Budget German supermarket Aldi is at the centre of a caviar storm due to doubts around the luxury product’s authenticity.
The row erupted after a rival producer suggested Aldi’s cut-price caviar was ‘engineered’ or ‘enhanced’ and was not the ‘real’ thing, the Times reported.
Last night Kenneth Benning of London Fine Foods and the owner of a sturgeon farm on Exmoor blasted Aldi and their caviar producer, KC Caviar, for misleading customers about the product, which he believes has been manipulated and overly preserved.
The German cut-price supermarket chain Aldi has sold a cut-price version of caviar since 2014 but a rival producer last night slammed their product saying it is ‘misleading’
He told the Times: ‘Real caviar is the raw salted roe of sturgeon fish that has not been treated with anything.
‘The problem with KC Caviar’s product is that the eggs have been rinsed in a saline solution and put through a calcium bath. This encases the roe in a form of jelly that changes the molecular structure of the egg and increases its longevity.
Mr Benning added: ‘Real caviar is a raw natural product that unfortunately spoils within days and certainly within weeks. Yet I bought a caviar product from KC Caviar nearly 16 weeks go and it has not yet spoilt. This is an undeniable confirmation that the roe has gone through significant molecular change and is therefore not the real thing.
‘There is nothing wrong with these eggs but it would be misleading for Aldi to claim that they are real caviar.’
Last night Kenneth Benning of London Fine Foods and the owner of a sturgeon farm on Exmoor blasted Aldi and their caviar producer, KC Caviar, for misleading customers about the product, which he believes has been manipulated and overly preserved
But Aldi and KC Caviar, strongly dispute the claims and have said Mr Benning was being malicious and that his actions were motivated by commercial interests.
Aldi starting stocking caviar in 2014 as part of a plan to step up its battle for a bigger slice of the luxury market by increasing and improving its selection of goods aimed at affluent consumers.
They originally called it Beluga caviar but were forced to rename it because it was not sourced from authentic European sturgeon from the Caspian sea and Black Sea.
A spokesman for Aldi said: ‘Cambridgeshire county council, Aldi’s primary authority…has confirmed this product is caviar.’