10 Things You May Not Know About Aldi

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  • Although it went by a different name, the first Aldi store opened in 1913.
  • All Aldi brands are free of MSG, artificial coloring, and hydrogenated oils.
  • Aldi not only accepts returns, but it will replace the unsatisfactory product and refund your money.

What's not to like about buying high-quality items at low prices?

Making a weekly trip to Aldi is practically a family tradition in many American households. For Aldi fans, the idea of shopping in a no-frills grocery store makes sense -- particularly if it saves them money. A dive into Aldi's history turns up some surprising facts, including the following.

1. Mom started it all

While brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht are credited with starting the Aldi grocery chain in 1946, it was actually their mother, Anna Albrecht, who opened the first shop in 1913 in the German city of Essen.

2. Two grocery chains, one name

The Albrecht brothers may have worked together to get the chain up and running in the 1940s, but by 1960 they decided they could no longer work together, and split off into two companies. Those chains were called Aldi Nord (Aldi North) and Aldi Sud (Aldi South). The companies offer many of the same products and look so much alike that it's difficult to distinguish one from the other.

3. Still family owned

Karl and Theo are both deceased, but both halves of the Aldi empire are still run by their family.

4. Aldi owns Trader Joe's

Aldi Nord owns Trader Joe's, having purchased the grocery chain in 1979. Though Trader Joe's may feel like the ultimate American shopping experience, its owners are still located in Germany.

5. Wednesday is "the day"

Wednesday may be the best day to shop at your local Aldi store. Employees say that Aldi restocks on that day and fills its shelves with limited-edition finds.

6. "D" stands for "discontinued"

If you find an Aldi product sign on which someone has written the letter "D," you know that the item in question is about to disappear from the shelves. If it's a product you especially enjoy, make it a point to stock up.

7. You can pay less for bread

Aldi marks its bread and other baked goods down a few days before their expiration dates. That's the time to take advantage of rock-bottom prices on the carbs you love.

8. Aldi offers one of the most generous refund policies around

With the exception of alcohol and a few other items, Aldi not only accepts returns, but they will replace the unsatisfactory product and refund your money. That's money in your bank account and a better version of the item you originally purchased.

9. The reason for "renting" a shopping cart is no mystery

If you've always believed that Aldi charges a quarter per shopping cart because they're afraid that people may steal them, you've been misled. Customers pay a quarter for a cart and then the quarter is returned when the cart goes back to the corral. Aldi does this to encourage shoppers to return carts to the proper spot. The policy saves Aldi money by reducing the need for employees to gather carts from the parking lot.

10. Aldi is all about offering healthier food options

The chain has mandated that all Aldi brands be free of MSG, artificial coloring, and hydrogenated oils. So you know that if you pick up a store brand, you're getting a healthier version. As a bonus, you're left with a little extra money each week that can be slipped into your savings account or used for another purpose.

If you've always thought of Aldi as a low-budget grocery chain, now may be the time to rethink that position. In reality, it may just be ahead of its time.

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