Countryfile: Anita Rani learns how to hop pick
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Countryfile’s Anita Rani and fresh produce importer Chris Bavin have been exploring the world of food retail and going behind the scenes of supermarkets. Aldi’s Next Big Thing takes a look at how business owners pitch their ideas to get their premium artisan products onto the shelf of one of the world’s most successful supermarkets, Aldi. Anita recently opened up on the challenges she faced whilst working on the show, and admitted to Chris “stealing” one of her ideas.
The Channel 4 series looks at how long-term buyer Julie Ashfield takes into consideration 36 suppliers when deciding what products will hit Aldi’s shelves.
The products pitched include dinners, baked goods, store cupboard essentials as well as tasty treats.
When asked what her favourite staple food was and one that she “couldn’t live without”, Anita told Express.co.uk: “Oh my god, one staple!”
Anita was told that her co-star Chris had chosen chilli sauce, to which she exclaimed: “He nicked mine!!
“I mean I can’t live without chilli, chilli is the one, I mean, ginger pickle or chilli! If he has gone for chilli then I will say ginger pickle, my homemade ginger pickle.
“I can’t live without that! I have it with everything.”
When discussing some of the challenges that she and Chris faced when working on the series, Anita admitted: “I mean all the stuff was quite delicious because all of the stuff had been through a vetting process.
“We had the best of the best and I continued to crave them for days, weeks afterwards! But there was nothing.
“I mean you know eating bugs on national TV was a bit of a challenge,” she revealed after discussing the protein bug burgers that one of the businesses brought forward.
Anita delved into the insight that the viewers would receive when watching the series, and learn a little more about the behind-the-scenes of food retail.
Excited about the show, she explained: “Julie [Ashfield] gives them a really good insight because people come with their products and think this would be a really good and amazing for Aldi.
“She kind of goes, well, is there a market for it? Is this what the customers want? How is your packaging going to work in our supermarkets? Where are you going to get your costs down?
“Because obviously Aldi is very affordable and a lot of these are premium products, artisan premium products so how do you then make that for a mass market while retaining your quality?
“So you really do get an insight into things that happen in the supermarkets.”
Each batch of contestants competing in the series has the chance to get their products on the shelves of the retailer.
At the end of each episode, a winning product is picked and their product is then sold in stores across the country.
The winning products which can be found in Aldi stores right now are Freddie’s Farm Fruit Shapes, run by Charles and Laurie grow fruit on their farm named after their six-year-old son, Freddie.
Harrison & Griffiths Rum Cake, founded by Colin Harrison and Paulette Griffiths, the pair met nine years ago and bonded over their love of baking.
Mud Foods Chip Shop Chicken Curry Pie, owner Christian has been the chief piemaker who makes a range of interesting and unique pies using local ingredients.
Finally, The Greek Farmer Charcuterie, inspired by childhood holidays to his dad’s home country Cyprus, Tony creates a range of Greek-style cured meats.
Aldi’s Next Big Things airs Thursday from 9pm, on Channel 4.
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