Andrew Stirling, joint owner with his wife Anita of the family business, which is based at Upper Dysart Farm in Montrose, told FoodManufacture.co.uk the contract had been set up initially for a year.
Stirfresh had agreed to supply a range of vegetables, including potatoes, carrots, turnips and leeks, to the outlets, he confirmed.
‘Easy to deal with’
“We had a ‘meet the buyer’ event,” said Stirling. “Aldi had a very good approach. I would say they were very easy to deal with, because it was not a huge hierarchy scenario.”
He explained that he had faced very little bureaucracy in his dealings with the discounter, which had contrasted with the nature of his relationship with other customers.
“I could phone the QA [quality assurance manager], the person we did the deal with and the woman who runs the intake and get hold of them today, which is refreshing,” he said.
The agreement would assist the business’s growth plans, representing significant expansion into the retail sector, he claimed. “It’s another egg in the basket and we will look to expand.”
He estimated that the transaction would be worth £250,000 across the year. “It’s great to see Scottish produce promoted,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Aldi said: “The quality of Stirfresh’s produce and the strength of their operation in Scotland makes it a perfect supplier for Aldi. In particular, the soup mix and vegetable medley that we’re stocking are ideal for shoppers who are looking for quick, easy and affordable ways to make healthy choices.
“It’s important to us to source as much Scottish produce as possible. We currently stock more than 200 Scottish products, work with over 60 independent food and drink businesses and boast a product range which is at least 30% Scottish. That’s a figure that we intend to grow over the coming months.”
‘Paying a premium’
“We work closely with Scottish suppliers to secure the best quality fresh produce for our customers and are committed to paying a premium to ensure that our shelves are stocked with quality produce from Scottish businesses.”
She said other Scottish products recently taken on by Aldi included Orkney Smoked Cheddar from Island Smokery and fresh dips from Leven-based Dip Nation.
ScotBeef supplies the retailer with its 100% Scottish Aberdeen Angus beef, MGM Poultry provides its free range, whole Scottish chicken and Summer Isles Foods supplies smoked and roasted salmon.
Stirfresh grew out of a farming business that was set up in 1958 and diversified into processing (washing, packaging and peeling) in 2000.
The company employs 45 full-time staff. Before the Aldi deal, it had mainly supplied public sector and wholesale customers, plus ready meal manufacturers, said Stirling.