Are we falling out of love with Aldi?

Aldi trolleys in a row

Are Australians over their obsession with Aldi?

Aldi hit the Australian market by stealth. The German company opened a few stores, garnered a lot of publicity and then steadily opened store after store. There are now 592 stores in Australia.

To start, Aldi was a bit of a novelty, but quickly became an Aussie favourite with its mix of knock-off branding and that weird centre aisle of random specials, all at astonishingly cheap prices.

But is the romance over?

A report on news.com.au has crunched the numbers and far from the 10 per cent growth it enjoyed for many years, the company managed only 1 per cent for 2020-21.

The analysts are blaming this sudden drop on a few things.

Primarily, during that pandemic period, Australians turned to online shopping, which Aldi doesn’t provide.

Another theory is that as Aldi moves to stock a lot more known Australian brands than their usual weirdness, shoppers are happy buying them at Coles and Woolworths.

Or is it that Aldi is fudging the figures? As a private company, it doesn’t have to supply as much data as publicly listed companies such as Coles and Woolworths.

But maybe you should ask the consumers. Facebook pages devoted to Aldi are littered with complaints about skyrocketing prices and falling standards. Not to mention how to go about returning items, many of them from that centre aisle.

So what’s the solution? Maybe it needs to go back to the enthusiastic discounter it once was and get with the times on online shopping.

This week’s best deals

IGA

Sensible: Whiskas Dry Cat Food, 800g $4.50, save $2.65. You should always snag savings on pet food when you can. Critters can be expensive. I also salute Whiskas for no longer pretending what’s on the pack is what’s in the pack. The packaging makes it clear it’s chicken and rabbit ‘flavours’, whatever they are.

Indulgence: Smirnoff, Gordon’s, Bundaberg and Johnnie Walker 1L, $59. If you are beginning to squirrel away stuff for Christmas, these popular spirits at this price are a good start.

See the catalogue here.

Aldi

Sensible: Ready Steady Cook marinated chicken kebabs, $7.99. With warm weather entertaining underway and Christmas a few weeks out, some corners may need to be cut along the way. Bung these on the barbie, serve with salad and away you go.

Indulgence: Ocean Royale Wild Peeled Prawns, $15.99, save $3. There was a wee controversy a while back regarding this brand, in that they were good enough for human consumption, but not to be used for bait. Ouch. Actually, it’s due to Australia’s strict biosecurity and designed to stop nasties getting in our waterways. Still stings a bit though.

See the catalogue here.

Woolworths

Sensible: Weis Ice Cream bars, $5.50, save $4. Good special on an excellent product. Weis bars serve a dual purpose. Great on their own but also handy for smoothies if you don’t have fresh fruit on hand.

Indulgence: Christmas Confectionary Stockings, 20 per cent off. I’m the sort of craft tragic who made my kids their own cross-stitch Christmas stockings using hideously expensive imported threads. I know without a doubt that when they were young if I had offered them supermarket stockings stuffed with lollies instead they’d have changed their minds so quickly their heads would have snapped. Lots to choose from including Cadbury, Chupa Chups and M&Ms.

See the catalogue here.

Coles

Sensible: Coles Beechwood Smoked Leg Ham, $8/kg. I’ll probably be pointing this out a lot before Christmas this year, but buying a ham is cheaper than buying sliced ham at the deli. Deli ham rarely gets below $20/kg, and here it is at $8/kg. Don’t worry about leftovers, it’s perfect for freezing.

Indulgence: Lamb Loin Chops, $18/kg. I’m putting this in the indulgence list because prices like these are not going to last. Farmers are rapidly destocking and there are bargains to be had. However, eventually demand will outstrip supply and those eye-watering prices will be back. Enjoy it while you can.

See the catalogue here.

Have you notices Aldi prices going up? Do you shop there often? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: Snacks and treats become luxury items as Australians cut back

Written by Jan Fisher

Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.

22 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. “Falling out of love” may be evidenced with a decline in business, not when still managing growth especially during a pandemic when their potential customer base was minimised. Also, if the previous ongoing 10% growth was at the expense of their competion, then mathematics/economics shows that this could not continue in perpetuity.

