Chocolatier’s ‘Bar of Crisps’ line makes TV bid for national distribution
Chocolatier Maria Antoniou is hoping for success with Aldi buyers. Pic: Channel 4
A bold new chocolate product packed with crisps that became a social media hit on TikTok is set to be judged by retail buyers, featuring in a Channel 4 television series screened this evening (Thursday), reports Neill Barston.
Viewers of “Aldi’s Next Big Thing,” which places prospective new food and drink lines under the buyers’ microscope, will see 47 year-old chocolatier Maria Antoniou (main image), bid for her latest creation to be accepted for national distribution.
The confectionary business owner’s eye-catching combination for her Bar of Crisps may appear controversial to some observers, yet it gained more than 700k social media views on TikTok when she recently offered a first glimpse of her new offering.
She is hopeful that her creation will make the grade with Aldi- which has committed to spending £3.5 billion a year supporting locally developed produce.
Speaking on her creative chocolate range, Maria, a former personal assistant who set up her own confectionery business, said: ““Bar of crisps was born in lockdown, when I used to sit on the sofa watching TV eating chocolate and crisps.
“I just want to create products that you can’t get anywhere else, something different to what’s already on the shelves. When you tell people it’s cheese & onion with chocolate, they think you’re crazy. But it really works.
“My friends and family think it’s hilarious that I make all these chocolate bars from a two-bedroom flat in Essex, but my dream is to have a unit or have the bar manufactured. To get the bar stocked in Aldi would be completely life changing.”
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 six-part series sees suppliers compete from categories such as dinners, baked goods, treats and store cupboard essentials.
Products are presented to Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, who deliberates on factors such as price, packaging, shopper demand, and the ability to scale up, before whittling contestants down to just two.
Viewers can see Maria pitch her milk chocolate bars stuffed with Ready Salted, Salt and Vinegar and Cheese and Onion crisps to the intrigued panel. She will be pitching against other products in the treats category, such as Yorkshire Pudding Beer and Scottish Empire biscuits with a twist.
Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK says: “I’m really looking forward to the treats category because it’s so broad and there are so many opportunities for creativity. The challenge is how will the producers bring the wow factor that we’re looking for.” You can chart Maria’s progress tonight on Channel 4 in the UK at 8pm.