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Alright Aldi

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Like Trader Joe's, you never know what you're going to find at Aldi stores. The limited-assortment discount retailer has legions of fans who like the treasure-hunt environment, not to mention the prices.

That's because the selection is almost all private label. The Fit & Active line of 58 core items, for instance, ranges from granola to chicken broth to dried pineapple chunks. Average retails are $1.99 for any product. Normally silent Aldi officials boast that Fit & Active sales increased about 30% in 2007, compared to the year prior, and they expect sales to hit the 30% mark again in 2008.

icons.jpgThe wellness news here is that purchasers will soon see "guideline daily values" on each of the 121 varieties in the Fit & Active line, including the retailer's Millville line of cereals, by the start of next year. A "Fit Facts" section at the bottom right-hand corner of each qualifying product will alert consumers what percentage a serving of the product contributes to recommended daily maximums for four standard nutrition groups: calories, fat, sodium and sugar.

Supplemental information, such as: Good Source of vitamins and minerals; caffeine-free; and Good Source of fiber, will be noted in the upper right-hand corner of the package.

The developments are interesting because it demonstrates that no one channel "owns" wellness: Not Whole Foods, not drug stores, and not mainstream supermarkets. Health on a budget is a consumer priority right now, and Aldi's timing is perfect.

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