Aldi vs Lidl

Last updated: May 2017


Battle of the discounters - Why Aldi beats Lidl on ethics


Here we take a dive into some of the data behind our recent report on supermarkets and introduce our range of consumer tools.

Our main product guide (you can find that here) looks in depth at the policies of the UK’s leading supermarkets.

Here we’ll focus on the discounters, Aldi and Lidl. While they may be close on price, there is, it seems, no competition on ethics.



The basic scores



The whole sector scores badly - as a rule of thumb any score below 10 is poor.

It's no big surprise to see the three at the top, but one thing really stands out is that, when it comes to the discounters, Lidl scores significantly lower than Aldi.

In fact Aldi (the better of the two) scores just half a mark less than our online Best Buy, Waitrose and one of our overall Best Buys, Marks & Spencer.



A more detailed view of the supermarkets table




From the extended table view we can see that both companies score badly on a range of topics with negative marks more or less across the board.



So where are the points of difference?


Using the sliders


If we take a closer look using the 'Customise your scorecard ratings' sliders (found next to or below the score table) we find some interesting results.




With the sliders set to 'Most important' on Environment:

  • Aldi sits joint third in the table thanks to its best rated environmental report – this in the column [ER] on the table. You’ll also see that it is now also above Waitrose, a Best Buy company. 


  • Lidl moves up to fourth one point behind Aldi. It scores middle ratings for its palm oil policy [PO] and environmental report [ER].





With the sliders set to 'Most important' for Animals both companies score the same, so no differences here.

Interestingly, and disappointingly, none of the companies on the table score well in this section.

This is largely due to:

  • the sale of factory farmed meat being the norm
  • a general lack of high animal welfare standards
  • a lack of animal testing policies





When we set the People slider to 'Most important' we see that the two companies score the same again.

Lidl score better on human rights [HR] but Aldi scores better on supply chain management [SM] – both the same in irresponsible marketing [IM] and in workers rights [WR].





When we use the sliders to look at the Politics section we can see a real gap in the scoring open up between the companies.

Aldi now sit joint top of the table.

Lidl sit joint bottom on the same score as the likes of Asda, who are the worst scoring company overall.



A deeper look at the data


We can combine some of our tools and drill even further down into the data and find out more. By using the more detailed sliders and then clicking on the blobs on the table we can see more about each category.

Below we look at some of the stories where the companies diverge in terms of their ethical behaviour or stance.


Environmental reporting


In this category Aldi score Best Ethical Consumer rating and Lidl score a Middle Ethical Consumer rating.

Its worth pointing out here that Aldi is just one of three supermarkets to score a Best for this policy. The other two companies being the Co-op and Marks & Spencer who finish top and second in the overall table respectively.


Big differences in the Politics section


Boycotts [BC] - Lidl has had two boycotts called against it.



Anti-social finance [ASF] -Here Lidl has two stories about it. In one we see that it was fined $20,000 for irresponsible marketing. In the other we see it scores a middle Ethical Consumer rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies.




Not totally clear cut

Human rights - There is at least one area where Lidl scores better,  the Human Rights category.




Aldi the winner on ethics 

As you can see from the information above, overall the data shows that Aldi is clearly winning the battle of the discounters when it comes to ethics.

Product Guide

Which supermarket is the most ethical?

Our latest guide ranks the seven major supermarkets against the discounters Aldi, Lidl and Iceland. Plus, we reveal which supermarket comes top for online shopping. 

Read More



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