Aldi plans to target health-conscious consumers by expanding their organic-food options

Industry observers say this could challenge other low-cost organic food retailers

For years, grocery store chain Aldi has been attracting cost-conscious shoppers. Now, it’s taking steps to attract another demographic: the health-conscious.

The chain plans to expand their organic options and add more gluten-free products. It has also removed some artificial ingredients  including certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and any added MSG  from its private-labeled products, which account for 90% of sales, according to Business Insider.

Aldi will also beef up its selection of fresh and organic meat, including its “Never Any!” brand of meats that contain no added antibiotics, hormones, animal by-products, or other additives.

In addition to expanding its organic food options, Aldi has added “fancier” foods. Products such as quinoa, smoked salmon, coconut oil, and artisanal cheese will now grace the store's shelves.

By appealing to shoppers who consider health and transparency in their purchasing decisions, experts say they’ll pose a bigger threat to chains such as Whole Foods’ lower-cost offshoot 365 by Whole Foods Market.

Part of a larger trend

While millennials may initially have fueled the growth of the organic-foods trend, it has now become a priority for many, regardless of demographic.

According to a study, half (51%) of Americans now consider health, wellness, safety, social impact, and transparency in their purchasing decisions. "Traditional drivers" of taste, price, and convenience are still in play, but for many consumers, health appears to have grabbed the steering wheel.

If the rise in low-cost organic food offerings is any indication, the food industry is finally reacting to this trend. Kroger has also been expanding its organic line, called Simple Truth, and Walmart, with its “Neighborhood Markets,” has also begun summoning the health-conscious.

“Food retailers are inherently ‘shopper advocates,’" said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Chief Collaboration Officer Mark Baum. “They respect that their customers want both genuine and transparent shopping experiences.”

Aldi, known for its motto, "Simply Smarter Shopping," plans to open roughly 500 more stores over the next two years as part of a $3 billion expansion.

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