You might find yourself drawn to budget grocery store Aldi by the lure of its specialty products and weekly finds… but you’ll find yourself staying for the basics, mainly because their prices tend to undercut just about any other grocery chain. And one of those staples is milk.
Why is Aldi’s milk so inexpensive when compared to some of those other brands? It has partly to do with Aldi’s shoestring operating costs. Smaller stores, shorter opening hours, limited product selection and, of course, the rent-a-carts and bring your own bag policy both help keep Aldi’s prices way down.
There’s also the fact that over 90 percent of the items Aldi’s offers are store-branded, so they can cut out all of the middlemen f rom their supply chain. According to the website Taste of Home, the milk Aldi purchases comes in racks. All the workers need to do is transfer these milk racks directly into the cooling case — there’s no need for them to unload each individual container. Less labor equals lower labor costs, after all, which is basically the Aldi way. It’s t he same thinking behind Aldi’s cart policy, since employees don’t have to round carts up from the parking lot… or if they do, they at least get to keep your quarter.
A few years back, the website James’ Ordinary Guy Reviews undertook an investigation to see why Aldi’s milk is so cheap. He writes,
“I purchased a gallon of 2% Aldi milk (sold under their Friendly Farms label) for $2.49 and compared it to a gallon of 2% store branded milk from another local supermarket that cost $3.99.”
So why is Aldi’s milk cheaper? As it turns out, the milk isn’t a low-grade product. Although there is such a thing as B-grade milk, it’s only sold for use in cheese and other dairy products. Aldi’s milk also isn’t sold past its expiration date, and the product comes from cows that haven’t been treated with hormones. Friendly Farms milk has even been given the REAL Seal, meaning that the milk is produced on a U.S. dairy farm and it really is 100 percent cow’s milk.
Eventually, James found a website called Where Is My Milk From? After inputting the dairy code from his Aldi milk, he found that it came from the same plant that sourced milk bearing the Kemps label. So Aldi’s milk product is basically a generic-label version of the exact same stuff that’s sold at a higher price under a brand-name label. What a shock — brand names mean higher prices.
Sadly, there’s another reason why the milk at Aldi is cheap: The dairy industry is reportedly in a state of crisis. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in May 2019,
“Whipsawed by low and unstable milk prices, farmers have increasingly called it quits; nearly two farms a day closed in 2018 and more than 300 folded from Jan. 1 through May 1 of this year. Most were small operations unable to survive farm milk prices that, adjusted for inflation, were among the lowest in a half-century.”
In the UK, Aldi was one of the retailers linked to the “Farm Gate” price cuts forced on British dairy farmers, many of whom subsequently called for a boycott of Aldi and other grocers in 2012. It took another three years before Aldi responded by raising the prices they paid for UK milk, a move hailed as progress by the Farmers Guardian.
But Aldi’s cheap milk prices might reflect some questionable business ethics, at least in regards to paying dairy farmers. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, dairy industry profits worldwide are in a state of free-fall… and this appears to be a problem that’s too big to solve with protests, boycotts or even switching to a different retailer altogether. But if it makes you feel any better, you’re practically guaranteed to pay a whole lot more at Whole Foods for what’s basically the exact same milk.
If you want milk that’s entirely guilt-free, you’ll have to either move next door to a dairy farm or get your own cow and milk her yourself. You could also consider switching to non-dairy milk: The Living Well website suggests that Aldi’s prices on its milk alternatives compare quite favorably to almond and soy milks found at other grocery stores.
Sadly, we have absolutely no idea whether they pay their soybean and almond suppliers fairly or not… but when we do find out, we’ll let you know right away.
Read Full Article: https://www.mashed.com/181310/this-is-why-aldis-milk-is-so-cheap/