Meet Lidl (pronounced “leedle“), a discount supermarket that’s extremely well-known in Europe. Lidl expanded its reach to the United States in 2017, bringing with it an entirely new shopping experience.
Never heard of Lidl? Don’t be surprised. Not many people in the U.S. have. Until recently, the chain operated only in Europe, where it has 10,500 stores. But in 2017 and 2018, Lidl opened roughly 61 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, making a bold move to the U.S.
Is Lidl worth trading in your trips to Trader Joe’s? Let’s find out.
1. It’s easier to find stuff at Lidl.
Grocery shopping in the United States is an experience unlike any other. A typical store offers dozens of aisles holding bountiful products, so if you’re just looking for a jar of peanut butter, you’ll be presented with 20 different brands, flavors, sizes and products. (If ever you need help narrowing that down, we have you covered.) With such an overload of choices, it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for, and that’s why Lidl thinks it should be successful in the U.S. Lidl prides itself in narrowing down your choices for each item so that you have only two peanut butters to choose from: the leading brand and an inexpensive private-label replacement.
With much less bulk, Lidl offers a different set-up than your typical American grocery store. In Europe, most people stop at the store almost every day to pick up ingredients for that night’s dinner, whereas there is a larger trend in the U.S. for customers to shop in bulk and buy the entire week’s groceries in one trip. (Hello, meal planning!) To account for these changes, the American versions of Lidl stores are going to be bigger than most of their largest stores overseas, but they’re still going to have only six aisles at the most. No more hours of waltzing up and down aisles searching for the ketchup! You can thank German innovation for that.
2. You’ll get some crazy discounts.
Like Aldi, Lidl has built their brand on offering products at the intersection of high-quality and low-cost. Business Insider has deemed Lidl’s brand as a cross between Trader Joe’s and Walmart. It’s basically the best of both worlds. Lidl offers an array of items without synthetic colors, trans fats or added MSG that won’t break the budget. Celebrity chefs stock the shelves with award-winning cheeses, certifiably sustained seafood and high-quality floral arrangements.
3. It’s not just food.
Fans of TJ Maxx will love this next feature. We already know that Lidl has six aisles to hold its packaged food products, but strangely enough, the store is popular in Europe for its non-grocery items as well. Exactly what is sold? It’s a little random. Company executives say you can find anything from electric drills to pants to lawn mowers at insane discounts, like a grab-bag clearance rack.
Lidl stores plan to cycle new items in and out of this section each week, leading to a treasure hunt where you never know if you’re going to find something worth buying.
4. There are free samples.
If you’re still not persuaded to check out Lidl, know that it’s the type of store to give out a taste of banana bread in its bakery section. Forget all the other perks about shopping at Lidl. We’re sold!
Looking for more thrifty shopping tips? Check out our 10 Secret Grocery Shopping Tips You Need to Know.