It was hard to pick up a newspaper 18 months ago without reading about the "Aldi effect" and how the middle classes were flocking to the German discounter and its rival, Lidl, during the UK recession.
In those heady days, Aldi's sales soared by 25.7 per cent for the 12 weeks to 28 December 2008, while Lidl was up by 11.2 per cent over the same period, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Edward Garner, a director at the research firm, said: "There was almost a recession-chic going around the "Aldi effect" and they got a lot of trial shoppers."
However, it does not seem that many of them wanted to repeat the experience on a regular basis, although Tesco launched a range of discounter products to combat the threat.
The latest Kantar data shows that Lidl's sales increased by just 2 per cent over the 12 weeks to 18 April. Aldi, which has a 3 per cent share of the grocery market, saw sales rise by a more respectable 5 per cent, up from a lacklustre 1.8 per cent reported in March.