The U.S. food industry was a U.S.-only industry until 1976.

That's when Aldi, a West German operator, acquired Benner Tea Co., Batavia, Ill., and began converting its stores to limited-assortment formats.

Delhaize "Le Lion," Brussels, Belgium, acquired controlling interest in Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C., in 1977 and Alterman Foods, Atlanta, in 1980.

Netherlands-based Ahold acquired Bi-Lo, Mauldin, S.C., in 1977 and subsequently added Giant Food

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