Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s: The Ultimate Comparison That You Need

Aldi and Trader Joe’s are famous grocery store chains and have coined their name for providing affordable products. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Trader Joe’s customers are their ultimate fans because of their unique product range. These include seasoning blends and the famous chocolate hummus, amongst others. Additionally, hundreds and thousands of products are made under its private label that many big brands secretly use.

Hence, due to affordable price tags and top-notch quality, Trader Joe’s has a viable contender in Aldi. Hence you want to know more regarding Aldi vs. Trader Joe’s and which one to opt for.

Are Aldi and Trader Joe’s the same company? For the longest time, it’s been believed that Aldi and Trader Joe’s are operating under the same parent company, usually because both these stores are affordable and have the best wine collections. However, there is no Aldi and Trader Joe’s connection because both of them are independently operated brands and have no joint ownership.

However, the Albrecht family owns both Aldi and Trader Joe’s, which was bought out by Theo Albrecht back in 1979. Since then, the two have been operated separately. The only connection between the two is the fact that they were bought out by the same family.

Trader Joe’s is actually owned by Aldi Nord, which was created when the brothers founded the Albrecht Discount chain. Aldi Sud, however, sees operations in Aldi US.

What Is Trader Joe’s?

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Trader Joe’s is an American grocery store chain headquartered in Monrovia, California. It has more than 530 stores operating across the U.S. The first store was opened in 1967 in Pasadena, California by the founder, Joe Coulombe. However, it was owned by Theo Albrecht from the year 1979 to 2010 when he passed away, and the ownership was given to his heirs.

The grocery store chain is named after the founder. He created the idea of the South Seas motif while enjoying his vacation in the Caribbean. Now the company has offices in Boston and Monrovia. Trader Joe’s was ranked as the second-best supermarket chain by Consumer Reports in May 2009.

Moreover, it has been ranked as the second-best customer service by MSN Money’s Customer Service Hall of Fame survey in 2009. They also earned the top spot in the same category in 2014.

Locations

Currently, 530 stores are operating in the U.S. In 2017, they opened 14 new stores. However, California has 183 Trader Joe’s, making it the city with the most stores. Each store is designed to represent the locality and includes artwork representing the surroundings.

In addition to artwork, Trader Joe’s selects the product range according to the location’s demand.

Products

These supermarkets/grocery stores have over four thousand items, and 80% belong to one of its brand names. It has always been defined as “your neighborhood grocery store.” The product range includes frozen, gourmet, vegetarian, and organic foods along with imported and domestic beer and wine.

The majority of their products are eco-friendly. They removed six unsustainable fish species from the stores to support the Bering Sea Canyons. Trader Joe’s has discontinued selling some products according to customers’ concerns.

On top of everything, Trader Joe’s sells a variety of items under the private label at highly affordable rates. They are skipping the middleman this way. They buy directly from international and small-scale vendors. Also, the company states that these products don’t have any artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors. There are no MSG, trans fats, or genetically modified ingredients either.

What Is Aldi?

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Aldi is the common brand name of two family-owned discount-based supermarket chains. The company owns over 10,000 stores in 20 different countries. Their annual turnover is around €50 billion. This supermarket chain was first launched by two brothers, Theo Albrecht and Karl Albrecht, in 1946. The store started when they took over their mother’s store in Essen.

Location

The business was divided into two groups in 1960, resulting in Aldi Süd and Aldi Nord. Both these companies have been legally and financially separate since 1966, and the name “Aldi” was introduced in 1962. So, the Germany-based operations include 35 regional companies with over 2500 stores in eastern, northern, and western Germany.

On the other hand, Aldi Süd has 32 regional companies and 1900 stores in southern and western Germany. As for the United States, Aldi Süd has 1600 stores, and both companies might merge their two branches by 2022 to improve efficiency and reduce redundancies.

Back in 2019, Aldi Süd launched Aldi Local, a small-format store in Balham, U.K. The format store has slightly fewer products as compared to other Aldi stores. Most products in these supermarkets tend to have lengthy expiry dates. Also, many people might be pleasantly surprised that they don’t play music in their stores. This might be another reason to shop from Aldi if you like the experience to be quiet and smooth.

Products

Aldi has no-frills stores and has various items available at discounted rates. However, they specialize in beverages, food, sanitary products, toilet papers, and other affordable household products. The majority of products are their own brands. In addition, they sell custom-branded and exclusive products with names such as Fit & Active, Happy Farms, Simply Nature, and Millville.

Aldi has weekly deals available on expensive items, such as computers, electronics, appliances, and tools, along with other discounted and affordable products. As for the discounted items, they include flowers, clothing, and toys. The special offers can be purchased in a limited quantity and are valid for a week.

In addition to this, Aldi remains the biggest wine retailer in Germany, while some Australian branches also have alcoholic beverages. Some stores in the U.S. also have wine and beer if permitted by the state and local laws.

Which of These Supermarkets Are Cheaper?

There is no quick answer because it depends on multiple factors. However, Aldi tends to have lower prices for grocery staples, including the dairy products, such as almond milk, cream cheese, non-fat Greek yogurt, and mozzarella balls. However, the chocolate hummus tends to be cheaper at Trader Joe’s than Aldi.

For instance, if we look at the prices of fresh fruits and vegetables, Aldi has them at a lower price. But they cannot match the standards of hygiene and quality of Trader Joe’s. Also, Aldi tends to have a limited range of products and the produce might not be fresh at all times either. Trader Joe’s wins by having 10% cheaper prices as far as organic produce is concerned.

Having said that, if you are someone who likes to shop spontaneously, you can try your luck at Aldi. They usually have many unexpected sales, which might be a pleasant surprise. However, if you like to plan and shop according to a list without compromising on freshness and quality, Trader Joe’s is the right choice.

If you are on the lookout for greeting cards, Trader Joe’s has a wider selection, but Aldi focuses on quality over quantity.

The Final Verdict

To summarize, there is no good or bad in both these supermarket chains because everything depends on your priorities, shopping habits, and what you want to purchase. However, the following guide might help:

  • For food for special diets, Aldi is affordable but Trader Joe’s has more variety
  • Everyday basics and grocery staples are cheaper at Aldi
  • For organic food, Trader Joe’s is reasonable and has a wide variety
  • For quick shopping and minimal decision fatigue, choose Aldi
  • For the shopping experience with more options, choose Trader Joe’s

So, weigh the options and choose accordingly!