A MAN from Gwynedd will appear on the Channel 4 programme Aldi’s Next Big Thing next week.

Gareth Griffiths-Swain will feature on the show on Tuesday (May 7) at 8pm. 

He is founder of Fungi Foods, a startup specialising in fresh exotic mushrooms, including the Lion's Mane variety.

Not currently on offer in any UK supermarket, the large, white, shaggy mushrooms are named as such, given they resemble a lion’s mane as they grow.

They contain bioactive substances that have many beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart, and gut.

Also known as Hericium Erinaceus, the mild flavour and meaty texture of Lion’s Mane often gets compared to lobster.

Gareth was picked from hundreds of applicants competing for a contract to stock Aldi stores nationwide and will be presenting his versatile dried version of the functional shrooms. 

In dried format, it can be used in cookery or added to soups, coffee, smoothies or tea, as an easy way to consume daily.

Presented by Anita Rani and Chris Bavin, the six-part series will see suppliers compete in a range of categories including dinners and baked goods, as well as exciting new category additions: party, world, and confectionery.

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 shortlisting contestants down to just two.  

Finalists are then given four weeks to address any feedback, with a follow-up home visit from Anita or Chris who will report back their findings to Julie.


The three then taste test the improved products, before Julie decides the winner which will appear as a “Specialbuy” in more than 1,000 stores.  

Gareth says mushrooms are a sustainable, versatile, and delicious food source, and it’s his mission to showcase the beautiful varieties out there.

He said: “I believe mushrooms have a big part to play in the future of food.

“There is a lot of neurological research focused on two compounds found in Lion's Mane that help the growth of brain receptors. In doing that, they can improve memory, focus and concentration.”

Gareth has received support from Grŵp Llandrillo's Menai's Food Technology Centre in Llangefni in developing his product.

Gareth used the centre through Project HELIX for shelf-life testing and food safety training in early 2023, and has used the centre's food prep halls for production.

To find out if Gareth’s Lion’s Mane mushrooms made it onto Aldi’s shelves, watch Aldi’s Next Big Thing on Channel 4 on May 7 at 8pm.