The local chef visited 10 stores just to see his products on the shelves
Ballinagh Vanilla Bean Patisserie won the “Grow with Aldi” program with record sales of its curd.
As the first winner of the Cavan program, Croatian chef Kristijan Kodric is delighted with the result, securing his curd’s first place on Aldi’s shelves.
“He’s going to stand next to jams all over Aldi country,” said Kristijan enthusiastically.
The competition started for each of the 57 suppliers on June 6. Their products were launched in 145 Aldi stores nationwide as a “special buy” event.
The chef revealed that he visited 10 Aldi stores during the initial event just to see his products on the shelves.
The curd – with flavors of passion fruit, lemon and lime – was an instant hit with Aldi buyers, as Kristijan explained.
“I was told it was the best-selling range out of all 108 products,” he beamed.
He said “surreal” quantities have been sold, with more than 50% of the stock purchased in the first three days.
In Cavan’s store, 18 jars were sold just 15 minutes after opening, with Galway stock running out by 11am. The supply of Swords did not reach on June 6 – they ran out the night before. The result? Two thousand pots sold in just three days.
“I couldn’t believe it,” the entrepreneur said.
With the winners due to be revealed by July 1, the date came and went without a word from Aldi.
“I thought we didn’t win,” said Kristijan, explaining that he was happy with the show and proud of the performance of his curds.
On his way home from work one day, the boss got a missed call, which he returned.
“The line was breaking, I couldn’t hear,” he recalls.
“All I couldn’t hear was c-on-g-rat-ul-at-ions.”
The curds had done it. What followed was a flurry of Zoom calls, audits, interviews and photo ops.
“I didn’t tell my dad right away even though he works with me.”
Instead, Kristijan called home with a bottle of wine.
“Open that bottle of wine and sit down,” he told his father.
“We got it,” I said. “
Mixtures of fear and excitement filled the following days.
“It’s very tiring, it’s not like we started in a few stores and then built ourselves up.
“It’s 150 stores overnight,” he said.
The father-son duo also juggle sourcing “mountains of desserts” from five-star hotels across the country and nearly 200 wholesalers.
The chef’s working day starts at 5 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m., working every day except Sunday.
With an extension of his Ballinagh kitchen “planned in one 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 curd will be stocked in Aldi stores nationwide for a special two-week buying event starting this Thursday (September 23) and again in November and February, before becoming a staple list for six months from from March of next year. They will also be stored at the Centra Ballinagh in Gavin, as well as at the SuperValu in April next year as part of the Food Academy.
You can follow the latest Vanilla Bean pastry news on Facebook and Instagram. Orders can be placed through the site https://www.vanillabean.ie/