Things to Know About Aldi
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30 Things to Know Before Shopping at Aldi

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Things to Know About Aldi
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What's in Store

Aldi, a budget grocery store with European roots, is disrupting the industry. Its streamlined shopping experience and cost-saving measures translate into big price reductions on common items. The Aldi shopping experience, however, can be unfamiliar and even intimidating to novices. Here is everything you need to know about Aldi and what to expect when shopping there.

Aldi Newbies: Don't Expect to See Many Familiar Logos
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Don't Expect to See Many Familiar Logos

More than 90% of everything sold in Aldi stores is packaged under the Aldi brand. Although the name may be unfamiliar, the products are created by some of the largest U.S. food producers. According to Aldi, this allows its products to meet strict quality standards at a much lower cost.

First-Time Aldi Shopper Lessons
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Walmart Is Taking Notice
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Walmart Is Taking Notice

Retail king Walmart launched a price war designed to slow Aldi's momentum and reclaim coveted discount shoppers, leaning on suppliers and manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble to lower prices by 15%, according to Reuters. Aldi responded by announcing plans to expand its fresh food sections by 40%. Who won? Shoppers.

Aldi Isn't No-Frills Only
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Aldi Goes Beyond the Basics

Aldi has a reputation for focusing on workaday food staples. Shoppers unfamiliar with the store might be surprised to learn they can also find items such as European chocolates, almond milk, smoked salmon, award-winning cheeses, and quinoa.

Want a Cart? You'll Need a Quarter
Source: Cheapism

You'll Pay a Quarter for a Cart, But You'll Get It Back

At most grocery stores, paid employees spend hours corralling stray shopping carts. Aldi reduces labor costs by keeping its carts in one place. To use one, you pay a quarter; when you return it, you get the quarter back. Don't have a quarter? Ask to borrow one from an employee (be sure to return it!). 

Bring Some Bags — Or Snag a Box
Source: Cheapism

Aldi Is BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag)

Aldi discovered another opportunity for savings at the checkout line. As part of its simplified approach, Aldi doesn't give away bags. Shoppers bring their own or buy reusable bags. The money saved on plastic and paper bags goes toward lower price tags on Aldi products.

Don't Wait for the Bagger (He's Not Coming)
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Don't Wait for the Grocery Bagger (They're Not Coming)

The Aldi model is all about trimming the fat to create savings, and a big part of that is lean staffing. Just like there's no shopping cart chaser, there's no grocery bagger. Shoppers bag their own groceries.

Aldi Doesn't Compete on Hours
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Aldi Doesn't Have the Most Convenient Hours

Competitors are likely open earlier and later than Aldi — by design. Aldi's lean business model dictates that the store opens only during peak shopping hours. Depending on location, doors are likely to open at 9 a.m. and close within a maximum of 12 hours.

Leave the Coupons at Home
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Leave the Coupons at Home

Aldi occasionally issues regional coupons or coupons associated with grand openings. Other than that, don't bother looking — the focus is on keeping costs low by simplifying operations, and since Aldi negotiates for the lowest possible prices, it does not honor coupons for the few national brands in the store.

Wednesdays and Saturdays Are Special at Aldi
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Wednesdays and Saturdays Are Special at Aldi

Aldi may not offer coupons, but it does have "Special Buys" every Wednesday and Saturday featuring items from all store departments, from electronics and clothing to furniture and garden equipment. Special Buys come with a 60-day refund policy.

You Can Totally Plan Ahead
Source: Cheapism

Look for Random Deals Called 'Aldi Finds'

Similar to Special Buys, these spur-of-the-moment deals on premium food and household items don't last long. Past "Aldi Finds" have included German specialty items, a Belgian waffle iron, Thai food, and seasonal holiday fare.

The Cashiers Are Ruthlessly Efficient
Source: Cheapism

Shopping at Aldi Is Faster

Veteran Aldi shoppers know the brand is packaged with several barcodes, so cashiers don't have to spend precious seconds searching for one — just to speed up the shopping experience. That's also why, in addition to being smaller and easier to navigate than large grocery chains, the stores all have the same layout.

Aldi Sells Beer and Good Wine
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Aldi Sells Beer and Good Wine

Aldi touts partnerships with winemakers around the world and boasts at least 20 award-winning wines, which it sells in select locations. We tracked down several Aldi house wines that are worth trying. The company also sells beer, including a Beer of the Month, at certain locations. A store locator makes it easy to filter results to find out if there's one nearby.

Aldi Has Good Whisky, Too
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Aldi Has Good Whiskey, Too — Just Not in the U.S.

Aldi’s Highland Black Scotch Whisky ($17) and Glen Marnoch Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($23) recently earned gold medals from trade publication The Spirits Business, putting them right up there with costlier and better-known brands like Chivas Regal. Unfortunately, they're not available at Aldi in the United States.

Aldi Is Conquering Europe
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Aldi Is Conquering Europe

Aldi has roots dating back to 1913 in Germany but has expanded into a global juggernaut that now beats budget and premium chains alike in all corners of Europe. The chain has opened new U.K. locations nearly weekly since 2016, and last year announced plans to open 130 stores and expand to 1,200 stores by 2025. Aldi maintains a presence in 19 countries, including Switzerland, Portugal, and Spain. In Eastern Europe, Aldi has locations in Poland, Slovenia, and Hungary.

