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Stourbridge 'dessert sushi' business competes for spot on Aldi’s shelves in new Channel 4 series

The owner of a cake business which specialises in dessert sushi is competing in a new TV series in a bid to be stocked by supermarket giant Aldi.

John Hines - pictured with his wife Lisa - will appear on Channel 4’s Aldi’s Next Big Thing this week
John Hines - pictured with his wife Lisa - will appear on Channel 4’s Aldi’s Next Big Thing this week

John Hines, who runs Yum Yum Sushi with his wife Lisa in Stourbridge, beat hundreds of hopefuls to appear on the new Channel 4 series, Aldi’s Next Big Thing.

Debuting on Thursday night, the show is a six-part series which sees food and drink suppliers compete to be stocked in Aldi's 970 stores nationwide.

Speaking about his dessert sushi, John said: "They’re rolled like sushi, they’re cut like sushi, but there’s no fish in the dish! Nobody has something like this – it’s unique, it’s different and the end result is cheeky and quirky."

Some of the treats on offer at Yum Yum Sushi

To make Yum Yum Sushi, John and Lisa bake cake which they then wrap in buttercream using a sushi mat. They are then dipped and dunked in chocolate before being cut into bite size pieces.

He added: "It would be life-changing to be stocked at Aldi – it would be a game changer for anyone. They have a huge amount of stores. That would have a huge impact on anyone’s operation."

The award-winning chef, who is originally from Key West in Florida, also runs a café with Lisa in a residential home in Stourbridge.

After meeting Lisa online, he decided to take the plunge and move half-way across the world to be with her in the Black Country.

"Before I met Lisa, my life was a mess," John said. "I lost my restaurant, I went through bankruptcy. Now, I’m really happy – and we’ve created these delicious products."

To find out if John was given the life-changing Aldi contract, watch Aldi’s Next Big Thing on Channel 4, every Thursday at 8pm until November 24.

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 series sees suppliers compete in 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.

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

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.

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