Discount grocery Aldi — with gluten-free bagels, kombucha drinks — opens another store in San Diego County


Aldi, a privately held discount grocer known for its large selection of private-label items opened its eighth San Diego County store in Encinitas.

The store, which opened last week at 333 N. El Camino Real, is the second store the chain opened in June. Last month, it opened a store in Mira Mesa. About three years ago, Aldi entered the San Diego County market with a store in Vista.

Aldi has made changes since its local debut. It rolled out a national partnership with Instacart, allowing shoppers to have their groceries delivered in as short as one hour and expanded its food offerings.

(Kelley Carlson)

Compared to 2017, more than 20 percent of its items are new. The expanded Aldi product offerings include a 40 percent increase in its fresh food selection. Its selection now includes ready-to-eat sliced fruits such as mango and watermelon, ready-to-cook meats such as marinated cilantro lime chicken breasts, Aldi-exclusive label Earth Grown kale and quinoa crunch burgers, gluten-free bagels, single-serve organic hummus, gourmet olives, kombucha drinks, meatless hot dogs and organic almond milk.

Last fall, Aldi rolled out its partnership with Instacart nationally after testing the program in a few markets including Los Angeles. Aldi declined to share specifics on how many local residents use Instacart to buy Aldi groceries.

The new Encinitas store is similar to a typical Aldi, which spans about 12,000 square feet and has five aisles meant to make it easier for shoppers to navigate compared to a big-box grocer.

Also Aldi says to remove the guesswork from shopping, it carries a streamlined selection of Aldi exclusive and national brands. For example, it doesn’t carry two dozen types of peanut butter, but just the best options at the best prices. Its exclusive brands make up more than 90 percent of its product selection.

The Aldi expansion in San Diego County is part of a $3.4 billion investment to expand to 2,500 stores nationwide by the end of 2022. The chain currently operates more than 1,900 U.S. stores in 35 states. Aldi first opened in Germany in 1961 and shares a familial connection to Trader Joe’s.