Grocery chain Aldi plans to spend $1.6 billion to remodel and expand its stores, implementing green building features such as natural lighting, recycled materials, energy-saving refrigeration and LED lighting.
That company says it will also focus on adding more fresh items as well as removing added MSG, certified synthetic colors and partially hydrogenated oils to its products.
Aldi plans to upgrade more than 1,300 stores by 2020.
Aldi CEO Jason Hart says customer demand is driving both the remodel and the ingredient changes in its products. The decision appears to be paying dividends to the grocer: more than 40 million customers shop at Aldi each month, which is a nearly 60 percent increase since 2013.
The changes at Aldi also highlight two growing trends in the retail and food and beverage industry that are leading to increased sales and cost savings: healthier, “sustainable” products and facilities.
Customers want — and are willing to pay a premium for — more “sustainable” products. They also want to know what is in these products and are demanding increased transparency. Leading retailers Walmart and Target have committed to both.
A second trend is green building, in both new and remodeled facilities, which not only reduces a store’s environmental footprint, but also saves money on utility bills and operational expenses and improves staff productivity.