The Guardian

For years the German discounters Aldi and Lidl were dismissed as a quirky sideshow in the UK’s £170bn grocery market, but as legions of middle class families head there for their weekly shop they are giving the big four supermarkets a run for their money.

Ronny Gottschlich, Lidl’s UK boss, said the recession had helped it win the hearts of a group of middle class shoppers it calls the “Maidstone mums”, who would have considered shopping in Lidl social suicide during the years of plenty. “The recession shone a spotlight on us as a supermarket that offers high quality products at low prices,” he said. “This low-pricing strategy that continues to draw new middle class –the Maidstone mums – customers into our stores for the first time.”

The so-called “hard discounters” were recession darlings, but despite signs of a recovery, the discounters’ love affair with British shoppers shows no sign of ending. The pair now account for 75p out of every £10 spent on food and are bigger than the Co-op, the country’s fifth largest supermarket. With 70 more shops planned to open their doors this year their influence is likely to grow.

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