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Doughnut business with Nottingham kiosk to appear on Aldi’s Next Big Thing this week

Max, 29, and Jake, 29, from Derby, will appear on Channel 4’s “Aldi’s Next Big Thing” on Thursday 27th October.

The duo along with friend Matthew Bond, 28, founded Project D in 2018. The trio who share a passion for food were inspired by the USA’s 24-hour doughnut demand.

After travelling the world in search of the perfect doughnut, they returned to the UK and began making their own decadent doughnuts, which they sold at small, local markets and events.

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The local business has since evolved – it has a state-of-the-art custom bakery and a 100-strong workforce. Now Project D is looking to take the next step into the world of retail, as it competes for a life changing contract to stock Aldi stores nationwide.

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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.

There is a permanent Project D concession at Treat Kitchen, just inside the main entrance of Nottingham’s Victoria Centre.

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.

The finalists are then given 4 weeks to address any feedback, before presenting improved products to Julie who decides which product will appear as a Specialbuy in 970 stores.

Project D has already amassed a large online fan base, with over 142,000 Instagram followers.

Its local support grew massively during the pandemic, when the start-up business had to swiftly adapt to not only home delivery but sourcing its key ingredients of eggs, flour and yeast from local businesses during a national shortage.

Now Project D is looking to take its local support to a national level, with the help of Aldi.

Best friends and doughnut enthusiasts Max and Jake said of the opportunity: “It’s a bit overwhelming really.”

Aldi’s Next Big Thing is part of the supermarket’s ongoing commitment to locally sourced products. Aldi has invested an extra £1.6 billion with British suppliers since the start of the pandemic, including £125 million spent with meat, poultry and dairy farmers in the UK.

Aldi has also reaffirmed its pledge to prioritise home-grown suppliers as it works towards spending an additional £3.5 billion a year with British businesses by the end of 2025.

To find out if Max and Jake made it on to Aldi’s shelves watch Aldi’s Next Big Thing on Channel 4, every Thursday 8pm until 24 th November.

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