The Aldi supermarket chain, which has 1,500 stores in the U.S., is becoming a bigger challenge to organic supermarkets as it expands its selection. In an effort to attract more health-conscious customers, Aldi has added foods such as quinoa, smoked salmon, coconut oil and artisanal cheese. Aldi is expanding their organic food brands, removing artificial ingredients and adding more gluten-free products to their shelves. They have removed certified synthetic colors, any added MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils from their private-labeled products, which account for 90% of sales. In doing so, they’ll be taking on chains such as Whole Foods lower-cost spin-off, 365 by Whole Foods Market.
The chain has also begun to expand their selection in fresh and organic meat and produce, including their “Never Any!” meat brand, which advertises no hormones, animal by-products, antibiotics or any other additives. Aldi’s “Simply Nature” brand, which is free of 125 artificial ingredients, and the liveGfree gluten free brand are also being expanded. Aldi milk is already free of artificial growth hormones, with yogurt and other dairy products following suit.
Aldi and their rival discount store, Lidl, are causing large markets in the U.K. to cut their prices drastically and let go of workers in order to stay competitive. Aldi is able to keep their prices low due to limiting their inventory to private label brands and requiring the customer to bring their own shopping bags and bag their own groceries. Aldi also doesn’t have to pay workers to round up carts, as they have the customer pay a deposit for the shopping carts that can only be retrieved by returning the cart. The store also has most of their products on display in crates, which makes restocking easy and fewer workers are need on the sales floor. The result is efficiency, and thus lower costs—equalling prices roughly 30% lower than Walmart’s, according to a recent story in Business Insider.