aldi really prides itself on the quality of its own brand products in particular. Coupled with low prices, it provides a very strong value-for-the money message.”
In the current climate, Aldi’s private label focus, lean cost structure and better-than-average pay is expected to help tackle retail’s triumvirate of challenges: supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and inflation. Any slowdown in coming months should offer more opportunities to gain share as consumers trade down and discover Aldi’s more than rock-bottom prices.
Mr. Saunders said, “Aldi shouldn’t be dismissed as a low-price, no-frills retailer because that is not how it is positioned now.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that Aldi in the U.S. has evolved way beyond price? What obvious and less obvious challenges does Aldi place on competitors as it has evolved as a limited assortment grocer?