    • The news.com report linked to was of course at the cutting edge of accurate factual journalism…. ahem.

      The whole dump of statistics made no reference at all to other market players, and the state of the market.

      I’d describe the suggestion that aldi is on the nose as a crock of bollocks, based on the information supplied. It’s impossible to make that deduction.

      It’s ironic that the article references the difficulty of obtaining aldi figures, when there is a complete void of data freely available about coles and woollies.

      Just one step away from american “factual” reporting…. but it is murdoch press, after all.

  2. If in fact people are abandoning Aldi, which I’m not convinced of, I would suggest that in these times of skyrocketing prices, Aldi still check your bags (to avoid theft) at the checkout in their supermarkets. Whereby Woolworths and Coles don’t. So it would follow that the people who generally take a five finger discount on a few items to lower their weekly shopping bill, would moved from Aldi to the other supermarkets. Perhaps I’m just cynical. Jacka.

  3. Why is Aldi the only supermarket to require coins or $1 plastic crappy things, in their shopping trolleys. All their customers are wheeling around a Coles or Woollies trolley FREE.
    Also Aldi has a surcharge if you choose paywave. Why?

    • Why? Because aldi is a low cost supermarket of course!
      Customers wheeling around coles or woollies trolleys pay a lot more for groceries.
      If you want a concierge service you pay a concierge price.
      I choose (where possible) to shop at a low price supermarket…..but I have to travel a bit to get to aldi.

    • What a stupid remark. One often finds Coles or Woolworth trolleys left behind their cars or sometimes well away from their supermarkets, because people cannot bother to return the trolley to the trolley bays. I have yet to see an Aldi trolley discarded elsewhere but its proper trolley bay. By the way, one does not have to pay for the use of a trolley. Finally, my wife and I have shopped at Aldi for quite some time now, and we may assure these gruntled customers that we continually save money each time we shop at Aldi supermarkets. This is also the reason why Aldi supermarkets are equally popular in many countries in Europe.

  4. Really dislike Aldi’s checkout arrangement, but the thing that keeps me away from my local Aldi is (a) chronic lack of staff and (b) poor customer service by the few that are there. There are rarely staff on the shop floor to answer a question, and the one at the checkout only ever acknowledges the customer they are currently dealing with. No looking up, no smile, no noticing the line is now ten people long and it’s time to open another register. Their alleged cheaper prices don’t compensate for a poor customer experience for me.

    • Absolutely agree! I was one of the enthusiastic Aldi fans when they opened up in Gippsland, Victoria, mainly on the basis if locality (much closer to home) and price. (Rural-area prices can get out of hand with most rtailers.) But the enthusiasm/prices/etc. only go so far. I started ‘feeling’ a real nazi attitude towards the customers; ie ALL the complaints you list. When I moved up to the suburbs (Melbourne) that ‘feeling’ followed me. And finally I had a run-in with a BIG, nasty-natured goon telling me what I could and couldn’t do in the carpark. When the discussion became a bit heated he actually threatened to beat me up. I finally decided to leave rather than use a gun I had in the car. (Living rurally, it sometimes comes in handy.) But I’ve never even considered taking my cash to Aldi again; nor would I at ANY price. (Incidentally, their surveillance cameras no not only keep pictures of each customer on file, but even follow customers back to their vehicle in the carpark and record the number-plate of the car. And as luck would have it, the bonus is that Coles and Woollies have been lowering THIER prices little-by-little; though you have to shop around to get the best of them.

    • PS.. A friend directed me to IGA recently (largely because of the price-difference), so I drove the extra few km to get to the nearest one. WELL worth the effort. Though the prices weren’t MUCH better than the Cole/Woolies more competetive ones the ATTITUDE and service helpfulness of the proprieter (also the owner) was heartwarming! Took me back 70 years to when most shopping (except a twice-a-year trip to Melbourne for the ‘Big Stuff : including Santa!) was done at the corner ‘general store’, owned by Mr & Mrs McDonald, whose youngest son was also my best mate! Gone are the days! (and even as a devout atheist I sometimes suspect that these changes are god’s way of getting me prepared for the grave happily!)

