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Aldi made cheap shopping cool. Do you like the discount grocery store?

September 5, 2018

Aldi made cheap shopping cool. Do you like the discount grocery store?

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Aldi is cool.

The discount German grocer, which is renovating many of its 1,800 American stores and building 700 new by 2022, is adding more organic options and ready-to-eat foods.

The formula helped make Whole Foods such a hit.

Except while Whole Foods is rare and upscale, in spots like Orange village’s Pinecrest, Aldi is a stand-alone box on a busy street. You bring your own bags. You fork over a quarter for a cart. You pack your own purchases.

Shoppers love the no-frills efficiency of the whole experience. And the prices.

There’s only one brand of anything, so if you want a bag of sugar, you grab a bag of sugar. There’s no way to compare prices and brands and sizes.

One Instagram exchange:

_its_me_julie_I love you, @aldiusa! More and more everydayaldiusa@_its_me_julie_ We’re happy you’re a fan!_its_me_julie_@aldiusa I shamelessly promote @aldiusa to anyone that will listen

Shoppers lined up at the new Medina Aldi in August. (Then again, shoppers will line up anywhere for free samples and gift cards.)

My family started shopping at Aldi after my sister started shopping at Aldi.

“Isn’t it kind of cheap?” I asked, like that was a bad thing.

(The other common question is, “Isn’t it related to Trader Joe’s?” It is, tangentially.)

So we tried Aldi. We don’t buy all our groceries there; but we do buy most of them. Including the sourdough bread, and the wine. Even my sophisticated friend, who loves good wine, complimented Aldi’s Winking Owl line.

I’ve also bought flower bulbs and baby wash and kids socks, from the random Aldi Finds aisle in the middle of the small store. 

You’ve seen the Aldi TV commercials, right?

Twenty percent of products in every ALDI store will be new compared to last year. That includes:

Marinated cilantro lime chicken breastsVeggie noodles and ready-to-eat sliced fruitsVegan and vegetarian options, such as kale and quinoa crunchburgers, and chickenless pattiesSingle-serve guacamole and organic hummus,plus fresh fruit and vegetable snack packsFresh gourmet olives and calzonesRefrigerated beverages, such as strawberry kefir and kombucha

Does the expansion make you want to try Aldi? Do you love it or hate it?

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