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Posts Tagged ‘Albertsons’

Better Living Brands Review (In-house Safeway, Albertsons, et al)

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Better Living Brands Review I used to be SUCH a brand snob.  I wouldn’t even consider buying a store brand. And I’m old enough to remember when “generic” products first started showing up in store – do you?  Black and white boxes with plain block lettering?

Today’s “generic” (store) brands are considerably different and often made by the large brand name manufacturers, or at least by the same contract plants they use.

Better Living Brands is one of the in-house lines for Safeway, which is part of Albertsons, which is part of SuperValu. Other house brands at these stores include Signature Farms, Kitchen, Select, and Cafe’ Lucerne Dairy; and Refreshe. At WalMart, you’ll see a lot of products under the “Great Value” label. And Aldi creates their own brands for almost every product in the store, with some shelf/cooler space left for the local brand name products.

There have been an awful lot of grocery mergers and sell-offs lately, it’s hard to tell which brand is where, but all of these are mostly owned by Cerberus Capital, a private equity firm. Some of the grocery brands under management in this umbrella holding include Acme, Lucky, Jewel, Jewel-Osco, Savon, Sessels, Brunos, Buttrey, Smithys, Shaws, bristol Farms, Sav a Lot, Cub Foods, Hornbachers, Shop n Save, Rainbow, Country Market, Food Lion and others.  Among other investments, Cereberus have under management are Staples Office Supply, Avon products for women, and many others.

Knowing that most of the store products are manufactured by the largest manufacturers and processors, you can count on their quality, and more and more, you’ll find the store brand products on the shelf right next to the major brand names. The big difference is going to be price, and often you’ll find it to be substantial – 30%, 40%.

Bottom line, I’m no longer a brand snob. I am now  a value buyer.

I was motivated to write this piece by purchasing Better Living Brands Manzanilla Green Olives yesterday at my local Jewel Osco, a store I rarely go to even though it is the closest grocery. Prices are just too  high compared to other local markets. The olives are a product from Spain and they are perfect. And half price.

Better Living Brands Review

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Culinary Circle Flatbread Crust 3 Meat Pizza

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Culinary Circle is a private label brand from manufacturer Richelieu Foods.  Products are marketed in a large variety of grocery chains, including Super Valu, Albertsons, Cub, and Shaws.

Richelieu dates back to 1862, and for the first 100 years or so, was primarily known as a packager of salad dressings and sauces.  Diversification came with the influx of new capital from a sale to private equity.

Their frozen pizzas are manufactured in plants in Wisconsin and Ohio, for nationwide distribution.  Richelieu was named “Pizza Manufacturer of the Year” in 2006

The flatbread crust pizza comes shrink wrapped on a cardboard round inside a box for display.   Toppings include a blend of cheeses (Parmesan, Romano, and fontina) , capicola ham, Italian sausage, and salami.

For my personal palate, I added sliced green olives.

This is a conventional oven affair, 400 for 16-20 minutes.   I’m not sure what “flatbread” refers to these days, there are so many products which use it as a descriptor.  In the case of this pizza, its a square pie, which a slightly thicker crust than is what is generally offered as “thin crust” pizzas.  In other words, for the frozen pizza industry, I would call this a fairly standard thickness.

The sauce is slightly sweeter.  Toppings are adequate. Overall, to me, the flavor and texture is slightly better than the average “value brand” frozen pie, like Tony’s or Totino’s.

It’s an “OK” product and a relatively good value when priced right.

Below are pix of the unbaked pie, and the finished from the oven pizza.

Culinary Circle Flatbread Frozen Pizza

Culinary Circle Flatbread Frozen Pizza

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