Two interesting initiatives caught my eye over the past few weeks. I’ll start with Aldi and come back to SuperValu in a few days.
You’ve probably seen the ads where Aldi asked eight people to switch from their main supermarket to Aldi for eight weeks. The participants were recruited through an independent consultancy.
The four participants recorded a weekly save of between €35 and €80 per week – that’s up to €3000 per year. It’s clear that the German discounters offer significant price savings. And yet, there’s a certain resistance to switching. I’m still slightly baffled by three things about Ireland: our voting habits, our utter refusal to stand to one side on escalators, and our massive support of Tesco. There are many great deals you can find outside the supermarkets, and their dominance of the market is sometimes a little depressing, but most people choose them for the convenience and the range of products.
Almost everybody knows that it’s cheaper in Lidl and Aldi. So I don’t know why so many supermarket shoppers haven’t migrated en masse to the discounters – notwithstanding some serious and deeply unpalatable questions about how Lidl treat their workers in Ireland and have tried to silence dissent in the media.
Most likely, it’s because Irish consumers are particularly brand loyal. But take a look at the graphic on the left: is brand loyalty really worth this much? Are other factors at work?
It seems that Irish consumers really like their Heinz ketchup and Chiver’s jam and Yoplait yoghurt and the discounters stock very few of these brands. Aldi in particular is low on own-brand, but it stocks cheaper and, it must be said, often nicer alternatives.
Their steak, cheese, and yoghurt are great, and their own-brand range of foods is probably the best on the Irish market. I’d have no hesitation in picking up a tin of tomatoes, chickpeas, or beans, packet of spaghetti, bar of chocolate, packet of crisps, jar of mustard, bottle of ketchup, or anything else from Aldi.
Have you avoided the discounters? Do you think that Lidl and Aldi are too cheap, or that their range is too small? Or are you just sticking with the brands you know and love?