Aldi has a huge following & is one of the most valuable grocery stores thanks to its low-priced items and narrow selection of items. And did you know the story behind who owns Aldi is even more interesting than its business model?
Founded on humble beginnings, Aldi is today a multi-billion dollar business with roots that trace back to over 100 years.
In this guide, explore how it all started, what led to the split of Aldi, and who owns Aldi today.
The History of Aldi
More than 100 years ago, in 1913, Theo & Karl’s Albrecht’s mother, Anna, opened a small store in Essen, Germany, and this trace back to the earliest years of the billion-dollar company known as Aldi today, short for Albrecht Discount.
In the 1930’s Anna’s husband, Karl Albrecht Sr., got sick, due to which Anna had to run the store herself to support her family.
Consequently, in 1946, Anna’s sons Karl & Theo took over the business after returning from World War II.
During that time, Aldi owners only sold non-perishable goods in the wake of the war.
And because of their low-price model, over the years, their business started expanding and got a stronghold in the German market.
Why Did Aldi Split?
In 1960, Karl & Theo decided to split their business over a dispute regarding selling cigarettes.
One brother thought selling cigarettes would increase the chances of shoplifting, while the other didn’t agree with the same.
This difference in opinion led to the split of the company into two parts, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd, in 1966.
Today, Aldi Süd operates in the U.S. under the name “Aldi brand of grocery stores,” and Alid Nord operates under the name of “TraderIs Joe” in the U.S.
Currently, there are over 2,000 Aldi stores and more than 600 Trader Joe’s locations in the United States.
Who Owns Aldi?
Aldi is a renowned global supermarket chain that originated in Germany. It is divided into two main groups: Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd. The ownership of these two divisions is associated with the Albrecht family, and they operate as separate entities.
Aldi Nord Ownership
Aldi Nord is owned and maintained by Theodore “Theo” Albrecht Jr., the son of Aldi’s co-founder Theo Albrecht Sr. The Albrecht family, through its foundations, also controls Aldi Nord. Additionally, Aldi Nord owns the Trader Joe’s chain.
Aldi Süd Ownership
Aldi Süd is formally owned by ALDI SÜD GmbH & Co. oHG. After Karl Albrecht‘s death in 2014, the ownership was passed down to his children, Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr.
Ownership Structure of Aldi Grocery Stores
Aldi Grocery Stores is divided into two main divisions: Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd. Aldi Nord is owned by Theodore “Theo” Albrecht Jr., while Aldi Süd is formally owned by ALDI SÜD GmbH & Co. oHG, with ownership passed to Karl Albrecht’s children after his death. These two divisions operate as separate entities, each responsible for different regions and countries, and they reflect the legacy of the Albrecht family, who founded and expanded the chain.
|Aldi Nord||Theodore “Theo” Albrecht Jr.||Includes ownership of Trader Joe’s|
|Aldi Süd||ALDI SÜD GmbH & Co. oHG||Ownership passed to Karl Albrecht’s children Beate Heister and Karl Albrecht Jr after his death|
Aldi Owner’s Net Worth
|Division||Owner||Net Worth (as of 2023)||Brands Owned|
|Aldi Nord||Theodore “Theo” Albrecht Jr.||US$20.6 billion||Operates in parts of Europe, owns Trader Joe’s in the U.S.|
|Aldi Süd||ALDI SÜD GmbH & Co. oHG, Karl Albrecht Jr.||US$17.1 billion||Operates in parts of Europe, the U.S., the U.K., and Australia|
Does Aldi Own Trader Joe’s?
In 1979, the founder of Trader Joe’s, Joe Coulombe, sold his business to Theo Albrecht, making it a part of the Aldi family.
So ever since Aldi’s split, Trader Joe’s was bought by the Aldi Nord branch, and that is how Trader Joe’s name is associated with Aldi.
As per Fortune Magazine, the family was drawn to Trader Joe’s since it seemed like a good investment opportunity because of its increasing popularity at that time.
So now the main question is, does Aldi own Trader Joe’s? No, Aldi does not own Trader Joe’s. In fact, both Aldi & Trader Joe’s are independently owned and operated.
This makes sense as the atmosphere and pricing of both stores are completely different from each other. They advertise differently and have different products too.
Is Aldi Privately Owned?
Yes, Aldi is privately owned and does not franchise. The ownership of Aldi is divided between the two main divisions, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd. Both are controlled by private family foundations and heirs of the Albrecht family.
What is the Status of Aldi Today?
The growth of Aldi has exploded in the United States with an ever-increasing number.
Much of the company’s growth is credited back to when the company saw an opportunity during the 2008 financial crisis.
During that time, the economic recession forced Americans to look for better value and cheaper rate products, opening a new channel for Aldi.
Today, Aldi sells fresh meat and produce at a much lower price compared to the price at Walmart and other competitors.
The Aldi global market is estimated at $80 billion in annual revenue today. Aldi aims to be the largest grocery chain, and its competitive prices have forced its fellow competitors to reduce their prices as well.
Can You Own Aldi? Is ALDI A Franchise?
Trader Joe’s & Aldi are not publicly traded companies, so they do not offer franchising, making it impossible to own Aldi.
And not only this, it is not even possible to invest in items that Aldi sells since they are privately labeled, which is also the secret of why Aldi products are so cheap.
Although it is challenging at the moment to invest in or franchise Aldi, you can, nonetheless, check out some other alternatives to Aldi, such as Kroeger, Walmart, Costco, etc.
In this guide on who owns Aldi, we took you through the inspiring history of the company and saw the interesting turn of events that led to the split of the company.
Why did Aldi split?
Both the owners of Aldi, brothers Theo & Karl, got into a business disagreement regarding selling cigarettes and how it will lead to shop lifting. This led to the spilt of Aldi in to Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd.
Which one is better Aldi or Trader Joe's?
If you are looking for fresh produce of vegetables, fruits, and meat, then you should go to Aldi stores, and if you are looking for affordable frozen goods and unique snacks, then Trader Joe’s is your destination.
Amit Gupta is an experienced expert in digital marketing and co-founder of DrFranchises. With more than 11 years of knowledge in franchise digital marketing, SEO, email marketing, and social media marketing, Amit has helped many brands achieve incredible success online. As a passionate entrepreneur and owner of 7 franchises, he continues to study franchise models, looking at costs, revenue, and profitability to guide brands toward profitable growth. When he’s not working on digital marketing, Amit enjoys spending time playing with his beloved dog.