Aldi is the brand of two different supermarket chains with over 10,000 stores in over 20 countries that make over $50 billion dollars a year. Based in Germany, the grocer has a reputation for providing quality products at discount prices thanks to it’s “Guiding Principle”, that great quality shouldn’t come at a high price, rather great quality should come with everyday low prices. That principle has clearly served them well so we decided to find out the Top Ten interesting facts that you might not know about Aldi.
10. It’s Actually Two Different Businesses
While they sometimes go by the formal name Aldi Einkauf GmbH & Compagnie, oHG, especially in North America, the reality is that Aldi as we know it is actually comprised of two separate companies. Named Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord (German for Aldi South and Aldi North), the two companies are actually headquartered in different parts of Germany (with Süd being located in Mülheim and Nord being located in Essen) and have been separate entities since 1960. The companies are actually financially and legally separate but do combine their efforts in terms of branding and when negotiating with contractors, but otherwise have been operating as completely different companies (with slightly different logos) since around the time that the Beatles were tearing it up in Hamburg, Germany. The brothers that founded the company split in 1960 over a dispute as to whether or not they should carry and sell cigarettes, back when they had only 300 stores and a yearly revenue of $90 million DM. The individual groups were originally owned and managed by the brothers until the death of Karl Albrecht, who died in 2014, with a net worth of $17.2 billion Euro, making him the richest man in all of Germany.
9. It’s Got Good Gin
While they pride themselves on the value that they provide at the low price points they have, it’s safe to say that most people don’t associate high end or premium, anything, with Aldi. So it may surprise you to hear that the store-branded gin has won awards for quality. That’s right, Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin won a silver medal at the highly prestigious International Spirits Challenge in 2017, which was amazing in and of itself but when you hear of the names that it beat out it’s even more amazing. Gins that cost as much as six times as much as Aldi’s brand couldn’t best their dry gin, meaning spirits from Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Beefeater were sent home packing. The gin goes for $12.15 in England whereas the competition like Beefeater’s Burrough’s Reserve Gin sells for $80 at most stores in the UK. That wasn’t the only win for Aldi on the day, either, as their more upscale gin, Topaz Premium, also ended up taking home a silver medal. While it is their premium brand it isn’t something that’ll break the bank, either, as it retails for about $17.50. Talk about a deal!
8. Spirits Aren’t the Only Award Winning Items You Can Find at you Local Chain
Some states in the United States don’t allow for the sale of liquor in grocery stores so you might feel short-changed when it comes to your ability to purchase award-winning items if you’re unfortunate enough to live in one of those areas. As the previous entry showed, Aldi knows how to make a really good gin at a really low price but luckily that’s not the only thing that they sell that has won an award. Their Broken Clouds brand Pinot Noir, which is a wine and thus also alcohol, has won awards at different wine contests and considering the fact that it typically runs at a price of less than $10, which is quite the steal. Beyond that, the Broken Clouds Pinot also has won awards when combined with Aldi’s SimplyNature Organic White Cheddar Puffs, namely at the 2017 Product of the Year awards in the Salty Snacks and Wine category. Product of the Year is the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation and considering the fact that they taste over 20,000 wines per year, the fact that Aldi was named a ‘Best Buy’ (something that less than 10% of those wines receive) means that they’re not only good at making gin or even alcohol, but at basically making everything that’s borderline unhealthy for you.
7. It Actually is a Really Good Deal
Part of the reason that some people don’t like shopping at Aldi is that they don’t have the same brands that you’d find at most of its competition and while that’s something you’d have to get used to, the savings you receive from shopping there are definitely worth the switch. Studies have shown that shopping at Aldi and buying their in-store brands can save you on average around 50% versus national brands and while that number can vary it has been shown to never be less than 40%. That’s against national brands though, so how does it stack up against other stores and their brands? Wal-Mart is the obvious choice for comparison as it’s been able to negotiate amazing deals for it’s shoppers while putting basically everyone they go against out of business (except for Amazon, who is basically doing to them what they did to everyone else) thanks to their ability to buy things in such massive amounts (thanks to the sheer amount of stores and shelves they have) and also thanks to their notoriously hardcore buying methods. Aldi actually beats Wal-Mart’s brands as well, with an average savings of 20% in that regard. That means that Aldi is basically the best place to shop if you’re looking for savings, that is until Amazon drops the prices at Whole Foods to levels no one has ever seen before.
6. Instant Bread?
If there’s one food that has been the staple of nearly every meal since people learned how to bake its bread and while you can buy bread at the grocery store in pre-sliced loaves, there’s still no substitute for freshly baked bread when it comes to taste and wholesomeness. Aldi seemed to understand this and they sent a shockwave through the bread industry in Germany when it was first reported that they had basically created miniature ovens the size of vending machines that were capable of baking fresh bread at the push of a button in almost an instant (at two seconds per loaf). The timing was one issue they had with it, the other was that they were able to charge only 15 cents per loaf, a price that no baker could compete with. Beyond that, though, the bakers had an issue with the quality of the bread, saying: “We are not against Aldi selling bread, but it’s unfair for them to say that it’s somehow better or different than the packaged stuff they sell on their shelves”. Unfortunately for them, the bread was apparently delicious, as well, so it ended up checking all the boxes (from being extremely cost-effective, fast and delicious). Luckily there are really only a few times a week that people will eat fresh bread and so there’s still room for the sliced stuff, but still, it’s easy to see why the baking industry was so shaken.
