While we were busy making all those cookies, I put out a tray of savory snacks to try to counter the sugar rush. Most of these were courtesy of President’s Choice, as they sent out a basket of some of their newest products just in time for the holidays.
And I’ve gotta say, most of the items were really good (I could really take or leave the “assortment of crackers for cheese”). The Fig and Olive Tapenade was a hit, as were the caramels with dark chocolate and sea salt.
Neil really likes the Lingonberry sauce (great on plain yogurt, and I’m super impressed that the first ingredient is actually Lingonberries, there aren’t more than 5 ingredients on the lablel, and I can pronounce all of them. The “Memories of Fuji 3-Mushroom Sauce” is awesome on pasta, with a little ricotta cheese melted in.
In fact, I’ve had a ton of positive experience with the entire PC Line of products lately. I was at a holiday party the other weekend, and the host had prepared the PC Swedish Meatballs with the “Memories of Damascus Tangy Pomegranate Sauce” and they were entirely addictive.
The other month I used the PC Organics cake mixes to make Neil’s birthday cupcakes, and they were so moist and fluffy, nobody believed it was cake out of a box.
Problem is, obtaining PC products (at least in my corner of the country) requires a trip to one of those wretched Real Canadian Superstores. That place is positively hell on earth for me.
A gigantic warehouse, decorated in migraine-inducing yellow, full of people who look like they would rather be doing anything but grocery shopping. Dragging around 17 ill-behaved children in the SUV-sized cart, piling it sky-high. Not with PC products or the local produce that the commercials advertise, but with the four cases of pizza pops, 12 bags of Doritos and flats of soda that are all on sale.
And speaking of that local produce, I was so impressed with the commercials and new products that I went to a Superstore recently, and was instantly confronted with the horror scenes of yesteryear I remembered. Stacks of sketchy looking fruits and vegetables, most of them from who-knows-where, next to other bins that are totally empty and picked over, in a dirty area of the store with produce detrius all over the floors and the unpleasant odour of rotten cabbage hovering over it all.
There was very little produce I’d considering purchasing there, and I didn’t see a single piece of local or organic meat (which is what we try to buy the majority of the time).
It’s depressing. And annoying. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to go out of my way, and subject myself to all that for a jar of tapenade and a box of cake mix. No thank you.
But it would be so, so awesome if Loblaws branched out into the mid-upscale market. Similarly to how the Overwaitea chain has everything from Price Smart up to Urban Fare – Loblaws is just missing the PC Market and Bistro, where I can pick up some of the PC Products, and my healthy looking local produce, and maybe a good looking salad or sandwich from the deli (instead of some grey-looking mystery meat masquerading as roast beef that went bad in 3 days).
And yes, Loblaws people, I’d be willing to pay more for products if I’m getting a better experience with them. Take a page from Harley Davidson’s marketing plan: the experience drives everything.
But until then, I’ve got Urban Fare, Marketplace IGA and Whole Foods all much closer to where I live, work and play, all with their own specialty products. Are they as good? Maybe not always, but that’s such a small part of the equation, and a big thing Loblaws is missing.