It doesn’t matter where you live, you’ve probably seen the signs hanging out in front of buildings indicating that that building in question belongs to Aldi Supermarkets. In reality, these supermarkets are just about everywhere and it’s not hard to find one, especially if you live in a larger city where there are more options available. If you’re in a place like the United States, you might feel like you don’t really know very much about the company in general. You find them on several streets in the larger cities throughout the US, but to a lot of people in this and other countries, much about the company remains a mystery. Below, you can find 20 things about this particular corporation that might surprise you.
1. The company originated in Germany
This is something that most people are already aware of. Even individuals that don’t routinely shop there can usually tell you that the company got its start in Germany, but they can’t really tell you much of anything else. This is true, the company did originated in Germany. That being said, there’s a lot more to the story than just knowing where it all started.
2. They currently operate more than 10,000 stores
Clearly, this is a company that knows how to succeed in business. At the moment, they’re operating more than 10,000 stores in several different places across the globe. If you want to put that in perspective, consider the most popular supermarkets in the United States. There’s not a single chain that operates over 10,000 stores, much less having the capability of successfully operating in other countries. Before you decide to turn your nose up at Aldi, you might consider the fact that they’ve managed to accomplish both of these achievements, something that virtually no other supermarket operator has been able to do.
3. They have a presence in over 20 countries
As previously mentioned, they operate stores in various places all over the world. Right now, they’re operating stores in more than 20 different countries. Clearly, they have plenty of stores in Germany, along with places like Poland, Denmark, and the United States, just to name a few. They also operate stores all across the United Kingdom and in reality, they have a strong presence throughout Europe.
4. Even though it looks like one company, it actually involves two separate corporations
The company originated with two brothers operating it and at some point, these two decided that they no longer agreed on how things should be done. Rather than dissolving the company or having one buy the other out, they came up with a rather unique solution. They split the company into two distinctly different halves, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. Each one is operated as a company in and of itself, merely sharing the Aldi name. In the United States, it is Aldi Sud that has the most stores. These are the ones that look like the traditional supermarkets with the Aldi name attached to it. As far as the Aldi Nord stores are concerned, you’ll find out more about them later on.
5. The company has been in business since 1946
The company went into business in 1946 and it’s been doing business ever since. Clearly, these two brothers have figured something out that works or they wouldn’t have been able to not only stay in business for so many decades, but to continue to expand. A lot of other supermarket chains have come and gone since the 1940s, yet Aldi remains.
6. The idea took root much earlier than that
You might go as far as saying that the brothers understood the supermarket business a long time before they actually started getting involved with it. As early as 1913, their mother was operating the very first Aldi Supermarket in Germany. She owned and operated the supermarket and the brothers were there watching her do what she did, day in and day out. They obviously paid attention, because when they took over her store in the 1940s, they decided to start expanding and they’ve done very well with it ever since.
7. The company has been operating as two corporations since the 1960s
This was already touched on fairly in-depth detail in an earlier paragraph. However, it is worth noting that Aldi didn’t start out as two separate stores. As a matter of fact, the two brothers operated as a single entity from 1946 until about the mid-1960s, when they decided that it was time for them to each take a portion of the company and do their own thing with it. Since then, they’ve each been successful in their own way.
8. The company is linked to Trader Joe’s
Remember when you were reading about Aldi Nord and how it was different from the regular supermarkets that you’re used to seeing throughout the US? That’s because these stores are actually labeled as Trader Joe’s stores in the United States. As you can see, there’s a reason that these two brothers decided to go their separate ways when it came to business. They each have a very different vision of how things should be when it comes to operating their stores. Most people would never guess that Trader Joe’s and Aldi are even remotely related, yet in reality, they are.
9. They are considered a no-frills supermarket
Trader Joe’s is often heralded as a newer, hip place to shop, while the more traditional Aldi Supermarkets are thought of as a no-frills facility that only offers the most basic items, not to mention having a serious lack of brand names. That being said, a lot of people choose to shop there, especially those who are trying to be conscientious about the way they spend their money.
10. Their reputation varies depending on the country in question
It’s almost comical how much their reputation can vary from one country to the next. In places like Europe, they’re often considered one of the best supermarkets around, although that can change a lot from one specific country to the next. On the other hand, people in other countries view them as a place to shop when you can’t afford to shop anywhere else.
