Why Aldi's Groceries Are So Cheap

If you are an Aldi shopper, you probably are like all the others in that you will go to your grave praising everything about the grocery chain, especially the low prices. Famed for its speedy checkout process, the fact that you need a quarter in order to get a grocery cart, and bagging your own groceries, it's generally the rock-bottom prices that keep its loyal customers coming back ... and what converts others to the chain. When you can buy a package of soft, chewy cinnamon raisin bagels for $1.89 and Greek yogurt for $0.62 a pop (though prices may vary depending on your location), you feel like you're winning every time you shop.

There isn't one single thing that keeps Aldi's prices so low, it's a number of factors. For starters, Aldi doesn't have to hire someone to fetch carts from the parking lot because the shoppers bring them back themselves (in order to get their quarter back). The company doesn't need to hire baggers either because customers bag their own groceries. All in all, it's a lot of little practices that the brand does that add up to a lot of savings for its customers.

Private brands and minimal staff add up to big savings

The thing that likely makes the biggest difference in avoiding higher grocery prices is that the chain sells very few brand name items. In fact, 90% of Aldi's products are private-label and much cheaper than the big brands. If you walk into an Aldi for the first time, you probably won't recognize the brands because Aldi produces very few television ads, saving a lot of money there as well. Outside of no baggers or cart retrievers, the company also employs a minimum number of store associates on any given day, saving on payroll costs. The staff does it all: acts as cashiers and stocks products when the checkout lane is slow. You won't find an Aldi employee standing around with nothing to do.

In general, Aldi stores are small and efficient. There are no grand displays of soda pop or sample stations. While store cleanliness is very important, there is minimal decoration, no music playing in the background, and the products are often put out for purchase in the boxes they arrived in so stocking is as quick and easy as opening the box and taking it to the correct aisle location. All of these things minimize overhead costs to the company, which in turn, results in lower prices to the consumer.

What about quality?

Much like Trader Joe's, Aldi has gained a cult following on several of its high quality products, like its Happy Farms string cheese and delicious Mama Cozzi's take and bake pizzas. When shoppers don't like a store's quality, they simply stop shopping there, but YouGov reported that Aldi was the fifth most popular grocery chain in the country as of Q2 of 2023 and it sits just behind Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

Although the stores don't have meat or seafood counters, they do have excellent, pre-packaged meats that come from local farms (reducing shipping costs) and fish; the fresh Atlantic salmon is another item shoppers go for again and again. The produce at Aldi comes prepackaged, making for speedy shopping and keeping the company from having to hire produce department managers and staff. The stores also carry a number of organic fruits and vegetables.

Overall, Aldi is a no-frills grocery chain that sells great products at excellent prices. Bargain grocery hunters may find themselves doing all of their shopping here because the costs are simply too good to pass up.