Still minimalist, now more organic
by Trilby MacDonald
From the February, 2020 issue
Aldi is spending more than $5 billion to remodel its more than 1,800 U.S. stores and add 700 more by 2023, including one on the crowded Carpenter Rd. corridor. At a compact 22,000 square feet, it doesn't look like much of a threat to the Kroger across the street or the Target and Meijer down the way. But the German-owned discounter is on track to become the country's third-largest grocer (after Kroger and Walmart) thanks to a low-price strategy based on small staffs, limited hours, and zero services--customers pack their own groceries, often in empty product delivery boxes. They also know not to expect familiar brand names--according to an April press release, "more than 90 percent of its range is ALDI-exclusive."
With the remodels and store openings comes a new focus on fresh produce and organic, vegetarian, and vegan items. The produce section is front and center, with dozens of organic produce options available alongside conventional produce, all wrapped in shiny plastic bags.
The plastic is pervasive, with many products wrapped in multiple layers of the stuff. It's a misstep in Aldi's campaign to court more green-minded customers, but the company is aware of the problem and has committed to converting all plastics to reusable, recyclable, or compostable varieties by 2025 and reducing plastic packaging by 15 percent in the same time frame.
Aldi, 3299 Carpenter. Daily 9 a.m.-8 p.m. aldi.us
[Originally published in February, 2020.]
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