Friday, February 20, 2009

Interesting followup to Serene's Trader Joe's post

Just found this article on the Freakanomics blog about the owners of Trader Joe's:
So, let me ask those of you who fall into categories 2 and 3: Who owns Trader Joe’s?

1. Some great California family full of surfers and gardeners.

2. A small band of communal farmers in Oregon.

3. A huge German discount-grocery chain best known in the U.S. for no-glamor stores often located in marginal neighborhoods.

Yeah, it’s No. 3. The company is called Aldi and, though I’d seen one or two of its stores in the past, I didn’t even know it was a grocery store. Then I read this very interesting Wall Street Journal piece about the company’s ambitious new plan for the U.S., which calls for 75 new stores this year. The article claims that Aldi is so good at selling cheap goods that WalMart couldn’t compete with it in Germany.
I did a little more investigating about Aldi. Apparently, Aldi specializes in running low-cost, discount stores - mainly selling house brands - in marginal neighborhoods in the US. But in Germany, according to Aldi's wikipedia page, :
95% of blue-collar workers, 88% of white-collar workers, 84% of public servants and 80% of self-employed Germans shop at Aldi.
That's some market share!!!

Would it be safe to say that Trader Joe's has cornered 80% of the YUPPIE market? A lot of people we know shop at Trader Joe's. Do you? Let us know, it would be interesting to find out ...


Dooks said...

Yes, I am an Aldi shopper. I doubt, though, that Aldi would succeed in the USA.

jude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jude said...

Why do you think that Aldi won't succeed in the US? Could you describe Aldi for some of us that have not been in one? The Aldi corporation certainly has touched on a successful strategy with Trader Joe's - cheap, wide, changing variety of goods, primarily targetted at the young, urban professional set.

Liz said...

Jude, I don't think I've ever completely read one of your posts. Once I get three lines in, I look at the author... Oh, it's Jude. No wonder I can't comprehend :) However, I actually read this post..and I'd like to participate in your survey. Yes, I have shopped at Trader Joe's, but not always - primarily because of the weirdo diets we've had to follow we find ourselves going to specialty stores. Regarding Aldi, if I knew of an Aldi nearby, I'd definitely go there - if anything there chocolates are the best cheap chocolates I've tasted in America!! I'm having chocolate withdrawal because while we were in India I enjoyed their taste the cocoa and the cream... Aaah. OK, I'm not the one pregnant so I shouldn't have so many strong opinions about chocolate and such... Perhaps Serene should taste some Aldi chocolates .... Best!

jude said...

Hahaha - I will leave the 'comprehensible' postings to Serene :)

But some good news for you Liz - there are 5 Aldi's in the state of MI. The nearest one to us is in Adrian.

Check out this map:

Shib said...

I had an Aldi in the last town we lived in MD, which is now 30 minutes away so I don't do my regular shopping there anymore. I think Aldi would succeed immensely in the US. Their food and other items were much cheaper than regular grocery stores but not cheaper in quality.

I only shop at Trader Joe's when I have a craving for a specific type of food that I can't find anywhere else - mochi ice cream, some of their individually packed meat dinners etc.