Are you a thrifty shopper? If so, you probably know all about Lidl and Aldi already. If not, you need to get on board.

I knew these were places you could get German products that were either unavailable or very expensive in other stores. From my years of work travel to Scandinavia I have become a major fan of gravadlax; I could live on the stuff. Aldi and Lidl have it at silly prices, though Aldi call it something else: marinated salmon or similar, which is what it is. That’s “a rose by any other name” and it tastes as good; there’s probably a law that says you have to charge a lot if you call it gravadlax, because that’s a luxury item, surely?

And they have loads of budget booze, including very drinkable wine at good prices, as I discovered at Christmas.

Anyway, enough of the plug, already, because they don’t need it, according to the latest retail data. The Daily Telegraph (14 Feb) says that in the four weeks to February 2, the four big supermarkets lost market share. Sainsbury’s sales grew by just 0.1% compared to last year, while Asda fell 0.7%, Tesco 0.8% and Morrisons by a staggering 4%. At the same time, Aldi grew sales by 37.9% and Lidl by 16.4%. In just four weeks.

OK, Aldi has not yet achieved the dominance it has in Germany, its home market. According to latest market data, it controls 3.7% of the UK grocery market, compared to 30.2% for Tesco. So these budget supermarkets are still much smaller … but that shouldn’t bother us, provided there’s a store near enough to make the journey worthwhile.

Those two stores have another distinguishing feature; you might go in for a bottle of cheap wine and come out with an angle-grinder too. That’s because, in addition to all the food and drink products, they also have a random selection, frequently changing, of other stuff. That’s the story as told by the Irish pub singer Mick MacConnell: Ballad of Lidl and Aldi


For the Daily Telegraph article, click HERE.