Why Aldi's Anti-Shoplifting Technique Is Enraging Customers

Shoplifting is on the rise. And it's not just inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic that are to blame — although those are significant factors when it comes to increased prices. With so much on the line, leading retailers are coming up with creative measures for keeping their products secure.

Store crime has been increasing steadily over the last five years, per the New York Post — long before either of the previously named factors were in play. Between 2015 and 2020, the total annual dollar amount of U.S. store losses from organized retail crime grew from $453,000 to $719,000 for every $1 billion in sales, per the Post. 

There's no doubt that shoplifting is a problem in the United States, but the rest of the world is seeing a rise in crime rates, too. Theft has similarly spiked in the U.K., with England and Wales seeing record levels of offenses specifically, per a January report from Statista. And stores are doing anything they can to mitigate the lost revenue. Grocery stores certainly aren't exempt from shoplifting, either, and Aldi has taken matters into its own hands. However, its anti-theft measures are confusing some of its honest shoppers.

Some customers are frustrated with Aldi UK's attempts at preventing theft

If you've ever picked up an expensive sweater from a store, you might have noticed a security tag that can't be removed by hand. Of course, this is to prevent shoplifting of pricy items. But now, it's a method being used on basic items, such as Aldi cheese. 

According to The Takeout, Aldi's U.K. stores have started implementing the hefty security tags on food items, including cheese and meat. Photos surfaced on Twitter showing cheese wrapped in a security tag and meat secured in locked plastic boxes. Users responded with total confusion, while some joked that they would "just eat around" the security tags.

Steak stealing has been a problem at Aldi in the past, too, with a Reddit thread from April showing a photo of Aldi's meat department, which had removed steaks from shelves entirely. Customers apparently had to ask a store clerk for help in retrieving a steak due to the rise in shoplifting. One commenter called the loss prevention measure "ridiculous." 

Other UK stores are increasing security measures, too

It's not just Aldi that's increasing its U.K. security measures. Business Insider reports that a Sainsbury's grocery store location in London had "security stickers" attached to everything from toiletries to candy. 

Similarly, the outlet noted that at least one location of U.K. supermarket chain Tesco had added the stickers to packaged cheese and butter. However, Business Insider noted that other Tesco locations didn't appear to have placed the security measures on its blocks of cheese, the costs of which amount to around $5 or $6 USD each. A rep for Sainsbury's told the outlet that the security decisions "will vary from store to store."

Though consumers might not appreciate the security tags, stores' hands are tied in terms of balancing customer satisfaction and preventing theft. Other grocery stores are adapting to shoplifting as well, with some stores choosing to implement surcharges to offset the lost money.