BATAVIA, Ill., May 21 /PRNewswire/ -- As food prices go up, up, up, ALDI prices remain less, less, less at the checkout. In fact, nationally ALDI's select brands average 16 percent to 24 percent less than discounters or big box stores and average 40 percent less than traditional supermarkets for their store brands. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080521/AQW048) "As consumers feel the pinch of soaring food prices, they have a choice. They can get great quality groceries for much less at ALDI every day," said Joan Kavanaugh, ALDI vice president of purchasing and marketing. "Unlike traditional supermarkets, you don't have to worry about cutting coupons or watching for sales to get our low prices." An ALDI competitive price study across all its U.S. divisions compared the costs of a basket of 184 items "very important to customers" ranging from apple juice to frozen chicken breasts. The ALDI basket averaged $286.37 vs. an average $401.47 for the combination of discounters, big box stores and traditional supermarkets. (According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average monthly grocery bill for families was $274.75 in 2005, the latest year for those statistics.) Food price inflation rose 5.3 percent in 2007 over 2006 - the largest increase since 1990, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts another 4 percent to 5 percent increase in food prices this year, nearly twice the rate of 2005. In contrast, and by way of example, ALDI customers in the Chicagoland area can get one pound of butter for $1.99 vs. $2.28 to $4.99 at competitors, as much as a 60 percent difference. ALDI's bananas come in at $.44 per pound compared to as much as $.69 elsewhere, a 36 percent savings. For a package of 80 percent lean ground beef, customers pay $1.99 per pound at ALDI vs. as much as $3.79, a 47 percent difference. ALDI has been increasing its U.S. presence since it began operations in 1976. The discount grocer has experienced consistent growth without acquisition in each of those years. While the traditional supermarket category faces trends and forecasts of declines in market share, ALDI is entering two new markets and opening 100 stores in 2008. "As much as we've grown over the years, there are many who have yet to try us," Kavanaugh said. "We invite grocery shoppers to discover the ALDI difference. We've found that once people try us, they keep coming back." About ALDI Inc. ALDI, a leader in the international grocery retailing industry, entered the U.S. market in 1976. Today more than 900 U.S. ALDI stores are located in 28 states from Kansas to the East Coast serving more than 15 million customers each month. A select assortment discount grocer featuring its own ALDI select brands, ALDI applies smart and efficient operational and business practices to save customers up to 50 percent on their grocery bill. ALDI sells more than 1,300 of the most frequently purchased grocery and household items in manageable, non-bulk packaging. For more information about ALDI, go to http://www.aldi.com.