Money or Morals? Rise of the Discount Supermarkets

Surely low prices come at another cost?

Aldi and Lidl now account for 1 in every £8 spent in UK supermarkets.

1The two German superstores hit the UK over two decades ago, but Aldi and Lidl have only really been considered as competitors in the market for the past 10 or so years.

Best known for the offering the same or similar products as the UK’s mainstream supermarkets for lower prices, the brands have glided onto screens and streets with a simple and compelling proposition; we’ll give you everything you usually buy, for less.

Whilst the concept of discount supermarkets certainly aren’t new, the growth of these two lends itself to more than low prices. Their vast product range bares so much similarity to those of our usual supermarkets that even luxury items such as Aldi’s £10 caviar have a place on shelves.

2

The prices and quality do make a convincing case for switching altogether, but the ethics behind such low prices make investing more than just money into the brands difficult.

It’s an old case of what you’re willing to pay for. If you consider price and product, Aldi and Lidl win. However, there’s a desire for more than just good prices in a loyal customer.

In terms of employee branding, their approach of maximising the labour on each employee so fewer are needed is questionable in terms of ethics, especially since they certainly have enough money to employ more workers.

3

The lack of big brand products saves them a lot of money on paying premiums and allows them to price lower for similar items. However, could this be undermining the loyalty that brands have built up over years in order to maintain customers? It acts as a path which disconnects brands who use supermarkets to get to their customers and replaces them with cheap alternatives. This in turn damages and blurs millions of campaigns and costs that companies invest in giving their products more meaning.

The concept used in the two stores is far from a usual supermarkets own brand products in that the similarities in name and packaging mimic the original brand values in a way which sneaks customers out of their own supposed loyalty.

Though Aldi and Lidl allow customers to spend less on their regular shop, such low costs come with the need for consideration on how much the items in your fridge are really worth.

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