Aldi Shoppers Are Freaking Out About These Trendy Grapes

On March 27, the Aldi-centric Instagram account @aldi.mademedoit uploaded a post featuring a photo of a bag of cotton candy grapes (via Instagram). "I can't get enough of these!" they rave. "Literally the best grapes ever!! I get them every single time I can find them in @aldiusa!"

Pretty much all who responded expressed their love for the Cotton Candy Grape, though one noted that they could only find them sold for $10 in 1.5 pound quantities at Aldi. If so, this is a hefty price tag, as Target purports to sell one-pound containers for $4.99.

For the uninitiated, however, any excitement over supermarket grapes may seem overblown. Still, as Mashed covered in 2019, this excitement is an annual occurrence. The grapes, though appearing like your average grape, are noticeably sweeter with — spoiler — a taste that smacks of cotton candy. One commenter, though, did claim that after a few grapes, the flavor diminishes to that of a regular grape. David Cain, the horticulturalist behind the relatively new grape, explained to NPR that the flavor comes from the interbreeding of grape species to produce new hybrids. The closest he got to specifics without giving company secrets away was detailing that he crossed a Concord-like grape with a seedless Vitis vineferia to create this Cotton Candy grape.

A cultivated cult product

Besides the taste, the cultish enthusiasm over the Cotton Candy grape's appearance in stores is due to the fact that they are only available during a sliver of the year. In 2016, CBS mentioned in a report on the product that they appeared in stores from mid-August through September. The short span of availability drives a mania for the product. "As we get close to the time, the traffic starts to pick up. 'When are they coming? I drove over the store. They didn't have them.' And people almost get mad and it's like, 'Please be patient, you know, when they're ready, we will send them," Jack Pandol, founder of The Grapery, regaled. 

However, it isn't even April yet, let alone mid-August, so the Cotton Candy Grapes have arrived much, much earlier.

The reason for the grape's earlier appearance may be due to how its production has spread to the Mexican orchards acquired by the Molina Group in 2018, as noted by FreshPlaza. In the FreshPlaza piece, they announced that they will be the first to sell Cotton Candy Grapes in April, with their season finishing in June, which allows for the Californian farms to have their own time to sell the grapes.

Presumably, if cultivation continues to spread, Cotton Candy Grapes will cease to be a seasonal item and become a mainstay at stores like Aldi and Target.