Aldi Is on a Health Kick
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Aldi Is on a Health Kick

Aldi has removed harmful oils, synthetic colors, and MSG from all Aldi brand products; expanded its organic produce offerings; and installed checkouts without sugary snacks displayed. It has also created a team of nutrition experts called the Advisory Council to make healthy eating suggestions to customers.

Aldi Has a Brand Just for the Health Conscious
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Aldi Has a Brand for Health-Conscious Shoppers

Aldi markets its Simply Nature brand for what it lacks: Every item in the line is made without anything on a list of more than 125 additives such as dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate (and other things with really long names). The products, which include everything from cereal to salad, have no artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Aldi Has a Brand Just for the Gluten Sensitive
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Aldi Has a Brand for Gluten-Sensitive Shoppers

Aldi's LiveGfree product line is for those going gluten-free. The line includes snacks and sweets, frozen foods, pantry items, broth, produce, and chips. Customers can also find gluten-free recipes on the Aldi website.

Aldi Has a Brand Just for Babies
Courtesy of aldi.us

Aldi Has a Brand for Babies

Aldi's website lists a whole bunch of scary average costs for essential products for babies and young children. Aldi says that by buying diapers, wipes, and formula from its Little Journey baby product line, parents can expect to save as much as 50% — or $1,200 a year — with no sacrifice in quality.

There Are Few Surprises At the Register
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There Are Few Surprises at the Register

Aldi prides itself on industry innovation but doesn't stray too far when it comes to payment. It accepts all major credit cards, cash, most debit cards, and EBT. Neither WIC nor checks — which can slow down checkout — are accepted.

Aldi Doesn't Just Guarantee; It Double Guarantees
Courtesy of aldi.com

Aldi Doesn't Just Guarantee; It Double Guarantees

Aldi insists that its products meet or exceed the quality and flavor of national brands and backs that with a Double Guarantee. If shoppers don't like something they bought, they can bring it back for a replacement — and a full refund.

The Founders Shared Shoppers' Frugality
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The Founders Shared Shoppers' Frugality

The late founders, Theo and Karl Albrecht, were cheap themselves. They didn't just refusing to pay to advertise their stores but used pencils down to the nub and even argued for a tax deduction on a ransom paid to get Theo back from kidnappers. But some in the younger generation of Albrechts get $28 million annually from a family trust, according to Bloomberg News.

Aldi north and south v2
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Aldi Is Really 2 Companies

In 1960, the chain split into Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd when the Albrecht brothers fought over whether to sell cigarettes. They carved up the world into regions peacefully, but the family's younger generation has been known to feud.

Aldi Owns Trader Joes
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Aldi Owns Trader Joe's

America is the only place the two Aldi companies compete: Aldi Süd owns Aldi-branded stores here; Aldi Nord bought the Trader Joe's chain in 1979, when it had only 18 stores. As of last year, there were 461 Trader Joe's stores in 41 states and Washington, D.C.

Aldi Is on the March in America
Courtesy of corporate.aldi.us

Aldi Is on the March in America

Aldi opened its first U.S. location in Iowa in 1976. Today, there are more than 1,600 Aldi stores in 35 states serving 40 million customers. In 2017, the company opened 34 stores in Southern California and announced plans for a massive, nationwide, $3 billion expansion that includes 650 new stores, to achieve the goal of having more than 2,000 U.S. stores serving 45 million people.

Aldi Is Getting a Major Makeover
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Aldi Is Getting a Major Makeover

Aldi announced a $1.9 billion spending spree to modernize and upgrade existing U.S. locations by 2022. Renovations include the introduction of green building materials and systems, including LED lighting and energy-efficient refrigeration. There are also plans to improve building aesthetics with natural lighting and open ceilings.

Pioneer Woman Cookware Set
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Aldi Is Going Head-to-Head With Walmart Brands

Like Pioneer Woman? The TV personality has been a popular brand at Walmart, and Aldi has no problem snagging a piece of the action. Aldi now has a brand of floral cookware aimed to entice fans with a countrified design — and a lower price point, too. 

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
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The Peanut Butter Cups Won a Blind Taste Test

Though it surely chagrined Reese's fans, Aldi won best peanut butter cup in a blind taste test by Yahoo. Honorable mention went to Trader Joe's, and those beloved Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? They warranted only runner-up status. 

Aldi Will Deliver Your Groceries
Courtesy of aldi.com

Aldi Will Deliver Your Groceries

Aldi customers who don't feel like going to the store can buy everything online and get it delivered the same day (sometimes in less than an hour), thanks to a partnership with Instacart. 

Aldi Is Hiring
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Aldi Is Hiring

Aldi employs more than 24,000 people across the United States and is looking for help to fuel its expansion. Employee hierarchy is simple, and the company vows to pay industry-leading wages and compensate employees with full benefits packages that include retirement plans and insurance.