Why Do So Many People Love Shopping at Aldi?

As inflation causes grocery prices to soar, more people are looking for ways to save. Discount supermarkets like Aldi are a great option.

car entering the supermarket retailer Aldi
Updated July 18, 2024
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Inflation has caused grocery prices to explode. The USDA’s Economic Research Service found that supermarket prices in September were up 13% from the previous year, and food prices are food prices rose by 25% from 2019 to 2023. As a result, more Americans are flocking to discount grocers like Aldi.

In fact, 1 million new customers have shopped at Aldi over the last year to save on groceries. There’s been a particular increase in the number of middle-income to high-income customers. But cheaper prices aren’t the only reason to admire Aldi’s unique efforts. Here are 10 more.

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Aldi has lots of fresh and local produce

Birgit Reitz-Hofmann/Adobe aisle with fruits in Aldi

One of the things Aldi says has helped its recent success is an emphasis in fresh produce, which is locally sourced and stocked daily. Those fresh fruits and vegetables make up two-thirds of what customers put in their carts, according to the company.

Aldi is barebones

Heorshe/Adobe Aldi supermarket in Berlin

Shopping at Aldi is a no-frills experience, but that cuts down on costs, which is ultimately to the customers’ benefit. You might not even see shelves in some aisles. Instead, items are displayed in the boxes they were shipped in. When an item runs out, a store worker simply brings out a new box.

Aldi is only open when people are shopping

Bruce/Adobe entrance to an Aldi store at Edgecliff in Sydney

Aldi does not operate 24 hours per day. They open at 8 a.m. local time and close their doors 12 hours later. In line with Aldi’s quest for efficiency, stores are only open during prime shopping hours. You can check your store’s hours online.

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You rent — and wrangle — your cart

mitifoto/Adobe shopping carts

Aldi doesn’t have employees wrangle carts. Customers are expected to do that work so that the store doesn’t have to hire extra staff, which ultimately helps you save money shopping. You put a quarter in the cart to unlock it, then you get the quarter back when you put it in the cart corral.

You bring the bags and you bag the groceries

monticellllo/Adobe original Aldi plastic shopping bag and products

Aldi wants customers to bring their own reusable shopping bags. If you don’t, you can buy one at checkout, but the store doesn’t offer free bags. 

Cashiers at Aldi will quickly scan your items and move them into your cart, but there aren’t any clerks to bag the goods, so you’ll be on your own for that too. 

This way, Aldi saves money on plastic and paper bags and on labor, and those savings can be passed on to customers. And, there’s less waste headed into the environment.

Aldi uses its own brands

Birgit Reitz-Hofmann/Adobe aisle in Aldi store

Aldi doesn’t carry much in the way of name brands. More than 90% of the items the company sells are Aldi-exclusive. The company says this allows it to provide the same quality goods without the hidden costs of national brands like marketing and advertising. As Aldi goes on to note, “brand name does not define quality.”

Aldi backs up its food quality claims

Tupungato/Adobe Aldi supermarket

Aldi has a generous return policy called the “Twice As Nice Guarantee.” If you aren’t happy with an Aldi-branded item, you can get the product replaced as well as a refund. Just be sure to keep your receipt and hand over the packaging and whatever’s left unused to a store manager.

No membership needed

Peeradontax/Adobe people queue on street outside supermarket

There is no membership required to get the best deals on food from Aldi. Everyone pays the same price, no matter what. There isn’t a rewards card, either, but they do have weekly specials, so you can save even more when you visit. No coupons needed.

Aldi has a fan club

vulcanus/Adobe Aldi supermarket food store discounter

Not many grocery stores can boast about having a fan club more than 1 million strong, but Aldi can. Called Aisle of Shame, the blog tracks deals, offers information, and answers questions you might have about shopping at Aldi. There are also reviews, news, and recipes.

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Aldi gives back

Dragana Gordic/Adobe cardboard boxes being filled with food donations

Aldi also tries to be involved in the communities where it has stores. Through grants to local community groups, Aldi makes a positive impact on children’s wellness and helps to tackle food insecurity. 

Bottom line

kleberpicui/Adobe woman putting package with groceries in car trunk

Aldi is a disrupter in the grocery industry and it is earning its customers with discount prices — as well as an efficient shopping experience that sets it apart from its competitors. The company also has major expansion plans: Back in February, the supermarket chain said it would open 150 new stores in the U.S. by the end of the 2023. To date, there are 2,364.

Shopping at Aldi will undoubtedly save you money on groceries. But there are even more reasons to love it. You don’t need a membership to save and there are weekly specials, alongside a generous return policy. It is definitely a no-frills shopping experience, but it is the customer who benefits.

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Author Details

Will Vitka

Will Vitka is a D.C. area reporter and writer. He previously worked for WTOP, The New York Post, Stuff Magazine, and CBS News.