Aug 28, 2010

New Kroger on Chenal

For lunch Friday, Lisa and I were invited to a blogger's sneak preview of the Kroger Marketplace on Chenal.  It is nice.  

While waiting in the lobby for everyone to arrive, I asked a question about Kroger's labeling.  I read labels. Everyone should read labels.  

A few weeks ago I was stumped. Two cans of refried beans with the exact same front had different ingredients.

Exhibit A ingredients above: cooked beans, water, contains 2% or less of lard, salt, seasoning [chili pepper, onion powder, spices, garlic powder, spice extract (not sure what it says)], vinegar.

Exhibit B ingredients below: prepared pinto and pink beans, water, blurry word (with BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, and citric acid to protect flavor), salt, distilled vinegar, chile pepper, onion blurry word, spices, garlic powder, natural flavor.
The answer given to me (and I'm that I'm condensing) was that Kroger buys products from several companies then adds the Kroger label.   

Another quick label example - Breyers ice cream has several styles of vanilla ice cream.  Only one style doesn't include high fructose corn syrup.  Moral of the story: keep reading labels.

Back to our regularly scheduled blog post...

The tour of the new-and-improved Kroger on Chenal.

It has a lovely floral section.  Parks Brothers from Van Buren, Arkansas provides some of the outdoor selections.
Arkansas peaches, y'all!

While talking with Joe Bell, Manager of Marketing and Public Affairs, Lisa and I expressed our desire to see more locally grown produce and meats in Kroger.  Mr. Bell explained that produce must have the internal temperatures cooled way down in order for it to have a longer shelf life.

For example, after the Arkansas peaches were picked, they were shipped to Memphis -to the distribution center- to be chilled then shipped back to Arkansas to be sold on Chenal.  This conversation helped me understand a grocery store's dilemma while building in me a greater passion for eating locally grown food.  I love the farmers markets!

I'd never eaten fresh currants before today.  The extensive produce section will *wow* you.
Rambutans.  What the heck?!
They also sell normal produce like potatoes and broccoli.

You'll find a bulk section that will give Whole Foods a run for their money.
Unsulfered no sugar papaya spears.  What is this world coming to?
Make your own peanut butter.  Or almond butter.
Sushi, thirty-five varieties made on site.  Everyone said it was wonderful.  I tried to like it.  I just don't like fish.  But if you like sushi, you would probably like the sushi from Kroger.
If sushi isn't on the menu for lunch (or dinner) maybe you'd like a made to order sandwich, which is a healthy alternative to a fast food restaurant.
I learned that "Boar's Head Natural" doesn't contain added nitrates or nitrites.  Did you know Boar's Head is in Arkansas?
Anyone felt like a "Chef on the Run?" I think that island of food will be helpful to a hurried mom in the future. 
Next stop?  Cheese shoppe.  
Yummy cheese.  It's so gouda.  Get it?  Good-uh?
Of the 85 varieties of cheese, I tried brie and this raw goat's cheese.  Delish.
Then we grazed at the anti-pastas and olive bar.
Oh, and then there were the sweets.  Man I had to practice self control not to go back for seconds!
Bread is baked daily.  The artisan breads are made in a different facility, flash frozen, shipped to Chenal, proofed, then baked.
There's a nifty bread slicing do-it-yourself machine.

From the bakery we went to the meat and seafood departments.  I didn't get a picture of the extensive seafood case, but they offer 30-35 varieties of seafood at any time.  

And the meat department was comprehensive as well.  But after watching Food, Inc. I stopped buying meat at a store.  My chicken and eggs come from Herman and my dad gives me beef.

There is so much more to see on Chenal.  If you're in the area, you really ought to stop by and take a look around.  Just stay on the outer perimeter of the store where you'll find real food.


In compliance with FTC guidelines, I must tell you that we were given a gift bag when we left.  Lisa and I did not have to blog about our Kroger tour, favorable or otherwise.

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