5. They Only Recently Allowed Credit Cards
Most places that offer low cost items have had issues with allowing credit cards at their cash registers as credit cards tend to have higher merchant fees than debit cards or checks and so up until recently Aldi didn’t allow people to use credit cards when making a purchase which seems unheard of in today’s day and age. However, because Aldi offers such low prices their profit margins are actually razor thin, that means that adding an additional 10 cents per transaction can actually cut pretty deeply into their bottom line. However, Aldi also focuses heavily on customer experience and because of that, they decided to make the change to accommodate the preferred buying methods of every person that shops there. The word is still out on needing a quarter for the carts there (as well as the whole bag situation), the good news is that most people will give you their cart when they’re done so you really don’t need any cash the next time you stop at Aldi which increases the number of people in the store and thus their profits as a whole. Aldi did also announce that they weren’t changing their prices thanks to the addition of credit cards, which was a huge sigh of relief.
4. They Were a Leader in Removing Chemicals from their Products
These days it’s not uncommon to hear from restaurants, grocery stores or basically any business that sells food that they’re moving away from food that has preservatives, dyes or things like anti-biotics or MSG in them. That hasn’t always been the case, though, and you can really thank places like Aldi for leading the way in terms of chemical free, FRESH food. They introduced an in-store brand called SimplyNature that’s focus was providing food that was as close to a natural product as possible and through SimplyNature and then throughout all of their private label items they eventually removed synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oil and added monosodium glutamate (MSG) from their products. SimplyNature goes WAY beyond that goal, though, and actually bans 125 of the most “egregious” ingredients that people like to avoid (they also offer a gluten-free line for those of you with celiac disease). To hammer home just how important this mission was to Aldi, CEO Jason Hart released a statement, saying: “Our decision to remove these ingredients from all of our exclusive brand foods delivers on our ongoing commitment to meet the evolving preferences of our customers, Since more than 90% of the products we sell are under our exclusive brands, eliminating these ingredients will have a real impact on the over 30 million people who shop in our stores.”
3. They’re Moving Towards Organic Food
In the same vein as the SimplyNature brand, Aldi was obviously one of the first grocers to fully embrace providing healthy food to people, or should we say healthy health food to people. A large part of that extends to their meat and dairy products, as they removed artificial growth hormones from its milk, as those hormones have been linked to all sorts of problems in humans with the most notable being early puberty in children (we’re all mammals, after all). As of this video, they’re still in the process of removing the same from their yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese and other dairy products which is simultaneously endearing and troubling. It’s the sort of thing where you don’t really think about what is in your food until you hear what they’re removing from it. 100% all-white chicken in your chicken nuggets? What was in it before? Yay… I guess?!? To show it’s commitment to this cause, Aldi launched another in-store brand called Never Any!, which means whichever item they’ve branded with ‘Never Any!’ will never have any antibiotics, animal by-products or additives. Considering the cancer rate has been increasing in recent years it’s stuff like this that people should pay attention to. While organic food has a bad reputation as being over-priced and less delicious, or the go-to for hyper crunchy people who tend to lecture you about food being farm to table, they do have a point and it’s great to see a company the size of Aldi embrace the tenets of that philosophy while ensuring that they keep prices at a level that are realistic for every person and family.
2. They Actually Do have Great Food
When people think of discount stores, especially when it comes to food, they think that the low cost… costs them something. What is that cost? Typically people believe, at least in the case of Aldi, that they’re unable to get brand names or quality food in the store. While you won’t find a ton of brands at Aldi (for a reason, since a lot of those brands contain the chemicals and hormones listed in the last two entries) that doesn’t mean that you won’t find food that is as good, if not better, than those brands. Aware of their reputation, Aldi has been rolling out “fancier” products these past few years while most importantly not sacrificing the low prices that made their owners the richest men in Germany. Items that Aldi has rolled out over the past few years are artisanal cheese, quinoa, smoked salmon, and all sorts of organic foods. So the next time one of your friends mocks you for only having Aldi brand food in your house, slap them across the face with the gigantic smoked salmon that you bought earlier that day and tell them that you’re more than able to pay for their medical bills from the money you saved buying from Aldi. Once (s)he comes to, she’ll understand.
1. They Sell Color Changing Gin
As we learned earlier in this list, Aldi is great at making gin, as they’ve received silver medals in multiple awards over the years over other “fancier” gins that you’d expect to be higher on the list (if their price is any indication, that is). It turns out that Aldi wasn’t willing to rest on those laurels as they recently launched a gin that literally changes colors. The most recent entry on this list in terms of when it was launched, Aldi’s color changing gin just came out in late July and is not only different in terms of what it looks like but also in terms of what it tastes like. By itself, it tastes like gin, with some forest fruit flavoring added into it, but if you add a mixer like a tonic (to make a classic gin and tonic) that’s when the magic happens. Thanks to an Asian flower ingredient, the gin turns from a pale blue to what has been described as a “blossoming pink” color. The gin is distilled with the blue petals of the flower named Asian butterfly, and thanks to it’s manipulated pH levels when most anything is added to it, it will change colors. You’d think a magical drink like this would be extremely expensive but if you’re still thinking that after listening to this entire video, then you either weren’t paying attention or we didn’t do our jobs. Considering we’ve had about three of those delicious gin-and-tonics, you can’t really blame us!