Aldi is in some hot water after a food challenge some people are calling "distasteful" and "tone deaf." In the challenge, Aldi hired an influencer to try and feed her family of four three meals a day with a £25 budget (which translates to about $33 USD).
AD | Aldi has challenged me to feed my family of 4 for a whole week - breakfast, lunch and dinner for £25 to see if it’s possible. January is probably the hardest month of the year financially for most people, so I’m interested to see if I can feed my family with a well-balanced and nutritious weeks food shop. What do you think? Follow along on my stories to see how I get on... @AldiUK
A post shared by Style Me Sunday | Natalie Lee (@stylemesunday) on Jan 23, 2020 at 11:01pm PST
Aldi's press release called January 24 the "poorest day of the year" because that's when the bank statements from holiday shopping start coming in. This is why they challenged Natalie Lee, who is known as @stylemesunday to her 76,000 followers, to partake in the budgeted shopping.
The £25 budget was chosen because according to the press release, "This is less than the national average family weekly food shop which comes in at £60.60." Aldi even encouraged the use of the hashtag #AldiPoorestDayChallenge to make following along easy.
When Lee shared with her followers that she was partnering with Aldi for the challenge, they were quick to point out how it could be offensive to those actually struggling with food insecurity.
In fact, the comments were almost flooded with criticism rather than praise. "Totally distasteful and completely out of touch!" wrote one user. Others went more in-depth about why this challenge perpetuated harmful beliefs about those who live in poverty.
One user commented: "It is only from a place of extreme privilege could both a brand and individual think of this as helpful and not hugely discriminatory and patronising. There are real lessons to be learned here and a whole lot of empathy required which can not be achieved by some kind of ad experience."
Lee has not posted an official response to the controversy but has been active in her comments section letting her followers know that she understands where they are coming from. To one follower Lee wrote, "I’m listening to all the comments. Thank you. Really appreciate your feedback. Xxx"
Despite all of the backlash, Aldi UK told BuzzFeed News that they stand by the ad. The grocery store told BuzzFeed:
At Aldi, we are hugely proud of the work that we have done to democratize access to healthy and affordable food. Our campaign was intended to offer practical advice about how people can make their money go further.
Aldi and Natalie Lee did not immediately respond to Delish's request for comment, but Lee continues to reply to the comments on her Instagram page.
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