  5. Maybe due to tough times shoppers are buying less but Coles and Woolies have increased their sales by charging so much more while Aldi’s prices have remained more stable. After all the two big ones report sales $ growth not product volume growth.
    People who complain about a coin or token for a trolley are more likely those who leave the trolley by their parking spot and drive off.

  6. Speaking of prices and stuffs…. nothing against Jan Fisher, but the number of times I just roll my eyes at “the week’s best deals” is getting monotonous.

    Today’s example of Weis ice cream bars reduced at woolworths from $30/kg to $20/kg as a sensible purchase is simply out of touch with reality….. on a website aimed at mature/ retired people. It would be a better fit in advice targeting DINK city managers on high incomes. I wouldn’t even fit it in as an indulgence.

    Compare it with this week’s indulgence of lamb loin chops @ $18/Kg… which is more a food, which is more easily ignored?

    IGA’s indulgence of 1 litre bottles of spirit for $59 compares badly with the common prices at dan murphys and the like.

    I can only guess that some or all of the suppliers quoted every week are slinging a few bucks encouragement…. because these prices always seem up up up.

    I’d prefer to see sensible suggestions like quick oats, pizza bases and ingredients, mince and rump steak, yoghurt and cheese etc……significant discount specials on staple foods not fattening luxuries, etc….

    Just sayin……..

    • Could not but agree. And it wasn’t very long ago (depending on how gray one’s beard is!) that the $18 you cite for a lump of sheep-meat was the average weekly wage for a working-man. (Though I was horrified a few days ago when some meat, packaged small, ran out at just under $70 per kg. Or about $63 if you bought ANY two. Either retailers have a REALLY low opinion about the intelligence of shoppers, OR people really ARE STUPID! As for me: I gave up ‘catching and killing my own’ as I got older (and wealthier); but am seriously thinking about regressing. I can STILL put several hundred lbs (!) of venison in the freezer (and the dogs!- have you seen the price of dogfood lately?!) for the price of a $4 bullet. I’ll be out of here (the grave beckons) before the SHTF for real; but feel enormously sad for the kids who’ll be stuck with the results of their parents’ stupidity and gutlessness.

    • Yeah: spreading like the covid-bug! It’s something shoppers SHOULD GET TOGETHER AN DO SOMETHING ABOUT! The ability to network on the internet should make organising a MAJOR boycott easy enough. Digital money holds out all sorts of THREATS; but unfortunately most of the ‘Morons on the Street’ LOVE playing with their plastic cards and happily go along with. Their kids and grandkids will come to hate them for it! Rightly!

  7. ANYTHING bigger than a beanie in Aldi’s centre aisle – SAYS “DANGER!!”

    TV’s appliances, tools, mowers and all their other major “stuff” – is so badly designed, ‘has a 5 Year In-Home warranty” – but they DO NOT carry spare parts!!

    The “5 Year In-Home Warranty” – isn’t worth the paper it is written on!

    At least the staff offer you a refund as soon as you take the product back, BUT – how do you do that with a washing machine or dryer, a wall over or hotplates? Their rules around the “5 Year In-Home warranty” approvals are JUST PLAIN STUPID!!

    Their wall ovens and hotplates come with a “3 pin plug top” – YET – they won’t even consider a warranty ‘In-Home’ service all until they have the electrician’s licence number who installed it?

    IT HAS A PLUG TOP ON IT!!

    The customers who buy this RUBBISH – are single Mum’s, young families, retirees and other people on low incomes – THAT IS WHY THEY SHOP AT ALDI, yet they are expected to pull out their appliances, and return it to the store to get a refund?

    THAT IS WHY ALDI STINKS!!!

Leave a Reply

calendar with rent due marked

Explained: Rent Assistance and the Age Pension

Australian money

How to generate inflation-adjusted income in retirement