Last Updated on November 25, 2020
We get our share of emails, including more than a few thinking we’re Aldi. (We’re not.) More often than not, the senders are having issues with an Aldi product and they’re trying to do something about it. Maybe their bacon is too fatty, or they hate the milk container, or they’re having trouble with their teal accent cabinet or they need help finding new string for their weed trimmer.
Sometimes, the emails contain a line like this:
- “I need to get a replacement part from Gardenline.”
- “Can you tell me how to get a hold of SOHL Furniture?”
- “I’m looking for the email address for Friendly Farms.”
- “Thank you for all you do, Goldhen Eggs!”
In other words, some customers think that Friendly Farms is the name of a farm that Aldi sources from, or that Gardenline is a company that manufactures Aldi products. It’s an easy thing to assume, since Aldi doesn’t exactly go out of its way to tell customers otherwise.
To be fair, there are instances where Aldi does sell products made by other companies, such as when it sells name-brand Coca-Cola or an Aldi Find made by a name brand like Suncast. But most items on Aldi shelves are private label — in other words, they’re brands specific to Aldi.
But they’re not companies. Gardenline isn’t a separate company. Neither is Lily and Dan. Or Royal Class. Or Happy Farms. All of those are brands created and trademarked by Aldi to market its products.
Aldi has been doing this for a long time. The grocer has been using the Friendly Farms label since at least the 1980s, and Mama Cozzi at least since 1990. Others are more recent, such as FERREX (2018) and Bee Happy (2019). Gardenline appears to date back to around 2010, while Goldhen Eggs looks like it was trademarked by Aldi in 2000.
If that’s true, where do the products come from? We don’t often know: Aldi is secretive about its suppliers, although we sometimes can learn a little through clues like warranties or labels. Sometimes Aldi products are obviously rebranded name brand products, while other times it’s not clear who the supplier is.
Either way, when suppliers contract with Aldi, they agree to use the format Aldi wants. That translates into a common look, with Aldi logos, Aldi packaging, Aldi product codes, and even those familiar blue manuals Aldi customers have seen many times before.
It’s a win for both Aldi and those companies who agree to sell their products under Aldi brands. We’ve been told by someone connected to Aldi that suppliers compete hard to get their products on Aldi shelves, knowing they’ll sell well and make their companies money. Aldi, meanwhile, wins with a lineup of products–Regular Buys, Seasonal Favorites, and Aldi Finds–that have a common look and feel.
Behind the scenes, Aldi sometimes changes suppliers. When Aldi tweaks a product, for instance, sometimes it means Aldi has changed who sources that product. We’ve seen this with food, but we’ve also seen it with non-food items, like appliances. However, the packaging may not even change, so the only way customers might suspect anything is different is either because the product seems different in some way. It’s anyone’s guess why Aldi might change suppliers in any specific instance, but it happens.
So when you go into Aldi and see Friendly Farms or Gardenline, just know that those aren’t companies. They’re Aldi labels that other companies agree to use when they act as suppliers.