ALDI tops as low-price grocery leader, Walmart 11th in overall service

Discount grocer ALDI – a small box, no frills, private label grocery format – was recognized as the nation’s low-price grocery leader for the fourth year by consumer research firm Market Force.

The Market Force survey for 2014 asked shoppers to rank the top grocery offering low prices. The participants ranked ALDI ahead of Costco, Wal-Mart and Trader Joe’s. They also named ALDI one of the top three favored grocery store chains in America.

"It's no surprise that ALDI continues to be recognized as the low-price grocery leader," said Jason Hart, ALDI president. "However, these latest survey findings prove that a growing number of consumers are choosing to shop at ALDI for more than just low prices."

ALDI also maintained a top five ranking in the categories of good private label brands, accurate pricing and sustainable policies. ALDI also ranked in the top five for courteous staff, fast checkout. But the small box grocer didn’t make the top for five for the one-stop shopping category, which went to Wal-Mart, Costco, H-E-B, ShopRite and Meijer.

Hart said ALDI continues to increase its branded product also adding more better-for-you options like gluten-free and organic choices. ALDI announced in December plans to grow its U.S. footprint by 650 stores over the next five years.

While price matters, consumers also expect well-stocked stores that can anticipate their needs in an inviting atmosphere. Publix takes the top spot in this category, followed by Trader Joe’s. Wal-Mart and ALDI did not make the top five ranking in this survey. (See detailed ranking info at the end of this story.)

When it comes to product quality, Costco took the top spot in beef, trumping Publix and H-E-B. Publix took top grade in produce quality, with H-E-B coming in a close second. Wal-Mart nor ALDI ranked in the top five for the two quality categories, despite a major marketing push by Wal-Mart on beef and fresh produce.

“Competition is fierce and growing in the grocery sector with regional players going national and national players moving toward neighborhood market concepts. It’s only getting more difficult to attract and keep customers, and being adequate is no longer good enough,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “We’ve found that delighted customers are three times more likely to recommend a grocery store than those who had just an OK experience. This tells us that chains that truly wow their customers on their first visit can establish brand advocates who go on to recommend the grocer to friends and family.”

Wal-Mart’s sustainability score was not among the top five according to the survey. Trader Joe’s, Publix, ALDI, Costco and H-E-B were the top choices by the survey respondents.
When all the category scores were tallied by Market Force, Trader Joe’s took the No. 1 spot as the favorite grocery store chain with a score of 85%. Wal-Mart ranked No. 11 with a score 32%, despite being the most shopped grocer in the nation.

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