Suppliers are being asked to provide better quality - although they still have to make tough deals on price.
The German discounter has won prizes for its food and wine, gets good reviews in taste panels and is also smartening up its stores.
It recently launched a range of healthy eating products called Balanced Lifestyle, which bears more than a passing resemblance to other multiples' low fat ranges. Aldi has also decentralised its buying department. It is now up to each of the five depots to order products for their region.
One supplier said that Aldi had begun demanding better quality over the past couple of years. He said: "When you're in price negotiations, it is not looking to be the cheapest on the market."
However, the chain still refuses to talk publicly about the strategy and is doing little to advertise its food offer.
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