German discount grocery chain Lidl is launching its Kick Start Supplier Development Program in northern Ireland. The program is designed to help small and medium-sized food businesses grow their brand by being featured in the 190 Lidl stores in the country, reports The Irish Times.
Lidl first tested the program with 50 companies in 2017, and has now expanded the program to 80 products sourced from Northern Ireland and Ireland. From these, three products will go on to be showcased at Lidl’s International Food Expo, opening the door to potential listings in 29 Lidl countries, including the U.S.
PowCow’s high protein frozen yogurt was selected for the program in 2017, out of 450 products entered, and sold so well that it is now listed permanently in all Lidl stores.
Lidl has 10,000 locations in 27 countries with another German based chain, Aldi, being its top competitor. Aldi and Lidl are both known for shaking up the market in Europe with their discounted prices that hurt the bigger retailers like Walmart. Lidl opened its first stores in the U.S. — in Virginia and the Carolinas — last summer, with prices up to 50 percent cheaper than local competitors. At the time grocers like Walmart and Aldi were pushing for 15 to 20 percent price reductions to keep up with it.
Initially Lidl’s lured customers away from other grocers, according to a store-traffic analysis by inMarket, a location-based data fir, as reported by Fox News. But Lidl hasn’t been able to sustain that level of traffic, and major grocers including Kroger Co. and Walmart have recovered much of their lost market share.
There are now 47 stores open in six states in the southern part of the U.S. By the middle of 2018, the company may open as many as 100 stores but that’s a more conservative estimate than originally thought, according to Forbes.