Discount chain Aldi, making headlines weekly for its low prices and its rise up the charts among popular supermarket chains, is driving more news with a competitive Channel 4 food series set to launch Thursday.
‘Aldi’s Next Big Thing’ will give 36 smaller British suppliers the opportunity to go head-to-head for a change to win the ultimate prize – space inside its stores. Hosted by Anita Rani of BBC Radio 4 and Chris Bavin of Britain’s Best Home Cook and Eat Well for Less, the show could be transformational for some food and drink businesses.
“As a former greengrocer, I jumped at the chance to be part of this programme which takes small businesses and offers them life changing opportunities,” Bavin said. “The trials and tribulations of running your own company, especially in the current climate, are all made worthwhile when a large retailer like Aldi recognises the accomplishments.”
The competition will give the public an inside look at how the process of how a major supermarket chain chooses suppliers, listens to pitches about their products and before placing those items on its shelves. It is all part of Aldi’s commitment to put £3.5 billion a year behind British businesses by 2026.
“More than three quarters of our sales come from British suppliers, and we are constantly exploring ways in which we can further support small local businesses,” Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, added. “To be able to offer a platform to showcase new food and drink products to the nation is incredibly exciting.”
The three dozen suppliers will battle it out at Aldi’s headquarters, showcasing dinner and baked items, as well as cupboard staples and other treats. Each episode will feature deliberations from the judges about price, packaging, customer demand, and scalability. Finalists will be chosen and then given a month to hone their products. The winning products will be selected as Specialbuys in nearly 1,000 stores, all of it to be captured by Channel 4 (Thursdays, 8 pm., through No. 24).
“From getting to know the suppliers, visiting their places of production, and even being part of the team at Aldi headquarters. I’m excited to hear viewers’ reactions to the stories, and to find out if they love the winning products as much as we do,” Rani said.