Aldi has announced the winner of its Scotland-wide search for the store’s next top product.
Orkney Caramel Shortbread from Argo's Bakery Orkney Caramel Shortbread from Argo’s Bakery has fought off competition from more than 100 entries to be named Aldi’s Next Top Product, winning a coveted listing in the supermarket’s 62 Scottish stores – estimated to be worth more than £175,000 to the Orkney-based business over the next 12 months.
The judges concluded that Argo’s Orkney Caramel Shortbread was the resounding winner. On shelf as part of Aldi’s Specially Selected range from February next year priced at £1.69, each pack contains five double Orkney butter shortbread biscuits sandwiched with caramel and drizzled with Belgian chocolate.
The entries were of such a high standard that Joseph Robertson’s Lockerbie Cheddar Melting Centre Cheese Croquettes have been chosen as a runner up and offered a trial listing in Scottish stores. The croquettes will be sold as a summer seasonal for six months from April next year.
The competition, which opened in June, celebrates Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink and culminated in a day of taste tests at Aldi’s Scottish headquarters. Aldi’s Joint Managing Director for Corporate Buying, Jonathan Neale, was joined by the Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, James Withers, to put the shortlisted products to the test.
From left to right - Lisa Harley (Aldi), James Withers (Scotland Food and Drink), Jenna McDill (Argo's Bakery). Jonathan Neale, Joint Managing Director for Corporate Buying for Aldi in Scotland, said: “Our business model in Scotland has always been about working with the best local producers to bring top quality products to our customers at everyday low prices. The Next Top Product competition has been a fantastic way to bring this to life and we’ve uncovered some really exciting producers and a wealth of delicious food and drink during this process.
“The competition was tough but we are thrilled to announce that Argo’s Bakery has come out on top. The level of entries was exceptionally high, so much so that we are delighted to offer a trial listing to a runner up product – Lockerbie Cheddar Melting Centre Cheese Croquettes.
“Both products will now be listed in all of our Scottish stores and we are confident our customers will be pleased with our selection.”
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers commented: “Scotland Food & Drink has worked really closely and successfully with Aldi in recent times, working jointly to help develop their Scottish supply base. Aldi's Next Top Product competition is a great addition to this joint, collaborative work, demonstrating Aldi’s desire to offer a strong range of Scottish products for their customers. This competition is a great opportunity for the winner to drive their sales with the retailer in Scotland."
Jenna McDill from Argo’s Bakery said: “Everyone at the bakery was absolutely delighted to learn our Orkney Caramel Shortbread had been chosen to be part of Aldi’s Specially Selected range. It’s a huge honour for us and we’re really excited about the prospect of Aldi customers throughout Scotland having the chance to enjoy what is a real Orkney favourite, made using the very best of local ingredients. Working with Aldi has been a fantastic experience and we look forward to seeing our Orkney Caramel Shortbread in their stores very soon.”
The team at Aldi will now support and assist the winner through the process of getting their product onto the shelf.
The Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 celebrates the country’s outstanding natural larder and produce. The Scottish Government initiative is led by VisitScotland, supported by Scotland Food & Drink and Think Local. It is designed to capitalise on the momentum created by the previous Year of Food and Drink in 2010 and Homecoming Scotland 2014.