- In January, the UK press team of supermarket chain Aldi launched a campaign called the “Poorest Day Challenge.”
- The campaign tasked a London-based influencer, Natalie Lee, with spending no more than $33 (£25) at Aldi for her family of four for a week’s worth of groceries.
- According to a press release, the goal behind Aldi’s campaign was to “showcase just how easily you can feed your family healthy, balanced and affordable meals right through from the ‘poorest day of the year.'”
- Many of Lee’s followers criticized her involvement in the project and called the challenge tone-deaf.
- “Our campaign was intended to offer practical advice about how people can make their money go further,” an Aldi spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
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Discount supermarket Aldi is under fire for launching a UK-based campaign centered around what it named the “poorest day of the year.”
Aldi announced the idea behind the “Poorest Day Challenge” in a press release on January 24, a date it described as the “poorest day of the year” because it was the last Friday of the month before pay day and followed a month of holiday shopping and spending.
The brand’s statement continued, writing that its campaign was designed to show “just how easily you can feed your family healthy, balanced and affordable meals right through from the ‘poorest day of the year’ to pay day.”
As part of the project, London-based influencer Natalie Lee, known by more than 75,000 Instagram followers as Style Me Sunday, documented her experiences shopping at Aldi and spending no more than $33 (£25) — less than the UK’s national average for a family’s food budget — for her family of four for a week.
“Documenting how she got the most bang for her buck, Natalie shares creative inspiration aplenty for wholesome family meals, on a budget,” the brand’s statement said.
The same day that Aldi announced the campaign, Lee shared an Instagram post about her participation in the challenge, writing: “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.”
Some of Lee’s followers appeared to be unbothered and even inspired by the challenge
“Oh this will be interesting!” one user wrote on Lee’s initial Instagram post about the campaign. “I love Aldi but can’t seem to get my weekly shop that low.”
Another user commented: “My Aldi shop comes to between £45-£60 per week for 3 of us! Can’t wait to see what meals you come up with.”
“My goodness, that is some mean feat. I wish you luck!” one user commented.
Many people criticized Lee’s involvement in the campaign and shared their thoughts on the challenge being tone-deaf
One Instagram commenter wrote: “This feels a little clumsy? Especially with the hashtag. My poorest days involved food banks, others involve homelessness and worse. I think there are ways to show you can get a bargain without having to play poor? Especially as you’re getting a fee.”
“How lucky you are to do this as a fun ‘challenge’ for ££ when this is so many people’s day to day life. The only good side is perhaps it will help the well-heeled realise how lucky they are and might better understand the plight of the over 14 million people who live in poverty in the UK,” another user wrote on Lee’s post.
A different commenter shared their thoughts: “Yikes. @aldiuk is tone-deaf apparently. When 1 in 5 are below the poverty line, austerity is not a tool to promote your brand.”
While Lee apparently documented her Aldi shop and meal-prepping on her Instagram Story throughout the week, none of the content is available publicly on her Instagram account at the time of writing.
However, Aldi published Lee’s shopping list, as well as the meals she made from her grocery trip, in the campaign press release.
Lee said in an Instagram Story video that the ‘challenge’ made her think about how she uses her platform as an influencer
On Thursday, Lee shared a series of Instagram Story posts, in which she addressed her involvement in Aldi’s “Poorest Day Challenge.”
“It has been a real tough week for me,” Lee said. “In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ve recently been slated for a campaign I was involved with, justifiably so, I must say. I think it was in hindsight insensitive, and some people would say, offensive.”
She continued, saying she learned a lesson from taking part in the challenge.
“It was a good lesson, and I need to look at what I learned from it. There are things that I could definitely do differently, and one of those is to really think long and hard about the campaigns I get involved in, and also listen to my instincts,” Lee said.
“It’s really got me thinking how I use this platform,” she said.
“At Aldi, we are hugely proud of the work that we have done to democratize access to healthy and affordable food,” a representative for the supermarket told BuzzFeed News. “Our campaign was intended to offer practical advice about how people can make their money go further.”
Representatives for Aldi and Lee, respectively, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.