11. In the United States, they have unfairly been given a bad reputation in the past
There is no doubt that most people in the United States see the Aldi Supermarket chain as a place for low income people to shop. For some reason, people in the US seem to see supermarkets as some type of status symbol. They shy away from the ones that are more economical, yet they have a tendency to shop at the one down the street that costs three times as much for the same product. Many people throughout the country even go as far as shunning Aldi Supermarkets because they view it as beneath them to shop there. For the most part, the store hasn’t really done anything to deserve this reputation, short of trying to provide people with an effective way to get their groceries for less money.
12. In their home country of Germany, they sell a lot of wine
In Germany, you’d be surprised how much wine they sell. As a matter of fact, they sell more wine at Aldi Supermarkets in Germany than in any other location throughout the country. It’s not at all uncommon for people to stop there in order to purchase wine, even when they don’t buy groceries.
13. They received an award for the best supermarket two years in a row in the United Kingdom
As previously mentioned, the store is heralded as a great success in the United Kingdom. They’ve even received an award two years running for being the best supermarket in the whole country. That’s saying a lot and there’s no doubt about that. As a matter of fact, people in the United Kingdom and throughout many countries in Europe really do love the supermarket and can’t imagine why anyone would want to shop anywhere else.
14. They seem to have a lot of disagreements with their suppliers in Ireland
That being said, the supermarket has had a lot of disagreements with many of its suppliers for its Ireland stores. For the most part, it comes down to the suppliers claiming that the store doesn’t treat them fairly, even claiming that they’re not paid promptly. More than once, the supermarket chain has denied this but they’ve also apologized to the suppliers and made efforts to change things around so there will be less confusion, not to mention less animosity.
15. Workers in the United States make a lot more money than they do at other supermarkets
If you’re interested in working in a supermarket, you might want to work for Aldi if you live in the United States. Because of their cost-cutting efforts and the fact that they only employ one or two people at a time to work a shift, they usually pay a lot better than any other supermarket chain in the country. As a matter of fact, most supermarket chains in the US only pay minimum wage, which currently averages out to about $7.50 per hour. Those who work at Aldi can easily make more money than that, sometimes even twice as much.
16. They sometimes seem to have a habit of mislabeling their meat products
For some reason, they seem to have a habit of not labeling their meat products correctly. A few years ago, they mislabeled some turkey and once it was discovered, they apologized for doing it and said that they couldn’t figure out how it happened because they never have the two products that were in question in the same warehouse at the same time. Shortly thereafter, it happened again.
17. They were once accused of selling furniture that was sourced illegally
Perhaps one of the most damaging scandals that they’ve ever been involved in was when they decided to sell some wooden furniture. It might have been innocent enough, but they couldn’t prove where the wood came from or that it was legally sourced. This upset a lot of people, because the general region where they believed it originated is a place where about 70 percent of the wood is harvested illegally. They ended up pulling the products and now, they never sell any wooden products without a label that says that it was legally sourced. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of environmentalists that won’t shop at Aldi because of what happened.
18. They’ve also been involved in a large scandal involving the sale of horse meat
They also managed to get themselves in a lot of hot water when it came to some lasagna and other products that were pre-packaged, claiming to be beef. Unfortunately, it was eventually proven then instead of beef, those products contained horse meat. They have since claimed that they changed suppliers and they made another public apology, but this event caused a lot of people to lose faith in the store and as a direct result, they lost a lot of customers.
19. They’ve made a number of public apologies
As you might have already guessed, they’ve been forced to make a number of public apologies. Mislabeling meat is bad enough in and of itself, but knowingly placing horse meat in a product that’s labeled as beef is another thing entirely. The issue with the wooden chairs didn’t help their situation either. Even though they made several public apologies, it really seems like they have a tendency to just keep doing the same thing over and over again. Therefore, some people have made the decision not to shop there any longer.
20. They’re still working to repair their reputation
This unquestionably means that they’re still trying to repair their reputation. The thing is, no one really seems to be sure exactly what they’re doing to make positive changes. Making a public apology and claiming that they’ve changed suppliers doesn’t do a lot to reinstate the confidence of some buyers. Only time will tell if they will be able to regain those customers and genuinely repair their tarnished reputation. For now, they continue to work on these issues, all the while catering to those who like the idea of saving money on the grocery bill each week.