Food is expensive! I’ve talked about it ad nauseum on this site because this is an important topic to me and of course to all of you. We can’t control the values of our homes or gas prices, but to a certain extent we can control how much we pay for groceries. To that end I’ve been trying to find a cheaper solution because I just refuse to continue paying $700+/month for two people.
Then came Aldi.
Aldi is an offbrand grocery store lacking any o f the frills that you’ll find at your local supermarket chain. They pretty much have all the basics such as food, beverages, canned goods, household items, but you won’t find it in different sizes or any of the low fat variety. Just whatever they have on the shelf.
One woman stated that she fed a family of four on *gasp* $40 a week at Aldi so you know I had to go take a looksee for myself.
Our total came out to $147 but that’s because we stocked up on some items we need for our election night party. I imagine that we would spend no more than $75 for two weeks worth of food there. Buying the same products at Shoppers, Safeway, Whole Foods or even TRader Joes would have set us back at least $350+. Easy. I’ve read on other blogs where the price differences were sllight but in our case the prices were a huge difference. Enough such that I don’t mind going there for the basics, except for milk because I don’t drink cow’s milk, but it’s cheap for less than $3 a gallon!
Curious about Aldi’s business model? According to Privatelabelmag.com:
Aldi’s business model was developed to strictly support their mission to bring consumers the lowest prices on quality food. Consider the following as you think about an Aldi store:
Aldi stores average 15,000 to 18,000 square feet in size and pretty much resemble a box. If they buy into a second-use facility that is larger, a wall is put up, the rest either leased or even left vacant.
They all look the same…a “Spartan” box with as few fixtures as necessary to perform the function. Most product is displayed on floor pallets in cut-open boxes with a retail price sign overhead. There are only three to four aisles.
Three to five registers take care of the traffic and only relatively recently are equipped with scanners. In the past, because none of the items were price-marked, cashiers were required to memorize all the retails.
They all operate the same, too: no coupons, no preferred cards, no free grocery sacks (shopping bags cost 10 cents each), and there is a refundable 25-cent shopping cart charge. And for vendors: no slotting allowances, no promotions, no advertising contracts.
Most striking is their variety, or their lack of it, in terms of how food retailers typically think of variety…only 700 to 800 items. While most sub-categories are represented, there is only one item in one size…one item in one size of peas or spaghetti or apple juice. The average Aldi does less than $100,000 per week, but think of the buying power behind each of those 700 items, compared to the typical supermarket that may carry 40,000 items in 40,000 square feet and do $280,000 per week.
Most interesting is that 90% of the items offered are offered under a brand owned by Aldi, a private label. There are different brand names for each category, but all are owned by Aldi. Seeing a “national brand” almost seems like an anachronism.
I’ve read in different places that some are perhaps a little ashamed to shop here but I can’t imagine why. Why would anyone be ashamed of finding bargain momma deals when it comes to groceries? Especially when we just came off high gas prices and still paying $4 for a dozen eggs? For me it was like uncovering a secret treasure, yes I am that corny! I don’t care what anyone says, I’ll ride this thing until the wheels all off, in other words, I’ll make it work. I’ve been successful at trimming the fat from our budget and while I still have
to kill my shopping habit a little ways to go, this works.
What are your thoughts on Aldis? Have you shopped there? What are your impressions of the place? Would you let the “off brand” products turn you off?