- Aldi recently began offering $12 per pound “certified fresh, never frozen” wild Alaskan salmon, according to Brick Meets Click. The discounted fish is part of Aldi’s ever-increasing fresh assortment targeting high-value customers, the consulting firm notes.
- In mid-July, Aldi advertised the wild-caught salmon along with Chilean salmon priced around $8 per pound. A month later, the discounter’s ad circular included $8 Atlantic salmon along with tilapia filets priced around $5.50. Aldi supports these sales with more than 60 online recipes developed by Aldi’s chefs.
- The move highlights Aldi’s focus on providing more fresh items while still maintaining its price advantage. It also shows, according to Brick Meets Click, that other retailers need to look beyond familiar tactics like discounts and price matching when confronting Aldi.
Many in the industry know about Aldi’s breakneck expansion and remodeling campaign, along with its focus on low prices and limited assortment. Many also are aware that the discounter has award-winning private label products, including on-trend offerings such as a gluten-free and baby line.
What isn’t as widely appreciated is just how serious Aldi is about expanding its fresh assortment. A lot has been made of Lidl’s soft discounter approach, including its bakery and produce assortment. But Aldi also is softening its approach, and is in prime position to win over high-value shoppers who might not typically stop at the chain long known for its bare-bones stores.
In a recent interview with Food Dive, Brick Meets Click chief architect Bill Bishop said Aldi’s seafood discount is an example of how the retailer uses pricing to attract these prized customers. The $12 wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon — which Bishop estimates as costing between $16 and $18 at other retailers — catches the eye of shoppers who might not expect such an offering from Aldi. These customers then come in and round out their basket with other items, including premium private label products that help the discounter earn back its margins.
Similarly, Bishop noted that around Thanksgiving last year, Aldi priced Butterball turkeys competitively with other stores, but offered its fresh, never frozen turkeys for about a dollar and a half below the lowest price in the market.
“They have identified how to communicated tremendous value on a product that is going to be of high interest to people who are interested in food,” he told Food Dive.
Aldi currently has around 1,600 stores and plans to have 2,500 by the end of 2022. The discounter is pushing into promising markets like Southern California, Texas, Florida and the Mid Atlantic. While it doesn’t command high market share in any of these markets, Aldi nevertheless seems poised to nibble away at the margins of other retailers, including traditional supermarkets. It’s also going toe-to-toe with Walmart, and racing out ahead of competitor Lidl to solidify its position as America’s preferred discount chain.