I got my heart broken in July.
For years, my family shopped for groceries primarily at Costco, with regular small trips to a local Giant subsidiary and Aldi. When inflation and supply chain issues jumped chicken prices at Costco and the subsidiary, we made Aldi our primary home for this family staple.
But, just last month, inflation caught up to Aldi.
The family pack of chicken breasts at Aldi, which was $1.99 a few weeks ago, now is $2.89. It’s still cheaper than Costco’s $3.49…but, yes, even Aldi can’t beat inflation.
There are a lot of companies that aren’t beating inflation. This has led politicians, customers and community leaders to criticize industries and companies for increasing prices.
The PR lesson here is that in this difficult environment, Aldi probably will withstand such criticism. One reason for this is that the company has built a massive trust reservoir with customers. They believe that it always will make low prices a top priority.
That identity is clear in its operations, marketing and PR.
For example, as "Super Market News" reported, Aldi U.S. CEO Jason Hart issued low price promises in 2020 and 2022. A 2020 Aldi ad, with 6.7 million YouTube views, ends with “Friends don’t let friends pay too much for groceries.”
In addition, the company’s requirement that customers police their own carts is just one of many operating tactics that help Aldi keep costs low.
Moreover, third-party outlets help fill Aldi's trust bank. For instance, look at the pro-Aldi “Aisle of Shame” blog. And then there are the many websites that favorably compare Aldi’s prices to stores with well-earned reputations for low prices, like Costco and Walmart. They also help build consumer trust.
It works. Consumers like your writer, despite his chicken-breast-induced heartache, tend to believe Aldi’s messaging. Perhaps that's because it’s embedded in the company's prices, the always-bustling staff and its compact stores.
I’m not alone; Aldi's surround-sound marketing and branding strategy has earned the trust of millions of Americans, despite the German company being a relative newbie in the U.S. grocery market.
Just like Walmart and Target and other companies perceived as trustworthy, when the rubber hits the road, Aldi is where many price-conscious shoppers likely will go in good times and bad.
Dustin Siggins is founder of Proven Media Solutions