Last Updated on July 3, 2020
In 2017, a little store named Lidl opened its doors in the United States for the first time. (In case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced LEE-duhl, as you can see in this Lidl-produced video.) Lidl has been around in different parts of Europe for a long time, but the planting of stores along the East Coast was its first venture across the Atlantic Ocean. The grocer has plans to expand westward into the United States.
Lidl is a German-owned small-inventory grocery store, which naturally draws comparisons to Aldi, another German-owned small-inventory grocery store. So are the stores related, and, if so, how?
First off, we should make one thing clear: Lidl and Aldi are not related, at least not in any corporate sense. Their ownership groups are completely separate and, while they do have some techniques in common, they are competitors. To use an American analogy, they are like Sam’s Club and Costco: two companies that use a similar method to doing business but are out to outsell one another. The families that own Lidl and Aldi (keep in mind that Aldi is technically two companies) are completely separate from one another.
A Brief History of Lidl
Lidl’s orgins trace to a German named Josef Schwarz, who got into the grocery business back in the 1930s. Unlike Aldi’s Albrecht brothers, who were retail grocers almost from the beginning, Schwarz was involved in a number of businesses related to the larger food industry, including wholesale fruit.
In 1973, Josef opened the first Lidl store. For linguistic reasons, he did not want to name the store after himself (Schwarz means “black” and possible names would sound too much like “black market”) so he settled on the name Lidl, inspired by the name of a business partner. It borrowed the small-inventory concept that Aldi and some other German grocers were using, including the use of both permanent and rotating inventory items.
After Josef died in 1977, his son, Dieter, took over, expanding the company outside of Germany and into Western and Eastern Europe. In large part because of Lidl, Dieter is currently worth over $20 billion.
Lidl vs. Aldi
If you look closely at Lidl, you’ll see some similarities to Aldi. Both are small-inventory stores with rotating products, including non-food items, and both require you to bring your own bags (unless you buy some in store) and bag your own groceries. Both also back up their private label food products with a refund-and-replace guarantee. (Lidl’s is called the Lidl Love It! Guarantee.)
But there are also some significant differences. Lidl doesn’t use quarters for grocery carts, for example. Lidl also has free samples, a color-coded wine rating system, and some other bells and whistles that will look different to long-time Aldi shoppers. Lidl also takes coupons; Aldi does not. And Lidl seems to find itself in a lot more controversy than Aldi has been, from Lidl’s business practices to the way it treats employees.
It remains to be seen if Lidl can be a real competitor to Aldi in the United States. Time will tell. One thing, though, is certain: while the two companies do some things similarly, there is no love between the two, and we fully expect that competition to be fierce in the U.S. just as much as it has been in Europe.
I notice that lidl uses a lot more brand names than aldi I think that both stores are good in there own way. I notice aldi has more choice when it comes to alcohol than lidl
Wine? I have never saw any wine in the Maryland stores
That’s because Maryland does not allow chaIns to sell any alcohol. Same with Trader Joe’s or Costco — most other places they have large alcohol selections, but not in Maryland.
Here in Baltimore we have a Rite Aid located in East Baltimore that stocks liquor. No sales on Sunday.
Maryland and DC are allowed to have only one license to sell alcohol. Only one location per chain.
SAME! I’ve never seen Alcohol here in the Maryland Store’s.
Went to lidl for the first time today (Georgia). I liked it but wish prices were lower. Believe Aldii’s is cheaper. Will go back though.
Aldi is definitely less expensive. I like shopping at Aldi more, however, there are some items I prefer to get from Lidl such as sliced and shredded cheese. I think Lidl’s cheese is a better quality than Aldi. Oh, and the dark roast coffee is better at Lidl. Other than that, it’s Aldi all the way.
It is pronounced LEE-duhl in Germany, but not in Great Britain. In England it is pronounced LIE-duhl.
I’m from England, it’s pronounced Lid duhl over here. There tv adverts use the slogan big on value Lid duhl on price. Quite a clever play on words. From my experience Aldi is slightly cheaper but there really isn’t much in it Lidl does have the advantage of having in house bakery’s in the uk while Aldi does not.
I’m in England I call it lie full
I meant lie dull lol
even the UK adverts pronounce it LiD Dul
Never heard that here in Sussex! We all say Lid Dublin. As does my sister in London!
