In my region, we have basically three retailers selling on price: DENNER, ALDI and LIDL – yet, they are different and so are their customers. I think that the differences are the following:
ALDI: simplicity, no zig zag shopping and little choice, as they have their own brands.
LIDL: more colourful displays, but same simplicity. In my opinion, they seem to lose their great designs on shippers.
DENNER: close to me with 5 shops in my small town, wider choice, i.e. more branded products (local and international).
Needless to say that I prefer DENNER, but I am very impressed by LIDL’s in-store communication on packs, trays, shippers, etc.
I will give my comments on DENNER and LIDL later. Today, it’s ALDI, as I found quite a few interesting facts.
The creative use of barcodes
The barcode is often integrated as part of the design, as seen on the OMBIA pack or on Frischkäse-Fass.
Interesting own brands
Flying Power is no doubt a good way to copy Red Bull, Gusto Italiano says what it is, so does Happy Harvest. However, the best or rather the one I like most is “Just Veg!”
Appetite appeal/Food styling
Looking at the ALDI Gourmet journal “Simplement exquis” inspired me to go to the next ALDI shop. Yes, the Germans are still Europe’s masters in attractive food photography, mainly thanks to numerous journals such as Essen & Trinken, der Feinschmecker, as well as their packaging (Twisted Sticks, Edle Kirschen, bread basket).
I learned food styling during my Nestlé years by running a couple of Food Styling Seminars with German food stylists and photographers. Food styling is, of course, a matter of personal taste (de gustibus non est disputandum). France and the UK have also great photo teams, but I feel the German style (less fancy) is superior.
I found an excellent example of what I am preaching, i.e. “the icon is more powerful than a brand logotype”. OMBIA, an ALDI brand, uses it the way it has to be used… BIG!
I would say it’s a missed opportunity and it’s not taken as seriously as the LIDL next door. Kägi uses the tray the way it should be used, i.e. for a message. I only found one good example from ALDI: Le Petit Moulin.
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Learnings: It is a must for any pack designer to, periodically, visit not only the big chains such as Carrefour, Tesco, etc. but also the very efficient low cost retailers. You always learn something!