Once dismissed as a no-frills, limited-assortment, bare-bones food retailer that posed little competition to the average conventional grocery store as few as three years ago, Aldi is gaining clout as a growing competitive force. Findings from the Retail Feedback Group 2019 U.S. Supermarket Experience Study back up the same: Aldi nabbed the highest score in terms of overall value for grocery expenditures, along with the highest overall satisfaction ranking during the peak traffic hours of 3 to 7 p.m. when compared with conventional supermarkets. The fast-growing discounter is in the midst of a $5 billion plan to expand to 2,500 stores in the U.S. by the end of 2022, up from its approximate 1,900 locations, and is tracking to become the third-largest grocery chain in the country. In a show of competitive swagger, Aldi opened a store in the backyard of Walmart’s stomping grounds in Bentonville, Ark., last fall that’s less than 1 mile from the chain’s sprawling corporate campus. Beyond its fast growth, Aldi is also a pacesetter in other areas, including sustainability. The chain committed to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging, including plastics, by 2020.