A new supermarket has opened its doors in South Jersey -- Lidl.

Lidl (which rhymes with "needle") in Vineland held its grand opening this past Thursday to a long line of waiting customers.

As a longtime fan of the local favorites -- Acme and ShopRite -- I have also recently become quite a fan of Aldi. As a fan of Aldi, I was curious to see what Lidi was like, so I stopped by Sunday afternoon.

Lidl Vineland NJ - Photo: Chris Coleman
Lidl Vineland NJ - Photo: Chris Coleman

When I pulled in the parking lot, cars were everywhere - parking in every available spot both between the lines and along their driveway. I suppose if you are going to open a supermarket, a week before Thanksgiving is the best time to do it.

Let me summarize my experience at Lidl this way: it's roughly positioned between Aldi, which is very bare bones, and ShopRite or Acme, which has all of the bells and whistles one expects from a full service supermarket chain.

At Aldi, you need a quarter to use a cart; not at Lidl. At Aldi, you need to bring your own bags or buy bags at the store and you need to bag your own groceries. When I was at Lidl Sunday, their paper bags were free and an employee was bagging -- from best I can tell, that's not the norm.

Much like ShopRite and Acme, and unlike Aldi, Lidl has a really nice fresh bakery department, which was mobbed. Lidl seemed to have a slightly larger selection of national brand names (including their own line of products), compared to Aldi which usually focuses on their own lines. If you're expecting a dozen different brands of the same type of product, Lidl isn't for you.

As for prices? As cheap as, or in some cases a little cheaper than, what you might find at Aldi or even Walmart.

In the grand scheme of things, the fight over the money you spend at the supermarket is as intense now as it has been in a very long time. You have Acme versus ShopRite, ShopRite versus Walmart, Walmart versus Target -- and now Aldi and Lidl are stepping up to the plate in a big way with plans to expand all across our area.

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