Landing in Aldi stores today (25th November) are not just one but two amazing products from small scale British food and drink producers after Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying couldn’t pick between the two.
In what is a first for Aldi’s Next Big Thing, Julie Ashfield awarded Howard Kinder, 61, and his son Harry, 26, from Malton Brewery, as well as Mona Shah and her husband Shaz from Harry Specters chocolate a life altering contract to supply the retailer.
Howard and Harry’s Yorkshire Pudding Beer (£1.49, 500ml) was the first to be announced as the winner after their quirky take on a popular treat and ability to scale up impressed Julie.
However, in a nerve-wracking and unexpected moment in what was the final episode of the series, Julie then announced: “It was so difficult to choose between both of you and in the spirit of treat week, we thought we’d treat our customers and have two winners.”
The decision means Harry Specters Chocolate Bars will also be on shelves nationwide from today for £2.49 (100g). The bars, which are available in three different flavours: Milk Sea Salt Caramel, Milk Peanut Butter and Dark Orange, are all made at Harry Specters headquarters in Ely Cambridgeshire by its workforce of autistic people.
Mona and Shaz captured the heart of the nation after sharing how they started the business after realising chocolate making was the perfect routine, structured work for their son Ash, now 24, who is autistic.
Mona Shah of Harry Specters says: “We wanted to do something not just for him [Ash] but others like him. We looked up some statistics and found 85% of autistic people are unemployed and 61% of them are desperate to work.”
This was just one of the stories featured last night in Aldi’s Next Big Thing, which is hosted by Anita Rani, of Countryfile and BBC Radio 4 and Chris Bavin of Britain’s Best Home Cook and Eat Well for Less. The show sees hopeful suppliers compete for a space on Aldi’s shelves, before Aldi’s Julie Ashfield decides on the winner.
Competing against the winners in last night’s episode, which focused on the treats category, was a unique smoked rum, a quirky twist on Empire Biscuits, premium ice cream made on a Cheshire dairy farm and a chocolate bar stuffed with cheese and onion crisps.
Of choosing two winners to launch on Aldi’s shelves, Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, says: “Choosing between beer and chocolate was just too tough. The love and innovation that has gone into their products is just outstanding. They are both fantastic products and it just felt right to make both winners.
“Moments like this just really make me love my job. You could see how much it meant to both of them. And I’m confident our shoppers are going to enjoy these fantastic treats.”
Shaz Shah of Harry Specters says: “Social impact wise, it’s going to be massive. When we told our team of autistic workers that we were going to be supplying Aldi it just filled them with confidence. It was truly amazing.”
Howard Kinder of Malton Brewery says: “We were absolutely elated – and really happy that we got to share the victory with Harry Specters. For me, I’m not just happy that we’ve won, but that I get to continue working with my son.”
Both Malton Brewery’s Yorkshire Pudding Beer and Harry Specters chocolate bars are on shelves in Aldi stores nationwide from 25th November. The Greek Farmer’s British Charcuterie Platter (a winner from a previous episode) will also be on sale at the same time.-ENDS
As the cold weather begins to settle in, Aldi has announced the return of some of its best-selling winter warmers. From the popular Heated Throw to a range of Electric Blankets and Hot Water Bottles, including a brand-new Body Wrap Hot Water Bottle, Aldi has those perfect cosy wintery nights covered. Available in-stores only from 23rd November, shoppers better be quick, as once they’re gone, they’re gone!