Aldi, founded in 1946 by Karl and Theo Albrecht, derives its name from "Albrecht Diskont."
Aldi's roots extend to 1913, with the first corner store opened by Anna Albrecht, mother of Karl and Theo, although the company officially incorporated in 1946.
In 1960, the Albrecht brothers divided the Aldi brand into Aldi Sud (Aldi South) and Aldi Nord (Aldi North), with the latter known by a different name in the U.S.
The Albrecht brothers' disagreement over selling cigarettes in their 300 shops led to the formation of Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, as Karl believed it would attract shoplifters while Theo disagreed, resulting in their financial separation.
Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud, headquartered in Essen and Mulheim respectively, remain family-owned even after the passing of Karl and Theo Albrecht.
Aldi Nord is recognized as Trader Joe's in the U.S., reflecting the divergent approaches shaped by the Albrecht brothers' philosophies following the split, with Aldi prioritizing a traditional, no-frills shopping experience and Trader Joe's embracing a hipper and distinctive approach.
Aldi promotes eco-consciousness by implementing a long-standing policy of charging for shopping bags or encouraging customers to bring their own, a practice that has become increasingly adopted by various stores, particularly in California.
At Aldi, customers are responsible for bagging their own groceries, with designated areas provided after checkout to ensure ample space for completing the bagging process before leaving.
Aldi implements a deposit system where customers pay a quarter to unlock a cart, discouraging theft and promoting cart return by providing an incentive to retrieve their deposit.
Aldi predominantly offers its own branded products, accounting for approximately 90% of their inventory, which are produced on the same production lines as name-brand items and adhere to equivalent quality standards.