While German supermarket chain Aldi has had a foothold in the US since the 1970s, rival grocer Lidl has just staked their claim as of 2017. With their headquarters in Virginia, Lidl now has about 100 stores, compared to Aldi’s 2,000+.
With their focus on discount pricing in common, as well as their country of origin and famously reclusive owners, it might surprise some that the two chains are quite different. So here are the main things you should know about Aldi and Lidl!
Aldi Vs Lidl: More Similarities Than Differences
When comparing Aldi vs Lidl, there are many similarities such as both grocery stores selling private label products, a focus on passing on savings to customers, and store locations (10,000 Aldi stores and 11,200 Lidl stores globally). Additionally, both Aldi and Lidl were started by the Albrecht brothers.
To learn more about the similarities and differences in prices, locations, quality, products sold, and much, keep on reading!
Aldi Vs Lidl: Price
A variety of sources have stated that while the price gap between Aldi and Lidl is pretty small, it does still exist. (In fact, UK news outlets have been reporting that Lidl was named the cheapest supermarket!)
However, despite a few different sites mentioning that Aldi edged out Lidl in terms of low prices, after comparing a few random items, I’m not sure that’s the case. I looked into produce first.
A 12-oz bag of organic kale greens is $2.89 at Aldi; but a slightly smaller bag (10 ounces) was only $2.79, and on sale, it was only $2.29.
A pack of three green bell peppers at Aldi sell for the low price of $2.19 per pack; Lidl sells them for $1.99 each (and they knock about 60 cents off when they’re on sale).
This was a surprise, so I looked at baking staples, thinking maybe pantry items would show more of a difference. A 2-lb bag of light brown sugar sells for $1.29 at Aldi, and it’s the same at Lidl.
I did find a difference in extra virgin olive oil, however. Aldi’s container sells for 18 cents per ounce, while Lidl’s will set you back 22.8 cents (they are in different size containers, with Lidl selling the larger one).
Another product where Aldi had Lidl beat was pure vanilla extract, an expensive ingredient (compared to the price of flour and sugar). Two fluid ounces sell for $3.25 at Aldi and $3.39 at Lidl.
Without comparing every single item in each store, it’s clear that while Aldi might undercut Lidl where a few items are concerned, Lidl stays competitive on the whole.
So yes, the price difference between the two supermarkets exists, but it was not what I was expecting, and it was not what other writers have suggested. Lidl, in fact, beats Aldi’s prices in quite a few categories!
Aldi Vs. Lidl: Locations
The difference in locations between Aldi and Lidl is perhaps one of the biggest discrepancies between the two.
As mentioned, Aldi has over, 2,000 stores in the US, in 37 states, including on all three coastlines (that’s East, West and Gulf). Homebase is Batavia, Ill.
Lidl, who only expanded stateside starting in 2017, numbers just 100 (with more in the works), and their stores are mainly concentrated on the East coast, with Virginia their HQ.
Abroad, however, Aldi has 10,000 stores all across the world, including in many European countries, South America, Australia and Asia. Lidl tops them with 11,200 stores worldwide, in 32 different countries.
Aldi might have the advantage here in the US, but the company is outnumbered by Lidl’s stores when you widen the lens internationally, and Lidl has stepped up their expansion, too. The company aims to have an additional 50 stores operating by the end of 2021.
Aldi Vs. Lidl: Quality
When shoppers are new to Aldi, they are usually pretty impressed by the quality of the product, and likewise, Aldi fans who try Lidl tend to be pretty blown away by the comparable quality, especially when it comes to the private-label goods.
In some cases, reviewers preferred the quality of Lidl to Aldi, saying the produce looked fresher.
Since people tend to complain that Aldi’s produce section can be hit-or-miss, this comparison is not surprising.
Aldi Vs. Lidl: Products
Let’s break down some of the differences in product between Lidl and Aldi. In a lot of these cases, Lidl simply carries items that Aldi does not!
- Fresh-baked bread – Lidl has its own bakery on-premise! So when we say “fresh-baked” that literally means baked in-store and put out for sale the same day.
Plus, I can’t find a sourdough loaf at Aldi that isn’t already pre-sliced – and sometimes you want to slice it yourself. Lidl makes that possible by selling fresh, unsliced loaves (with a commercial slicer at-hand if you do want those sandwich-perfect pieces.)
