Aldi is stepping up its game in the organic-food space.
The grocery chain is expanding organic-food brands, removing some artificial ingredients from its products, and adding more gluten-free items in hopes of attracting more health-conscious shoppers.
Aldi became one of the world's biggest food retailers by offering comparatively very low prices. Its prices for fresh produce and packaged goods are roughly 30% lower than Walmart's, according to a recent price check.
The company's foray into organic and gluten-free foods signals a new direction for Aldi, and an emerging threat to Whole Foods' lower-cost chain, 365 By Whole Foods Market, which is launching this year.
Whole Foods is opening the chain to better compete with the increasingly crowded market for low-cost organic goods.
Aldi has removed certified synthetic colors, partially hydrogenated oils, and added MSG from all its private-label products, which make up 90% of what Aldi sells, the company told Business Insider.
Aldi is also expanding its selection of fresh and organic meat and produce, including its "Never Any!" brand of meats that contain no added antibiotics, hormones, animal by-products or other additives.
The chain is also expanding its SimplyNature line, which is free from 125 artificial ingredients, and its gluten-free liveGfree brand.
Aldi's milk is already free from artificial growth hormones, but it's now stripping yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, and other dairy products of growth hormones as well.
In addition to broadening its organic offerings, Aldi has started to offer "fancier" foods, like artisanal cheeses, smoked salmon, quinoa, and coconut oil.
The steps will enable Aldi to better compete with not only Whole Foods, but also Kroger, which has been rapidly expanding its organic line, called Simple Truth, and Walmart's Neighborhood Markets.