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It seems everyone is at it these days. I’m doing it at least once – sometimes twice – a week, several of my friends claim that it has “changed their lives”; even my husband thinks it’s the best thing since the sliced bread.
But it’s not the latest health craze that we are all obsessed with, oh no. It just seems that we’ve all caught a case of discount-shop-itis. What’s more, it isn’t just one shop that has everyone in a tizzy, but rather a handful of retailers right on your very own high street.
For some, it’s the pound shops that get their hearts pounding, but for me, it’s the budget supermarket Aldi where I turn to cut costs without scrimping on quality. (Just as a heads up, this is not an ad or a sponsored post. I just love Aldi!)
And we are not alone in getting in on the low-price action: figures from Halifax show a 23% increase year on year on spending in discount supermarkets since January 2013. This is a huge rise in comparison to spending in mid-range supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s, where shopping increased by only 2% over the same period.
Gone are the days of Britons looking down on these stores as a place of poor quality and imported goods; they are now widely recognised as the best way to save money on your weekly shop.
All it took was one trip to my local shop to be converted. Have you thought about making the swap?
BUT WHY IS IT SO CHEAP?
Aldi now accounts for 7% of the market, having overtaken the Co-op in 2017 to become the UK’s fifth largest supermarket. One in every 13 bottles of wine purchased in the UK is bought there, with Champagne sales even higher at one in every 12 bottles.
(But you needn’t miss out on the savings if you don’t have a shop locally, you can buy wine on the Aldi website. At the moment delivery is free on orders over £20 – standard UK delivery is usually £2.95 – and a six-bottle case can be found for as little as £24.)
But how can it be so cheap? Surely the low prices must mean the products are of poor quality?
All of Aldi’s UK stores are around 1,125m² in dimension, which makes it easy for shoppers to navigate the aisles. The supermarket chain says the average shopper can finish their shopping in 27 minutes because of the size of its stores.
But the real secret to the value of Aldi is fewer product lines and limited promotions. For instance, the total number of its product lines is 1,750 compared with another major supermarket of 40,000. So, Aldi stocks only one type of tomato ketchup compared to the other supermarkets which could have a dozen. This means that Aldi can buy the product in large volumes and therefore have fewer overheads in terms of transporting the stock.
What’s more, only eight percent of Aldi’s products are on promotion at any one time compared to the industry average of around 40%.
DON’T BE A SUCKER FOR BIG BRANDS
Sales of unbranded products have rocketed in recent years. I know I’m happy to trade out a family favourite for an almost identical product from a less well-known brand, if it means saving money – and the quality is comparable.
Unlike other supermarkets, you won’t find many brand names at Aldi. In fact, around 90% of the products at the grocer are what’s known as ‘private label’.
But don’t let this put you off. This is what I love the most about Aldi, the own-brand products are excellent – and affordable.
In fact, last year the Grocer Food & Drink Own Label Awards compared 1,103 own-label products and found that the discount retailer beat most of Britain’s supermarkets when it came to taste.
According to The Sun, the Budget supermarket gets many of its products from suppliers of favourite British brands. It is understood its curry sauces are made by AB World Foods, which produces Pataks curry sauces. Muller is also believed to make Aldi’s yoghurts. Aldi has also been linked to United Foods, which makes McVitie’s biscuits, and Kimberly-Clark, the manufacturer of Andrex toilet paper.
The supermarket doesn’t only stock Aldi products. It does carry some of the bigger brands that it feels cannot be beaten. However, when it feels it can beat or compete strongly with a brand, it will do so. The Aldi nappies, Mamia, are now only outsold by Pampers in the UK.
What’s more, the retailer has rolled out some “very similar” products to luxury brands such as Jo Malone, Liz Earle and MAC. I just went to the Christmas Press event a few weeks ago and there are some cracking cosmetic dupes coming to stores in time for the holidays – if you are a Benefit fan, keep your eyes peeled.
MY TOP OWN-BRAND ALDI PRODUCTS
Here are my favourites – how do they compare to what’s in your basket?