News & Media

With everyday low prices and robust store brands, Aldi stays true to its mission
November 10, 2020
Source: Supermarket News

The hard-discount retailer is well-positioned for these challenging times for grocery shoppers
Like most grocery retailers, Aldi U.S. has seen a notable increase in sales during the coronavirus pandemic as more customers are eating at home and stocking up during store visits and through pickup and delivery.
But the hard-discount retailer, which passed the 2,000-store mark in June, has a not-so-secret weapon that has positioned it especially well throughout COVID-19 and going forward in a challenged economy: its everyday low pricing and the depth and quality of its private label offering.
“We’ve seen success across the board when it comes to our private label products — we wouldn’t be as successful as we are today without them,” said Scott Patton, vice president of national buying, Aldi U.S.
He pointed to the retailer’s annual Fan Favorites survey, which ended recently and where more than 177,000 Aldi shoppers cast their votes for their favorite Aldi-exclusive products. “The Mama Cozzi and Specially Selected brands were big winners this year, with Specially Selected products winning in three categories, Mama Cozzi’s take-and-bake deli pizza coming in as the overall winner and Happy Farms string cheese securing the highest single-product vote count. The survey reinforces what we know to be true — ALDI shoppers love our private-label products — and we’re proud to have such loyal and vocal fans.”
That customer loyalty has been present throughout the pandemic. “At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw rapidly changing buying behaviors with an increased demand on household staples,” said Patton. “Thankfully at ALDI we’re uniquely positioned to handle these rapid shifts in shopper behaviors given our close relationship with our suppliers. Since March, we’ve been working hand-in-hand with them to optimize our product mix and ensure we’re stocking the most popular varieties of essential items. Another benefit of this close relationship is that it gives us the ability to offer customers the lowest possible prices, even when food costs increase. Since the beginning of the pandemic, shoppers’ buying patterns have normalized a bit more and we’ve been able to return to ‘business as usual’ for most products.”
Paper goods and cleaning supplies continue to be popular, Patton noted, but sales have stabilized from the initial peak of panic buying that occurred in March. In terms of what categories are performing the strongest, Aldi continues to see growth in fresh meat, produce and frozen items.
Changing attitudes about private label
As consumer attitudes about store brands have evolved over the years, Aldi has reaped the benefits. “I think people understand now that a name brand doesn’t necessarily equate to quality,” Patton said. “Aldi shoppers trust us to rigorously test our products for them so they don’t have to worry when picking out items, since they know they are getting a product that is as good as, or better than the name brand. Our ALDI-exclusive products not only taste great, but we offer them at surprisingly low prices. It’s easy for consumer attitudes to shift when the products speak for themselves, as ours do.
“No one wants to spend more money on groceries than they need to,” he added, “so the typical Aldi shopper is anyone who likes saving money. This spans all ages, demographics and geographies.”
Aldi, which expects to open another 70 stores by year-end, is on track to becoming the third-largest U.S. grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022, according to Patton. In addition, the retailer recently accelerated some of its growth, including the rollout of our Curbside Grocery Pickup service to nearly 700 stores by the end of the year.
Along with that growth comes more investment in private label.
“We’re always introducing new items throughout the store,” said Patton. “Some of the more unique items we’ve recently rolled out include organic faro, paleo cookie bites, halloumi and a new line of coconut milk-based non-dairy ice creams. We also have a new Aldi-exclusive brand launching later this year, which will offer an eclectic mix of snackable items made with unexpected and globally-inspired flavors.”
Aldi’s Mama Cozzi’s take-and-bake deli pizza was the overall winner in the retailer’s recent Fan Favorites survey of customers’ favorite Aldi-exclusive products.
Aside from its everyday product selection, Aldi is continuously testing out new products via Aldi Finds, a program that allows the retailer to offer shoppers new food, household, apparel and lifestyle products for a limited time. “Their purchases of ALDI Finds provide insight into what they like and what they’d like to see more of in our everyday selection,” said Patton.
“We’ve found that many new customers who try Aldi products for the first time end up being lifelong fans,” he added. “At our core, we’re focused on providing shoppers with the groceries they want at the lowest possible prices every day, without exception. Regardless of how things shift, we will do everything in our power to stay true to our promise.”