What is Aldi?
Aldi is a discount grocery store known for its low prices and simple store design. Aldi finds creative ways to help save customers money without sacrificing quality. This includes a rotating section of in-season produce or only stocking certain items depending on the season. Is Aldi a real grocery store? Yes and no. It depends on your definition of a "real grocery store." Aldi is different than other super markets. Aldi is able to keep its grocery prices low by offering a unique approach.
Where is Aldi located?
Aldi is a discount grocery store with more than 2,200+ locations throughout the United States. Aldi currently has locations in 39 states.
Why is Aldi so cheap?
Aldi is so cheap for several reasons. Aldi set up its business model to help lower consumer costs. Some of the reasons why Aldi is so cheap include: keeping a low number of staff, selling private label products instead of name-brand items, utilizing cardboard boxes for displaying food items, charging customers for grocery bags, and keeping store square footage small. Here are recipes using ingredients you can find at Aldi.
What are the ways Aldi is different than other grocery stores?
Here are the top ways Aldi is different than other grocery stores:
- Sells mainly private label products
- Utilizes no-frills design and a small building footprint
- Limits products + Rotates products based on season and location
- Uses quarters to unlock shopping carts
- Charges shoppers for grocery bags
1. Aldi sells mainly private label products
Prices stay affordable thanks to offering mainly private-label food items. About 90 percent of products are private label. This allows Aldi to cut out the middleman and sell their private-label food items directly to the consumer. Prices are cheaper at Aldi because there isn't a huge mark-up on groceries.
2. Aldi utilizes no-frills design and a small building footprint
An Aldi building would never be considered beautiful. It is a simple building with a small footprint. Costs are kept low since the grocery store doesn't need a large amount of space to operate. It does not cost as much to heat and cool the building or maintain it.
The small building size is also a pro compared to other grocery stores. It makes it easy to quickly stop at Aldi to pick up your items without having to walk to the verrrryyyyy back of a large grocery store just to pick up a gallon of milk.
3. Aldi limits products + rotates products based on season and location
Another way Aldi is able to offer cheaper prices is due to the fact that Aldi rotates products based on season and location. You may not be able to find certain products at all times during the year. For instance, the fall and winter months are considered "baking season." Aldi will stop selling summer products like ice cream cones and ice cream toppings and instead will start to sell apple cider donuts and hot cocoa mixes. Basic "essential" items like ice cream or chocolate chips remain in-stock throughout the year even though those items tend to lean toward a certain season.
Aldi also sells products based on availability in certain locations. Typically Aldi keeps most products the same throughout each store regardless of location, but some areas may offer a few items that you may not be able to find at another store a few states away. This allows Aldi to offer easy-to-get products at certain locations, but prevents the unnecessary burden of shipping these more unique products across the United States.
4. Aldi uses quarters to unlock shopping carts
Don't forget your "Aldi quarter!" Unlocking an Aldi shopping cart is arguably one of the most anxiety producing quirks of shopping at Aldi. Don't worry - an Aldi quarter isn't a special quarter. Any American 25 cent piece with George Washington's head on it will unlock a shopping cart. All you have to do is simply insert a quarter into the slot for the coin located on the shopping cart. The shopping cart lock will then allow you to detach the shopping cart from the other shopping carts.
The quarter lock incentivizes Aldi shoppers to return their cart to the shopping cart corral located right near the entrance of Aldi. This prevents the extra expense of paying employees to gather lone shopping carts that are strewn across the parking lot.
After you unload your groceries, simply return the shopping cart to the cart corral, insert the metal key piece into your cart lock, pop out your quarter, and leave.
Shopping carts aren't returned to the cart holder by store attendants. Instead, Aldi relies on a "quarter" system. Shopping carts are unlocked by inserting a quarter into the lock to release one shopping cart at a time. Aldi shoppers only get their Aldi quarter back by returning the shopping carts to the holding area and re-inserting the cart key into their cart to release the quarter.
5. Aldi charges shoppers for grocery bags
In addition to an "Aldi quarter", people like to bring their "Aldi bags." Any reusable bags will do. Aldi does have grocery bags available for purchase at the checkout so don't worry if you forgot your reusable bags. Another trick is to use empty boxes you may find around the store.
Is Aldi expensive?
Aldi is not considered an expensive grocery store. It is considered a discount and affordable super market. Aldi can be cheaper than big-box stores like Walmart, Target, and other grocery stores thanks to these innovative ideas to keep food and labor costs low. According to a press release dated September 22, 2022, Aldi was voted number 1 in price 5 years in a row.
Is Aldi a healthy grocery store?
Is Aldi a healthy grocery store? Once again, it depends on you definition of a healthy grocery store. You won't be able to find obscure health products at Aldi. However, Aldi has increased product offerings for certain diets. You can find Keto products, low-carb products, gluten-free products, and some organic products at Aldi. The discount grocery store also removed certified synthetic colors, added MSG, and partially hydrogenated oils from all of their exclusive brand food products in 2015.
What does AOS mean at Aldi?
Many new Aldi shoppers wonder what AOS means. AOS means "Aisle of Shame." No one knows for sure when the term started to be used. It describes the aisle in Aldi stores that has the Aldi weekly finds. The Weekly Finds are limited time only items. Once these products are sold out, they won't return. Aldi Fans started using this term to represent adding random items to their shopping cart that they weren't exactly planning to buy when they decided to go grocery shopping.