Aldi wants to make organics affordable for everyone
Aldi has made its name in the U.S. as a no-frills, low-price grocery store at the opposite end of the shopping spectrum from the high-end grocery trend. Unlike grocers such as Whole Foods that focus on an expansive selection and immersive customer experience, Aldi’s product selection is targeted at budget shoppers and its presentation is economical. But now Aldi is making moves into organic and natural groceries that may seem like a 180 from its longstanding reign as champion of the cheap and stripped-down.
Bloomberg reported that Aldi has recently added organic quinoa, coconut oil and other popular health food items and is testing products such as cage-free eggs and sriracha sauce in some locations.
According to Bloomberg, Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart is rolling out the changes in response to the shifting shopping landscape he sees in the U.S., as Americans’ concerns with ingredients and food quality grow. Aldi has a natural and organic line called SimplyNature and it is the grocer’s fastest-growing seller, perhaps giving credence to the idea that customers may shop Aldi based on price but are happy with something more like Trader Joe’s in terms of selection.
The company intends to maintain the low everyday prices it is known for, even as it ups the quality of its assortment.
Aldi seems committed to targeting the consumer that is both health- and budget-conscious. In a press release discussing their commercial push with Cash Cab’s Ben Bailey, the company cites a study which reads, "Sixty-one percent of U.S. adults said it was too difficult to eat healthy and organic on a budget, and nearly eight out of ten respondents said they would buy fresh, high quality and organic products if it wasn’t so expensive."
The appearance of higher-end items at Aldi could be cause for concern for some of the bigger names in natural grocery. The fact that a discounter is moving into the space may be a sign that high-end grocers known for their organic selections are losing their novelty.
An article in USA Today reports that Whole Foods as well as small organic competitors like Sprouts Fresh Market have taken hits to their stock this quarter. The article attributes this to the mainstreaming of organic food, with Kroger — a growing force in organics — being one of the top-performing grocery stocks today.
- Aldi Tries High-End Food and Discounts, Too – Bloomberg
- Popular Television Host Ben Bailey Partners with ALDI to Test Consumers’ Cart Smarts in New Online Video Series – PR Newswire
- Aldi’s new web series is a hit – RetailWire
- Ask Matt: Was organic food just a fad? – USA Today
Does Aldi run the risk of driving away a segment of its customer base by moving towards organic and natural? Will the company be able to maintain its low-price image while offering products associated with high-end stores?