Creator of allergen friendly and vegan snack brand Crave, Rob Brice, 41, has won a Channel 4 show for food and drink suppliers – and will now see his products stocked on the shelves of Aldi. The trained chef and food consultant spent 18 months working on his free-from snacks, including vegan versions of Monster Munch, Frazzles and Wotsits.
He has now landed a life changing contract with Aldi to stock his Pickled Onion Monster Feet and Smokey Bacon Streakers in stores nationwide from today (18th November) after winning last night’s episode of Channel 4 series Aldi’s Next Big Thing.
In the show, hosted by Countryfile’s Anita Rani and Chris Bavin, of Britain’s Best Home Cook and Eat Well for Less, hopeful suppliers compete for a space on the supermarket giant’s shelves.
Rob was selected from hundreds of British food and drink producers to appear on the programme, where he fought off competition from a British biscotti, handmade chocolate pasta and artisan mustard to win the life changing, 52,000-unit order.
Rob, who describes himself as the ‘Willy Wonka of Vegan food’, said: “My inspiration for Crave was seeing that so many free-from foods were either bland, boring or mostly focussed on health. I wanted to shake things up, bring bold flavour and create a bit of fun.
“I love developing products that people haven’t been able to eat due to allergies. When we launched Monster Feet, a customer said her husband actually cried as he hadn’t been able to eat the food he loves for a year.
“Food is emotive and I love that.”
Rob, who runs Crave from his home in Hackney, London, pitched his product to Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying Julie Ashfield in last night’s episode which focused on store cupboard essentials.
Rob added: “When I heard Julie announce that we had won, I was overcome with emotion. Without a shadow of a doubt, this will change the face of the brand forever.
“Working full time for Crave is all I’ve ever wanted, and now thanks to this opportunity I can finally do it.
“We almost didn’t enter because we didn’t think a vegan and free from brand was what they were after, but I’m so glad we did. The whole experience has been quite surreal. This listing is huge for us – our biggest yet, and we hope it’s the start of a beautiful relationship.”
Julie Ashfield, Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, added: “Competition was fierce but Rob’s product packs a lot of flavour and the branding stands out from the crowd.
“The free-from and vegan category is a growing sector and we know Rob’s free-from snacks will be popular with our shoppers.”
The multi-category competition is part of Aldi’s ongoing commitment to locally sourced products. Aldi has pledged to prioritise home-grown suppliers as it works towards spending an additional £3.5 billion a year with British businesses by the end of 2025.
Crave’s Pickled Onion Monster Feet and Smokey Bacon Streakers will be on shelves from today. But shoppers need to get in quick, as with all Specialbuys, once they’re gone, they’re gone.
Aldi’s Next Big Thing airs on Channel 4, every Thursday at 8pm until 24th November.
AND IT INCLUDES A PIGS IN BLANKETS YORKSHIRE PUDDING WRAP!
Aldi has just unveiled its most extensive collection of pigs in blankets to date featuring a range of unique offerings. Shoppers on the hunt for the ultimate festive side are in luck, as along with some returning favourites, Aldi is welcoming brand-new additions to store this Christmas, including a quirky Pigs in Blankets Yorkshire Pudding Wrap.