Meet Lidl, the New German Grocer in Town That Could Save You More Than Aldi

Shoppers look over the bakery display during the grand opening of a Lidl grocery store on June 15, 2017, in Virginia Beach, Va. AP Photo/Steve Helber
Shoppers look over the bakery display during the grand opening of a Lidl grocery store on June 15, 2017, in Virginia Beach, Va. AP Photo/Steve Helber

After 40 years of serving customers throughout its home base of Germany and around Europe, grocer Lidl (pronounced “Leedel”) is coming to the United States.

The company opened more than 20 stores in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina in summer 2017 and plans to open 100 more stores within the next year. Ohio, Texas and Georgia are on the top of Lidl’s expansion list.

Lidl promises a blend of quality and efficiency to keep prices low. If you’ve ever shopped at Aldi, plucking produce from the boxes it arrived in or bagging your own groceries, you’ll probably feel comfortable at a Lidl store.

The savings alone may be worth checking out: One analysis of Lidl’s prices found that the store is about 14% cheaper than Kroger, 10% lower than Walmart Neighborhood Market; 5.7% lower than Walmart Supercenters; and about equal to Aldi on pricing. In another price check, Lidl was 3% cheaper than Aldi.

6 Ways to Save at Lidl

Here’s what you need to know before your first trip to Lidl.

Workers make finishing touches on a new Lidl grocery store that was opening in Virginia Beach, Va., on June 14, 2017. Lidl has 20 stores opening in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. AP Photo/Steve Helber

1. Every Store Has the Same Layout

Shoppers can do 80% of their typical weekly shopping in the first aisle of the store, according to Jessica Haggard, public relations specialist for Lidl. Beyond the bakery and produce sections at the front of the store, the first aisle contains coffee, tea, meat, cheese, eggs, milk and other dairy products. If you want to get in and out, you can probably stay within the first aisle. But you may want to stick around – more on that later.

Bonus: Lidl bread is baked throughout the day, and the location of the bakery makes it easy to pop in if you need a quick bite. Lidl’s French butter croissants cost 49 cents each and contain 24% butter. Butter!

2. Shop the Preferred Selection

Lidl is proud of its private-label products. “If you’re looking for ketchup, you won’t find 50 different brands. You’ll find two or three,” Haggard said.

Lidl tests its house brand to ensure consumers like it just as much as the national brand offered alongside it, she explained.

Eighty percent of what you find in Lidl U.S. stores is domestically supplied, although you will find some favorites from Europe, like specialty pastas, chocolates and cheeses.

Not sure where Lidl sourced a product from? Check for the flag icon on the package or in the weekly leaflet.

3. Skip Clipping Coupons

Lidl stores don’t accept manufacturer coupons, but there are a few ways to save beyond the store’s low prices.

Check the weekly leaflet, which is available in stores and online, for occasional coupons.

Download the Lidl app for iOS or Android, and join the store’s loyalty program for access to additional coupons.

Want even more? Sign up to receive coupons via email. Each week, you’ll receive one set of coupons that matches what you’ll find in the app. You’ll also get a second set of coupons exclusive to email subscribers.

4. Pay Attention to the Leaflet

Lidl rolls out deals twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays.

Some deals you’ll find in the weekly leaflet are only good for half the week, so you’ll have to bust a move to get to them in time. Check the top of each leaflet page to confirm the valid dates for each deal.

Haggard says that not every deal makes it into the leaflet, so keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the store.

5. Stop by the Surprises Section

European Lidl locations are known for their household goods, clothing and other nonfood goodies. That tradition is coming to the U.S., too.

The surprises section has a weekly set of themed items at promotional prices. These items are only in stores while supplies last, but you can get a sneak peak at the coming week’s surprises theme by checking the “Nonfood Weekly” leaflet online.

Popular surprise items during the U.S. grand opening have included a full-size kettle charcoal grill for $19.99 and a pressure washer for $99. You’ll also find kitchen gadgets, fitness clothing, power tools, diaper bags, fishing poles — you name it!

6. Don’t Love It? Take it Back!

Take advantage of Lidl’s “Love It Guarantee.” If you don’t like a private-label item you pick up at Lidl, bring it back for a refund and a replacement item.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.