UNLESS you have been living under a rock, you would be aware of the imminent WA arrival of German supermarket giant Aldi.
What most West Australians do not know though, is how this new shopping experience compares to competitors Coles and Woolworths.
Ahead of its launch next month, Aldi invited communitynews.com.au to Adelaide last week to tour its Modbury store.
Like Modbury, all WA stores will have Aldi’s sleek new-look design, which includes slate grey tiles, LED lighting, updated signage and wooden produce bays.
Upon entering the store, what is immediately striking is its modest size.
Roughly a third the size of a Coles, it stocks 1350 products in comparison to its competitors’ 20,000-plus products.
Some may find the smaller range does not meet all their shopping needs but on the other hand, those wanting to avoid congested supermarkets and rows upon rows of products will find this streamlined approach timesaving.
In an effort to give customers more bang for their buck, 90 per cent of what Aldi stocks is their own exclusive brands.
Products are clearly displayed and remain in original boxes to save costs on unpacking and while most of the brands may look familiar, on second glance you will realise they are not exactly what you thought.
Aldi’s Blackstone potato chips bear a striking resemblance to Red Rock Deli chips, but are about two thirds of the cost ($2.69 as opposed to $4.30).
All products are trialled and tested against market leaders to achieve a product of similar quality at a discounted price.
During a sampling session, I found some Aldi products to be on par with the market leader for overall quality and taste, while others in my opinion failed to measure up.
Aldi’s Westcliff Cranberry Fruit Drink (1.5L for $2.69) for instance lacked intensity and richness, and did not live up to the high quality and bold flavour of Oceanspray Cranberry Juice which is on special at Coles this week for $3 (original retail price is $6.26).
In comparison, Aldi’s Deli Originals Chunky Basil Dip with Cashew Nuts and Parmesan (150g for $2.69) was appealing in appearance and flavour and actually superior to the market leader equivalent.
While the majority of its products are versions of what consumers have grown accustomed to purchasing, even Aldi admit there are certain brands customers will not compromise on and that is why they also stock popular brands like Vegemite, Milo and Coca-Cola – sometimes you have to have the real thing.
The streamlined store has a functional floor plan, which comprises meat, dairy, fresh produce and frozen foods sections.
However, it is what lies down the centre of the store that really sparks conversation.
The much talked about ‘special buys’ is a real crowd pleaser with some shoppers making the trip in store every Wednesday and Saturday to see the latest display.
The ever changing range offers Aldi shoppers an intriguing array of products to stuff into their trolleys, and over the years has seen such things as televisions, home security systems, trumpets, ski gear, beds, sewing machines and motorcycle jackets.
Last year, shoppers went bananas when Aldi released a range of girls’ clothing by fashion icon Collette Dinnigan.
While an interesting port of call when visiting an Aldi store, some shoppers could find these novelty bins create unwanted temptation.
If you enjoy your shopping experience at Aldi you can take home a memento in the form of an Aldi trolley token key-ring for 99 cents.
The coin can be used in place of a $1 coin to unlock an Aldi trolley; ensuring no eager shoppers leave the store with more than their weekly groceries.
Aldi also charge 0.5% for credit card payments and they have a no plastic bag policy; be sure to bring your reusable bags from home.
Forgot your bags? No need to stress, you can buy one for 15 cents at the checkout or if you can find an empty box on the shelves you are free to use that.
Overall, Aldi offers a unique shopping experience for eager bargain hunters.
While its selection is not as wide or varied as that you would find in the likes of Coles for instance, it does have the essentials and if you shop here regularly, I am told you are likely to save around $25 per shop.
The question remains though, will the shopping giant live up to the expectations of WA shoppers and once the craze wears off how will the juggernaut survive in the West?
Well, if it is anything like the other 18 countries Aldi can be found, it is safe to say Aldi will be just fine, thank you.
The writer travelled to Adelaide as a guest of Aldi.