If three people from three different parts of the U.S. were pressed to quickly name three grocery store chains, their answers would probably be wildly different. A Californian might shout out "Ralph's, Vons, and Food 4 Less," a New Yorker might say "Stop&Shop, King Kullen, and Wegmans," while a Virginian might go with "Safeway, Giant, and Food Lion."
In the years to come, however, it's likely that there will be one supermarket that all three people have in common: Aldi. It's the fastest-growing grocery chain in the U.S. right now, according to Progressive Grocer, and it will be pressing into new locations throughout the country in the coming months.
Founded in Germany nearly 75 years ago, Aldi opened its first store in America in 1976, reports the Des Moines Register. Though the company seemed to remain a minor player in the American market, behind the scenes, it was already expanding in America through its 1979 acquisition of Trader Joe's. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.)
Anyone familiar with the Trader Joe's business model of primarily selling store-branded merchandise will quickly understand the Aldi store's model as well. It sells everything from Aldi-branded cheeses to Aldi-exclusive wines and beyond, with Progressive Grocer's Mike Troy reporting that roughly 90% of each store's approximately 1,400 different products are store-brand items.
At present, there are more than 2,050 Aldi locations in America--a goal the company had initially hoped to meet back in 2018, according to the grocery store's website. Looking ahead, Aldi plans to open hundreds of new store locations soon, with a stated goal of having 2,500 locations in the U.S. by the end of 2022.
There are currently about 11,230 Aldi stores worldwide, and in terms of sales, Aldi is the 6th largest grocery chain globally, reports Business Insider. Want to guess which chain is number one on that list? Well, it's Walmart, of course, followed by Costco.
To plan for your first or next visit to Aldi, here are 10 Secrets for Shopping at Aldi, Straight From Employees. And for more grocery store news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.