Friday, December 14, 2018

How a German Grocer Stirs Up the US Market



Being half of the year in the US and traveling a lot there, my first stop is always at an ALDI or a Trader Joe's store.  And yes there is an ALDI, right behind the border when you cross over from Canada.  In both chains, I will always find some fine specialties from Europe, such as Marzipan Christstollen, Lebkuchen, Chocolates, Spekulatius, and Wine.


In 2017, ALDI announced they were planning on becoming a major competitor in the US grocery store market.  At the time the announcement came, they had around 1,600 stores across the country, and their game plan included raising that to 2,500 and investing a mind-blowing $3.4 billion into current and future American endeavors.  The push into the American market certainly isn't anything new.  The German company had first gained a foothold in their home country before spreading across Europe, and there's a fascinating history behind this up-and-coming US chain.
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What Do ALDI and Kohl's Have in Common?
Absolutely nothing, at first glance, but in 2018 it was announced Kohl's was going to start subletting space in their stores to ALDI.  It started when around 300 Kohl's stores were remodeled to free up space that would be sublet to partners in an attempt to boost traffic and profits, and ALDI was a logical choice. On one hand, it's turning unprofitable space in Kohl's into profits, and it's allowing them both to take shots at the competition — particularly Target. 
As for ALDI, they're focusing on expanding the same kind of product lines Kohl's customers are looking for — fresh options and fine European foods.  Forbes says the partnership is a relatively small part of ALDI 's US expansion plans, but it could give them a serious boost in terms of building credibility as a respectable grocery store.  The program will start in only 10 stores, and CNBC says it has the potential to be a win-win for both sides.
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Highest Quality
Since ALDI built their reputation on affordability, it's easy to associate that with a cheap product.  But they take the idea of quality very seriously, and in 2013 they invited 'The Telegraph" into their headquarters.  It was the first time an "outsider" was allowed through those doors.

ALDI has an entire team that works in their test kitchens, and they adhere to strict policies.  Product purchasers join the test kitchen twice a day, sample about 180 meals every week, and try each product 30 times before it makes it to Aldi's shelves.  They're not done yet — they re-test every product at least once a year, and every time one of their competitors launches a similar product, theirs goes back to the test kitchen.
In the test kitchen, the cost isn't taken into consideration at all — something might be cheap, but they insist that it be good.  Once a product meets the approval of the test kitchen, it then has to measure up to the standards of ALDI's managing directors… and then, it's finally offered to customers.
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Save Money on High-Quality Products
Picking up ALDI 's brands will save you money, but it turns out you're not even compromising on the quality — and they have the awards to prove it.

For example, in 2017, ALDI 's Cotes de Provence Rose placed second in the International Wine Challenge for rose wines in a blind taste test.  That's even more impressive considering it only costs around $10 a bottle.  It beat wines that regularly sell for three times the price.  And in 2015, ALDI 's Highland Black 8-Year-Old Whiskey received another award.
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No Food Additives!
Now more than ever, we're aware of the additives in our foods, and in 2015 ALDI announced they would no longer manufacture or sell products with questionable ingredients.
With the announcement (via Consumerist), they confirmed they were no longer selling items with partially hydrogenated oils, artificial and synthetic coloring, or added MSG. According to CEO Jason Hart, about 90 percent of the products sold at ALDI  are their own brand, so that gives them some serious control over the ingredients in the food they sell.  And, if you haven't noticed a difference yet, you won't.  They didn't make the announcement until after they'd already done it.
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ALDI Nord & ALDI Sued
There's only one country where ALDI Nord and ALDI Sued share pieces of the grocery store pie, and that's in the US. You wouldn't know it, though, and that's because ALDI Sued — with its blue and orange logo — does business as ALDI, and ALDI Nord goes by another name: Trader Joe's. What? Shocking, we know!

Trader Joe's was founded in 1967 in Pasadena, Calif., by entrepreneur Joe Coloumbe. It was acquired in 1979 by ALDI Nord, a German company that also operates ALDI grocery stores in Europe.

Take a closer look, and it'll make sense. Trader Joe's is an Americanized version of ALDI. Gone are some of the elements you're more likely to see in a European grocery store, like putting some cash down to rent a cart (yes, you get it back).  Employees that don't bag your groceries for you, and a reliance on reusable bags.  But some elements remain, especially private labeling and a definite lack of advertising.  Now it all makes sense, doesn't it?

Read More:
https://www.mashed.com/79564/untold-truth-aldi


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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Is There an End on How Amazon Hurts Authors?


Streaming ebook subscription services are hurting authors - badly. But how much? 



The only known fact about it is that it will return a much lower payment per e-book than a sale.
Amazon also demands total exclusivity on all content enrolled in KDP Select to qualify for Amazon Unlimited and KOLL.  It is a very high price to pay when a content provider (author or publisher) has no idea of what return to expect.
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Working for Glory?
No matter which way royalties are going to be calculated for these services and probably more new entrants in the "Netflix for e-books" subscription service business will arrive.  They are all almost guaranteed to be at the price of a much lower return for authors and publishers.
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Read the whole background story written by Derek Haines here:

My own thoughts: Why do authors not band together and sue Amazon for unethical business practices - among other reasons - in a class-action suit?  How far will they let Amazon go?


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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Fellowships for Writers in France and the USA




    Brown Foundation Fellowship Program The program at the Dora Maar House in Southern France offers residential fellowships, lasting for between one and three months. Application fee $20. Deadline for Fall 2019 is February 15, 2019, or on October 15, 2019, for the spring 2020 session. The successful candidates will receive:
  • travel expenses to and from Dora Maar House
  • reimbursement for reasonable shipping costs for materials such as books and research files
  • a stipend of US$50 per day for basic living expenses
  • a private bedroom, bathroom, and studio


    To apply, go to the website of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: https://core.slideroom.com/#/Login You will find all the details on how to apply on their site.
Another Fellowship - Comes up Each Year: Fellowship for Emerging Writers (not yet published or contracted): The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts Seven Months Residency Fellowship - provides an apartment plus a monthly stipend of $750)  The residencies run from 1 October 2019 to 30 April 2020  http://www.fawc.org/web/applications Hurry up, deadline December 2, 2018, or apply next year


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