Dick Smith vs Aldi: The German supermarket fights back 307



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He’s known for his strong opinions about Australian-made and keeping Australia authentic, and his latest remarks are no exception. Dick Smith has been quoted in Malcolm Knox’s new book Supermarket Monsters, which explores the dominance of Australia’s two market leading supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths.

The entrepreneur has predicted Aldi will take over the grocery industry and that everything on their shelves will come from China.

In the chapter about the popular German no-frills retailer, Smith was quoted as saying, “If you think Coles and Woolies are ruthless, you wait. [Aldi] are the smartest retailers in the world.

“[Australia] will make Aldi boom because we’re just interested in the cheapest price, but there’s no doubt in my mind once they’ve got large market share, everything will come from China”.

Now, Aldi has bitten back at the claims, telling SmartCompany the vast majority of its private-label products are sourced from within Australia.

“Currently, 90% of Aldi’s core range is private label, with the majority of these products sourced from Australian manufacturers,” said a spokesperson for Aldi Australia.

“We only source from overseas when we can’t find the product, quality, efficiency or innovation we seek here in Australia”.

Interestingly, and perhaps something Dick Smith didn’t consider, is that Aldi is an official partner of the Australian Made Campaign and plenty of the products on shelves carry the Australian Made logo.

“Independent audits have confirmed 100% of Aldi’s eggs, bread, fresh meat and fresh poultry products are Australian made, 93% of Aldi’s fresh dairy products are Australian made, [and] 91% of Aldi’s fresh fruit and vegetables are Australian grown,” the spokesperson says.

Author of the Supermarket Monsters book, Malcolm Knox, said that Aldi has been so successful for “appealing to the same lowest-price, bargain hunting instinct that has served Coles and Woolworths so well; but Aldi has taken that appeal further”.

“In a sense, Aldi is a product and beneficiary of the ‘Down, Down’ culture”, he said.

The relationship Aldi has with local suppliers is well known, and was mentioned by the Aldi spokesperson in their defence.

“Over the course of the year, Aldi engages with more than 1000 suppliers, the majority of whom are Australian and have enjoyed growth and success as we have expanded,”

“As we have always been committed to sourcing and working with Australian partners, it is in our interest as a growing organisation to continue buying locally to maintain the sustainability of the industries that support our organisation,” the spokesperson says.


We want to know today: Do you buy from Aldi because of their Australian products? Do you think Dick Smith’s predictions are right?

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  1. Dick smith sold electronic co. To woolworths

    7 REPLY
  2. I am Australia’s side, many pensioners and young families are struggling now, just trying to get through each week, we need variety and choice and market competition. None of us can afford to pay top dollar for everything, so we bargain hunt

  3. Aldi have Australian meat their mince is the best ..not full of water…Woolworths buy fruit from America especially Oranges.

    4 REPLY
    • If we expect to sell our products overseas we have to expect products from other countries to be on sale here but I dont mean China. USA navels when Aussie navels are put of season

    • The navel oranges that come through from California , Coles have them are the best . They taste delicious . They’re the only ones I can eat without having a reaction. Australian ones have no flavour at all , just pure acid and make me sick ., they’re shocking , dry , yucky ..

  4. I think Dick Smith thinks we are all stupid. We have eyes and brains, we can read labels! If Aldi started bypassing Australian suppliers we would drop them in a flash.

    4 REPLY
    • They said their beef was grass fed / turns out it wasn’t what they advertised but they charged top dollar . We can only read the labels we are given! Doesn’t mean they are true!

    • I always read the labels but sometimes it is almost impossible to find where it is made as it hidden in amongst lots of other writing or tucked under flaps.

    • Is that Australian Made using imported ingredients from China???
      Aldi might like to use the Buy Australian Logo and show us just how Australian their products really are.
      When you see the level of Australian inputs for Content, Owned, Made and Packed you will see who is swimming naked.

  5. If all of ALDIs products come from china, then I will stop buying there. I’m a label checker and IGA is still number one with me.

    2 REPLY
  6. Did I hear correctly about Woolworths and that they sponsor gambling (poker machines) and give people free meals for their children?

    1 REPLY
    • That is correct Jan, both Woolies and Coles own hotels, liquor outlets (BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Liquorland etcetera) and substantial interests in Poker Machine venues. A lot of their home brand products are sourced from overseas, check the labels on the cans.

  7. ALDI must be doing something right, that Dick Smith goes after them, he is not in it for profit??????

  8. Dick Smith is a hypocrite. He made his fortune when he owned Dick Smith by importing all his electronic products from China. I guess it was ok for Dick to make his money this way now bleets we should be buying his Australian made grocery line.

    1 REPLY
    • It is a bit different Jeanette, most electrical products do not have a health risk, food imported does. A lot of the Asian countries do not have the health regulations and checks that we have here in Australia. I prefer to buy Australian grown and packaged products knowing the inspections that those products and the environment they are handled have to have the most stringent health regulations passed before they can sell anything.

      1 REPLY
      • I don’t think the health issue comes into this particular context at all! Dick Smith bought his electronics stuff overseas so as to make more profit, now he’s complaining about others doing the same. But his research is wrong anyway – Aldi obtain the great majority of their products in Australia, not overseas! I bet they’re more Australian than he ever was, when he was in business, but he conveniently forgets that!

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