Aldi crabulous crabcakes


We’re Aldi’s Next Big Thing, with our Crabulous Crabcakes in 960 stores across the country! It’s a fantastic opportunity, isn’t it?

A friend told me I had to go for it and I thought, why not?

It was an online application and there were a lot of forms to fill in. I did make a start, but I was so busy I didn’t finish and one of the producers rang me and urged me to get them completed, as they really liked the sound of the company.

There are six categories, and we were in Dinner, going up against 600 other applicants just for that category alone.

I made it through the initial application stage, and then went on to do various Zoom interviews with the producers, one of which I did in a very fetching blue hairnet as we were so busy, and I had been in the kitchen!

The Codmother, Hayley

They said, where do you see your product sitting? And I said ‘Waitrose’! I thought, well I’ve blown that haven’t I? But they actually liked the fact that we do really premium products, and we’re quite unusual, aren’t we? We’re making the humble fishcake funky.

Then a producer rang and said they really liked us, and we had made the semi-finals, along with five others. 

We went up to Aldi HQ’s production kitchen and we were given three minutes each to deliver our pitch to Aldi’s head of UK buying Julie Ashfield, who is a nice lady but formidable. It was like a cross between Dragon’s Den and Bake Off!

I pitched Crabbie Crabcakes, as that’s where our story started, and I was up against a gourmet mac and cheese ready meal made by Stormzy’s personal chef, a vegan toad in the hole, a pasta bomb made with rare breed pig charcuterie offcuts, smashed burgers for weddings in coloured buns, and Halal pastrami.

Our crabcakes are loaded with crab and include leeks, a smattering of chilli, some fresh parsley, lemon juice and seasoning. Julie agreed they tasted great, but she told me she wanted them bigger, cheaper and in a pack of two for under £5. So I had to work out a way to develop a crabcake with the same principles as our premium brand that could be scaled up to supply 60,000 units to a supermarket like Aldi.

Crabbie crabcakes on a plate
Fabulous Catch Company fishcakes

The risk was we were giving them a diffusion product to meet the criteria, but the judges were delighted with the texture and taste and we won! The Crabulous Crabcakes, made especially for Aldi, were born.

Do you know what? I cried. I couldn’t believe it. It’s an amazing feeling – an absolutely magical moment that will change my business forever.

We have worked so hard to get this product where it is today. What started out as helping a group of fishermen deal with their crab waste has led to our products landing in stores across the country. I am utterly delighted.

Our mainline crabcake is very rich, and what we have made for Aldi is much more accessible. This will introduce people to crab who might have never tried it before without it being too overwhelming. We’ve brought citrus into it, potatoes, chilli, leeks and parsley with a lovely crispy crumb, and I am delighted with the finished product.

Of course, you go away and come down a bit from the cloud and then the work starts!

It has been difficult and overwhelming, but the Aldi team has been super and so responsive.

They have helped bring our fabulous brand out to all those people visiting those 960 stores, and spreading the word about all of our products.

I’m excited but nervous; the spotlight is on us now.

This is my baby, and I couldn’t be happier – but I still have to watch the programme from behind the sofa…

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