Aldi has his own house bakery in Budapest, Hungary. Their bread was good. . I lived in Budapest, Hungary for some time in 2017 and in 2018, and I went shopping to Aldi three times a week. Almost all their products were in German or Hungarian, but in less than a week I learned how to deal with it by asking the customers or employees about certain ingredients I needed to avoid in the food I was buying.? I really liked Aldi when I was leaving in Hungary. Their products were good and I did not missed anything from the States. Now, back in the US, I hardly go to Aldis because there isn’t any near were I live. But when I do go, I love the experience, as I like their products and also because reminds me the beautiful days time I had leaving in the beautiful city of Budapest, Hungary.
I’m from the UK. It’s not pronounced Lieduhl in the UK, but liddle to rhyme with little.
In England it’s pronounced Liddle as little. “Liddle in price”
Mostly in UK it’s pronounced LID’LL
In England we say ‘Lid’ followed by the phoneme /l/.
Its “Liddle” in uk
Where I live in England it’s pronounced LID-dul. We have two stores in my town, the little one we call Liddle, and the big one we call Biggle.
I lived in Germany for 28 years and love both stores. The issue with Aldi’s in the US is when they get you get hooked on a product then you discover it is seasonal only for that product and you can’t purchase it until the next year, bummer. Or a product like their Deutsch Kuche wurst which use to be in three different types of packages, (only two now) one package is brown and one is blue and the previous red package was a very spicy wurst which does not exist anymore and corporate Hq will not explain to me why it is not sold anymore because it did sold out very quickly so it can’t be discontinued due to lack of sales!
Gary, those were their Nuernberger Brats, which are absolutely the best. I too was disappointed that they were not sold last year. I believe in Germany they are sold as the Uli Hoeness Bratwuerste. I like both stores, but to me, the Lidl bakery gives it a substantial advantage.
Here in Eire I really likeLidl. In particular their different country product promotions…..offering interesting new & sometimes unusual products for a limited period. I wish they sold pork pies ( Melton Mowbray ‘s are the best) & Scotch Eggs. Their fruit/ veg pedestals are ideal for the elderly/ frail or disabled to rest on by just moving a case of fruit or veg. Aldi seems fairly similar but fruit/ veg is sold from shelves.
In Ireland LIDL and ALDI are equally popular and between them have captured a significant amount of the grocery market…They are pronounced both Lee Duhl and LID Duhl here..
I always find my basket of groceries is way cheaper in Lidl , than Tesco orSupervalu ..(don’t use Aldi). Plenty of selection, good stocks ,interesting new variations etc…theone drawback there are rarely any staff on the shop floor ( other than at the cash register)to deal with queries etc. A very well run operation.
I live in the US and I like both of them. Aldi is a little cheaper, but we trade at both places.
What state do you live in? I am in Oklahoma but we only have Aldi’s 🙁
Just eating some “Belmont Biscuits – Caramelised Biscuits” which I got from Lidl last weekend, and just noticed a “ALDI” logo on the packet, with the wording “Specially produced for: Aldi stores ltd”.
If they are rivals, why is Lidl selling Aldi products ?
Aldi doesn’t manufacture any of the products it sells. Every single thing on its shelf is contracted out from suppliers. One possible explanation in your case is that a supplier who supplies both Aldi and Lidl with that same product delivered the ones with Aldi labels to Lidl by accident. If the supplier uses a universal bar code, which is possible, it would simply scan at Lidl prices at checkout. You might look at the receipt to see what it lists — my guess is that it doesn’t say Belmont.
We visit both stores in the UK and France. Many Lidl stores have a fresh bakery near the entrance that can increase the desire to buy everything in sight. Their non-food selections seem to be more expansive than Aldi.
We’re in Ohio and await the entry of Lidl in a few years as they move west. Now loyal Aldi shoppers.
We have both in Pennsylvania, but I prefer Lidl because they have a wider assortment of groceries. Both seem to be equally affordable on most items.
The main draw for me in the US Lidl stores is the Bavarian Sauerdough which I liked so much while growing up in Germany. It is almost impossible to get the “real” thing here because it is not popular enough, maybe because the American palate loves soft bread. I’ve seen it discontinued in various cities after there is an attempt by local bakeries to introduce it. Now I just hope the same thing doesn’t happen to Lidl – theirs is very close to the “real” kind that has been forever popular in Germany.
Shopped at Lidle quite a bit as there is one local. Went to an Aldi a little distance away and they are like chalk and cheese. Aldi is crammed with much much more items than Lidle. Far better than Lidle. Lidle is more spaced out with much more room and makes it look tidier.
Live in the UK and quite surprised to hear the variation in how Lidl is pronounced (I’ve only known it as “Lee-duhl/Liddle”).
I’m quite fascinated at how these chains have come to stay – my opinion. @Anita mentioned enjoying her “experience” at Aldi, and I’m curious to hear what other’s experiences might be at these stores?