Friday, June 15, 2012

Essential Everyday food brand

Chef Antonia Lofaso
On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to attend an event in NYC for SUPERVALU's new Essential Everyday private label food brand. The event featured food demonstrations for every season from chef Antonia Lofaso, who you might recognize from Top Chef. We also got to taste a lot of really delicious food, most of it made with Essential Everyday products. 

I wasn't familiar with SUPERVALU before this, so you might not be either. Here's some background on the company. SUPERVALU is a grocery company serving U.S. customers through a network of more than 4,300 stores. It has a variety of private label brands, including the new Everyday Essentials brand, designed to offer great quality food at a great value. The brand launched last year with 1200 items in 40 categories and will expand into an additional 1500 items through 2013. Essential Everyday products include the most important home goods and grocery categories that families rely on every day, such as cereal, dairy, bread, canned goods, frozen foods, pasta, sauces, condiments, salad dressings, and snacks.

clockwise from top: sweet potato-wrapped turkey cutlet,
salad, crispy cauliflower with parmesan, pumpkin cheesecake

The event was really well-done with a great set-up and delicious food. Chef Lofaso was funny and a great demonstrator, but I guess that's why she's the professional chef! And did I mention that the food was fabulous? My favorites were the Watermelon Mint Spritzer, Crispy Cauliflower with Parmesan, Pumpkin Cheesecake on the Lighter Side, The Best Blueberry Muffins, Maple Apple Sausage Patties, Italian Green Bean Pasta Salad, and the Caramel Almond Popcorn.

Some of these recipes are in Lofaso's upcoming cookbook, The Busy Mom's Cookbook, of which I received a free (signed!) advanced copy. The cookbook doesn't come out until August, so you'll have to wait until then to get your own copy. Looking through the cookbook, everything looks really good and easy. Lofaso said that none of the recipes are meant to take longer than 30 minutes. Even though I'm not a mom, both my husband and I have full-time jobs and not a lot of time to cook during the week. So anything that takes 30 minutes or less to make is alright by me. And I don't think that it will be that hard to turn most of the recipes gluten-free. For the Crispy Cauliflower, I can just substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour for the regular all-purpose flour.

At the end of the event, we were all given a reusable shopping bag and allowed to "shop" the Essential Everyday products. As I was going through all the products, I took the time to glance at the back of the packaging. For the Dijon mustard and the grated Parmesan cheese, the labels actually say "gluten-free"!! I also received a sample of liquid water flavor and the label for that says "gluten-free", too! I had to stop one of the SUPERVALU executives to let her know that I appreciate the company taking the time to label its products because it really does make it so much easier for those of us looking for gluten-free food. I understand that not every product in the Essential Everyday line is going to be gluten-free, but for something that could be free of gluten, like the mustard, it's nice to know that I don't have to just guess whether or not it's okay for my husband to consume.

Unfortunately, none of SUPERVALU's grocery stores are in my area, so I can't purchase these items on a regular basis. What about the rest of you? Do you shop at Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh Supermarkets, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save, or ShoppersFood & Pharmacy? Have you seen the Essential Everyday products and tried them? What do you think?



2 comments:

  1. I agree the label is nice, but they do say that for some of the EE line they can't promise that they're free of cross-contamination. So, makes me nervous on the line entirely.

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  2. A month or so ago my husband brought home 4 cans of EE garbanzo beans. I couldn't find anywhere on the label that said where they were grown so I called the number on the label. The girl who answered told me that someone would call me back in a day or two with that info. Today I got a call from someone there who told me that the beans were grown and "manufactured here. I asked if she meant grown and processed here and and in a pretty snotty tone she said, No, they are grown and MANUFACTURED here. I asked her how they manufactured beans and what did they use to do so. I also asked if they were GMO's. She said that no they don't ever use GMO's and that thew beans were grown and processed here. I thanked her and hung up after thanking her and saying that that kind of news would surely keep me buying the beans. Of course that was as big a lie as I bellieve she told me. If what she told me were true there would be a big banner across the label just like the other copanies put on their's. I'll never buy that brand again.

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