- Less plastic packaging on produce – One shopper noted that while there was bagged produce at Lidl, there appeared to be less of it, or the bags were less obtrusive in the bins. Another noticed that the produce section at Lidl is just larger in general, too.
- Bulk nuts – Lidl has a bulk nuts section! Bakers rejoice – at Lidl, you can buy exactly the amount of nuts you need, no more and no less. More serious snackers, on the other hand, can buy in bulk and be set for a while.
- International food – Lidl carries a surprising selection of Middle Eastern/Mediterranean food, like ready-made falafel patties (boxed, too) and bottled tahini, as well as Turkish-style pizza, stuffed cabbage, couscous, and a trio of gelato flavors.
- Sushi – While Aldi does carry frozen sushi occasionally as an Aldi Find, Lidl sells sushi regularly in their refrigerated section (although this appears to be only in non-US markets). And what a selection of sushi it is. The little containers often have a variety of pieces to try, with packages named “Sapporo” or “Osaka.”
- Frozen dinner meals – The one thing Aldi doesn’t carry in the US, that we could wish for above all else, is microwaveable meals (like Marie Calendar or Lean Cuisine). Lidl does carry these, making for a convenient and quick lunch or dinner.
- More brand names – While Lidl claims that about 80 percent of its stock comes from its private store label (compared to Aldi’s 90 percent) it looks like a lot less! Lidl really does sell plenty of those trusted, name-brand items, like King’s Hawaiian rolls, Daisy sour cream, Wholly Guacamole, and Green Giant frozen veggies.
- Gift cards – Unlike Aldi, which only sells gift cards during the holiday season, Lidl sells them year-round. Some stores include Gap, Home Depot, Ulta, and yes, Amazon.
Aldi Vs. Lidl: Store Experience
Aside from the different products Lidl and Aldi sell, the feel inside stores is a varied experience as well. Here are some of the major contrasts.
- No quarter needed – Nothing frustrates an Aldi shopper more than showing up for a big haul and not having a quarter on hand. At Lidl, this isn’t a problem, because they do not “rent” out carts. Even better, if you just need a few items, you’re not stuck pushing around one of those huge guys. Lidl has little half-size carts for easier maneuverability around the store.
- Larger stores – And Lidl stores themselves are bigger! Whereas Aldi stores average around 12,000 square feet, your typical Lidl clocks in around 20,000 square feet.
- Check-out – Aldi is well-known for its sitting cashiers who, they found, can scan faster while seated. At Lidl, though, cashiers are going to be standing.
Another difference at check-out is the double conveyor belt arrangement. Each register has two conveyor belts. The idea is that as the cashier is scanning items, the shopper can bag in their cart
If the shopper is slower than the cashier, the cashier can start scanning the next person’s items and not worry about the items going to the wrong place.
- Music playing – For as small as Aldi stores are, they can sometimes feel as though they are missing something – a little background noise? One of the ways Aldi keeps costs down is by not paying anyone anything for the rights to play music in the store.
Lidl, on the other hand, is willing to pay to play some tunes, so shoppers will likely hear a familiar song while perusing the aisles.
- Rewards program – Lidl runs myLidl, a shoppers’ club-like program with a corresponding app (available for both iOS and Android). Within the app, the company runs “games” that shoppers can win simply by buying their groceries at Lidl.
When a shopper wins a game (by spending a certain amount) they get a reward, like a coupon for a certain amount off their next visit.
The fact that the app comes with coupons, both in general and for winning monthly games, sets Lidl apart from Aldi, as Aldi very rarely releases coupons (maybe twice a year, if that).
Shoppers can also buy their groceries via the app, whereas Aldi offers mobile grocery shopping through their partnership with Instacart.
To learn more, you might also be interested in reading up on whether or not can you buy Lidl stock & will they go public, 23 Aldi statistics, facts & trends, if Aldi is cheaper than Walmart, and what are Aldi special buys.
The differences between Aldi and Lidl, who are more like German cousins than siblings, are many and varied, despite their seemingly similar end goal: to the corner the market on budget-friendly staples, while bringing in higher-end shoppers with weekly specialty finds.
Will Lidl ever overtake Aldi in the US? It’s too early to tell, but as the two international grocery giants battle it out, the customers will surely benefit.