Kristijan full of beans after Aldi success
Local chef travelled to 10 stores just to see his produce on the shelves
Ballinagh business Vanilla Bean Patisserie has won the ‘Grow with Aldi’ programme with sales of his curds hitting record heights.
As Cavan’s first ever winner of the programme, Croatian chef Kristijan Kodric is delighted with the result, securing his curd's top place on Aldi’s shelving.
“It’s going to stand beside the jams in all Aldi’s nationwide,” Kristijan enthused.
The competition began for each of the 57 suppliers on June 6 last. Their products were launched in 145 Aldi stores nationwide as a ‘Special Buy’ event.
The chef revealed he travelled to 10 Aldi stores in the initial event just to see his produce on the shelves.
The curds - coming in passion fruit, lemon and lime flavours - were an instant hit with Aldi shoppers, as Kristijan explained.
“I was told it was the best-selling range out of the whole 108 products,” he beamed.
He said “surreal” quantities were sold, with over 50% of the stock purchased within the first three days.
In the Cavan store 18 jars were sold just 15 minutes after opening, with stock in Galway sold out by 11am. The supply in Swords did not make it to June 6 – they were sold out the night before. The result? Two thousand jars sold in just three days.
“I couldn’t believe it,” the entrepreneur said.
With winners due to be revealed before July 1, the date came and went with no word from Aldi.
“I thought we didn’t win,” said Kristijan, explaining he was happy with the exposure and proud of how his curds performed.
On returning from work one day, the chef had a missed call, which he returned.
“The line was breaking, I couldn’t hear,” he remembered.
“All I couldn’t hear was c-on-g-rat-ul-at-ions.”
The curds had done it. What followed was a whirlwind of Zooms call, audits, interviews and photoshoots.
“I didn’t tell my dad straight away even though he works with me."
Instead, Kristijan called to his house with a bottle of wine.
“Open that bottle of wine and sit down,” he instructed his father.
“We got it, I said.”
Mixtures of fear and excitement filled the following days.
“It’s very straining, it’s not like we started in a few shops and then built up.
“It’s 150 stores overnight,” he said.
The father-son duo also juggle supplying “mountains of desserts” to five-star hotels all over the country and nearly 200 wholesalers.
The chef’s working day commences at 5am and finishes at 6pm in the evening, working every day except Sunday.
With an extension to his Ballinagh kitchen “planned in a day and built in six weeks,” Kristijan is excited for the future.
“I’m happy,” he said.
“The news is out, the equipment is here and we can do it.”
The curds will be stocked in Aldi stores nationwide for a two-week Special Buy event commencing this Thursday (September 23) and again in November and February, before becoming a core listing for six months beginning in March next year. They will also be stocked in Gavin’s Centra Ballinagh, as well as SuperValu in April next year as part of the Food Academy.
You can keep up to date with the Vanilla Bean Patisserie on Facebook and Instagram. Orders can be placed through the website https://www.vanillabean.ie/