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Friday, November 28, 2014

German-owned Aldi in Australia

Aldi started slow in Australia.  When they first opened in 2001, shopping at Aldi was just too hard.  We knew everything was supposed to be cheaper but the aisles were too narrow, they didn't stock the particular item you wanted which meant an extra shopping trip to Woolworths or Coles, and packing your own groceries was the pits.

I shopped at Aldi yesterday and would still describe it as being somewhat disorganized - a hodgepodge of items in bins that you have to rummage through - unlike the ordered displays of the two big supermarket giants. 

There is also a good chance the grocery item you bought two weeks ago won't be there today and you won't find a staff member to ask a question, they are very thin on the ground.   But despite all this inconvenience, it's much cheaper than shopping at Woolworths or Coles.

Internet shopping has proved that Australians pay far more for groceries (and everything else) than any other country in the world and Aldi sell some very good quality items for half the price.

They have already brought fundamental changes to the Australian supermarket sector with Coles and Woolworths following their lead to use private label brands which now make up about 20 per cent of all grocery sales.

But the big news is that Aldi now sells alcohol and word is spreading that it's cheaper than the Bottle Shop.  Even though Woolworths and Coles have their own liquor stores, alcohol isn't available in the supermarket and it's a whole new experience to find it there.

Thanks to Aldi, the myth that a good wine has to be expensive has been shattered.  Wines made for Aldi took out three top awards at this year's Sydney International Wine Competition.

The six wines, including a $4.99 Spanish Tempranillo and three other Aldi labels priced below $10 were ranked in the top 280 wines in the competition.

Two other Aldi wines - a $6.99 local cab sav and the AC Byrne & Co semillon sauvignon blanc from Margaret River - ranked in the top 100 wines.

Bruce Tyrrell, managing director of Tyrrell's Wines agreed Aldi offered good value. "Basically what you get from Aldi is cheap and bloody good quality" he said.

So I'll be shopping at Aldi much more in the future, it's worth the inconvenience.