Ms. Cheap: ALDI fits the bill for shoppers who want to cut grocery costs

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*Originally posted in The Murfreesboro Post

With the price of groceries going up, up and up, I hear more and more shoppers talking about ALDI.

It used to be that when I mentioned the ALDI grocery, my friends would seem puzzled about what it was and where it was located.

Now, people seem to know all about it. And they are definitely shopping there for bargains.

Some of them even pipe up with their favorite ALDI products, like the salmon, the cheeses, the coffee, the flowers and the produce.

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“ALDI is currently the fastest-growing grocery retailer in the U.S.,” said Amy Peters, divisional vice president. “We have more than 2,200 stores in 38 states and we’re still growing coast-to-coast and continuing to expand” largely because of the “unbeatable prices.”

“In the last year, we have welcomed more than one million new shoppers into our stores and experienced double-digit sales growth” even with inflation, she said. “While the pressures of inflation have forced many shoppers to scale back on purchases, including groceries, ALDI continues to be number  one for price.

“ALDI won’t be beat on price,” Peters said. “For six years in a row, ALDI has been No. 1 for price,” she said, citing the dunnhumby 2023 Retailer Preference Index Report, Grocery Edition. “We routinely and methodically track competitor pricing to ensure we offer the best prices in every city where our customers continue to trust us with their loyalty.”

 

 

Peters said ALDI is always “evolving its product mix” –  having added affordable organics, seafood and wine in recent years.

A big plus for shoppers is that ALDI has a “Twice as Nice Guarantee” on its food, where if for any reason you are not 100 percent satisfied with the quality of the product, they will replace the product and refund your money.

How does ALDI keep prices down?

Peters said the lower prices are a result of ALDI’s concerted cost savings efforts that include having small, basic stores (no banking, pharmacy or deli), simple displays, focusing on private label products, partnering with efficient suppliers, its quarter grocery cart system, and having a highly curated selection..

For example, “ALDI sells an average of 130 produce SKUs at any time, which accounts for 98 of the most common produce needs. By not carrying hundreds of extra products, we save money on display space, warehouse space, labor and other overhead costs, which means more savings for our loyal shoppers.”

She said 90 percent of the store is stocked with ALDI private label brands “that cut out the inefficiencies of national brand products.”

Peters said her company has a “longtime commitment to save customers an average of 15 percent on their grocery bill without sacrificing quality.”

And the quarter cart system (where customers insert a quarter in a slot to get a grocery cart, and then when they return it to the cart corral, their quarter pops back out) minimizes the need for staff to round up carts in the parking lot.

An industry report has listed ALDI as the top grocery store for low prices six years in a row. SUBMITTED

If you wonder which products are shopper favorites, ALDI provided this 2022 list, which was based on surveys of 100,000 shoppers who took the annual ALDI Fan Favorite survey.

Recent Fan Favorites winners by category are: 

Hall of Fame: Mama Cozzi’s Pizza Kitchen Take and Bake Deli Pizza 

Get Up & Go: Specially Selected Indulgent Greek Yogurt 

What’s for Dinner?: Specially Selected Ravioli 

Best for Boards: Emporium Selection Aged Reserve White Cheddar 

Dynamic Duo: Specially Selected Indulgent Greek Yogurt and fresh blueberries.

Pantry Staple: Simply Nature Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Produce Pick: Fresh strawberries

Catch of the Day: Fresh Atlantic Salmon

Meating Your Needs: Kirkwood Fresh Chicken Tenderloins

Pet Pick: Heart to Tail Dog Treats

A few things to know:

ALDI first opened in Middle Tennessee in 1994 and now has 25 Middle Tennessee stores. There are plans to open one more store in  Murfreesboro and one in Cleveland by the end of this year.

Bring your own bags unless you want to pay for bags.

Private label brands include Clancy, Simply Nature, Specially Selected, Park Street Deli.

Payment: cash, checks, credit cards, debit cards.

To find the store nearest you and for more information, go to www.aldi.com.

Mary Hance, who has four decades of journalism experience in the Nashville area, writes a weekly Ms. Cheap column. She also appears on Thursdays on Talk of the Town on NewsChannel5. Reach her at mscheap@mainstreetmediatn.com and follow her on Facebook as Facebook.com/mscheap