Discount supermarket Aldi will open its first locations in northern Italy next month, the company announced this week – and to celebrate, the German Aldi is looking for its Italian namesakes.
More than 100 Italian families share the supermarket's name – a pure coincidence, since the brand was coined from "Diskont" and "Albrecht" after the west German brothers who founded it.
To promote its arrival in Italy next month, the group sought out Italian Aldis to become "ambassadors" for the budget chain.
Five of them were invited to star in promotional videos that show them cooking traditional Italian dishes with Aldi's new, Italy-specific range – including Lino and Giulia Aldi, an entertaining retired couple from Settimo Milanese, who whip up a rather nice stew.
Despite having found success elsewhere in Europe as a no-frills shopping option, for its Italian launch Aldi is putting in the effort to dispel associations with sorry-looking sausages and bastardized frozen pizzas. The company assures that 75 percent of products on sale in its Italian supermarkets will be locally sourced, including regional specialities and an all-Italian wine cellar in every store.
"We're extremely proud to enter the Italian market, renowned throughout the world for its unmatched gastronomic culture," said Aldi's group managing director, Michael Veiser, adding that meeting Italian shoppers' expectations was the supermarket's "greatest challenge".
The group has been preparing its Italian debut for two years. The first ten stores are due to open on March 1st, in Castellanza, Piacenza, Trento and other locations across northern Italy. The company plans to follow them with at least 35 in 2018.
It says it has hired 880 people in Italy so far and expects to have a workforce of more than 1,500 by the end of the year.
Aldi's rival German discount chain, Lidl, is already present in Italy with more than 500 stores nationwide.