A new Channel 4 series kicks off this week which will see small businesses vying for Aldi’s shelf space. Touted as Dragon’s Den meets Masterchef, Aldi’s Next Big Thing focuses on 36 small scale businesses all hoping for space in Britain’s fourth largest supermarket chain.
Channel 4’s latest show kicks off on Thursday October 20 with the hopes that small time foodie entrepreneurs will hit the big time. The show is part of Aldi’s continued support of British suppliers and will not only offer viewers a chance to see the competitive elements that will comprise the bulk of the episodes, but a rare behind the scene look at Aldi.
Viewers will meet Julie Ashfield, Aldi’s Managing Director of Buying, as the 36 contestants all pitch their products to make it into the final two. Ashfield will then offer feedback to the whittled down field, who will then have four weeks to improve their product based on the feedback they have received and from a panel deliberating on factors such as price, packaging, customer demand, and the ability to scale up.
Joining Julie Ashfield on the three person panel are Anita Rani of Countryfile and BBC Radio 4 and Chris Bavin, of Britain’s Best Home Cook and Eat Well for Less. Speaking on her involvement in the show, Rani said “This has been an incredible journey from start to end. 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.” Chris Bavin also mentioned that “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.
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.” Here’s what you need to know about the new Channel 4 series.
Aldi’s Next Big Thing line-up
Each episode of Aldi’s Next Big Thing will be based around a theme that the business’s product is based upon - with the opening episode focused on dinners. The following businesses/contestants have been confirmed to appear throughout the first series.
- Chip Shop Chicken Curry Pie - Chichester
- Chinese Cooking Sauces - Lewisham
- Yumbug Cricket Recipe Kit - Islington
- Jess Cooks: Kid’s Ready Meal - Suffolk
- Epronto Italian Ragu - Glasgow
- Mandira’s Kitchen Frozen Curry - Surrey Hills
- Harry Spectres Chocolates - Cambridgeshire
- Yorkshire Pudding Beer - Malton
- Bidlea Ice Cream - Cheshire
- Bar of Crisps - London
- Pleesecakes Cheesecakes - Surrey
- Burning Barn Rum - Warwickshire
Healthy and Wholesome
- Honest Bean Co: Fava Bean Snacks and Dips - Malton
- Freddie’s Farm: Fruit Snacks - Kent Downs
- Naturally Fed: Kombucha - Swansea
- Camel Milk - Shipston-on-Stour
- Calyx: Nigerian Soft Drinks - Burnley
- Roast Dinner Kimchi - Liverpool
Fresh and Deli
- Sausage Selection Box (including PB & J) - Oxshott
- The Greek Farmer, Charcuterie - Langley
- Harrington Creamy Cheese - Pikehall
- I Am Nut Okay: Vegan Cheese - Hackney Wick, London
- Jerk Scottish Eggs - Stanley
- Samosa Wallah - Melton Mowbray
- Dessert Sushi - Stourbridge
- Project D Doughnuts - Derby
- Vegan Meringues - Morden, SW London
- Harrison and Griffiths Rum Cake - Nottingham
- Pastry Pedaleur Pastries - Chester
- Gluten Free Brownies - East Sussex
Store Cupboard Staples
- Lilo’s Handmade Pasta - Pencoed
- Ntsama’s Chilli Oil - Cambridgeshire
- Monty’s Mustard - Stanfield
- Vegan Monster Feet - Hackney
- Biscotti - Christchurch, Dorset
- Jeye’s Northamptonshire Sauce - Northampton