Yes, Cub Foods has had a small section of gluten-free foods for some time, but now it appears they’re focused on catering and marketing to our needs a little more with a new gluten-free program. It’s an okay start …but they could do way better.
Cub Foods’ Gluten-Free Program
A news release published on Marketwatch.com, headlines: Cub Foods Introduces Program to Make it Easier for Customers to Live Gluten Free. The company has launched a new gluten-free program that it says will help those looking for gluten-free foods. The news release says, the program, “will provide signage and special merchandising sets in select stores to help make it easier for customers to find gluten-free products” AHHHHHHH It’s almost like someone was listening when I posted my Rant: Where is Gluten-Free in the Grocery Store last July 10th. The gist of my complaint: how is anyone supposed to find any gluten free products at Cub? There appears to be no rhyme or reason as to their placement throughout the store.
I was just there a few days ago and didn’t see anything new or related to this program, but according to Communications Manager Lilia Rodriguez, I should see the change now. The program “….should be at every Cub store (as of this week).” I did ask Rodriguez the question about whether products would be spaced out around the store with the signage, or if this is a new sign for the health food section? She recommended I check out the customer service department and pick up a gluten-free product list — which is also new and part of this program.
Mission: Testing out the Gluten-Free Program at Cub
So I set out on a quick trip to Cub — because I needed milk anyway.
Cub Foods’ gluten-free section is better than 10 years ago when I first started shopping gluten-free. Since about 2008, more gluten-free foods have been popping up in Cub Foods (in part thanks to General Mills), but as my aforementioned rant stated, I believe it is a challenge to find gluten-free products if you are unfamiliar with the strore. The gluten-free noodles are in the health food section, but the Betty Crocker GF baking mixes are in the baking aisle…what?
So– just moments ago I returned from my quick mission to Cub — here’s my review:
First off, customer service people knew exactly where the new “Gluten Free Food Finder” list was. That’s great! Problem is, in many cases this food finder — is not helping me find the food. Case in point: The Bakery & Bread Section: It lists Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cake mixes (which I know are in the baking aisle) and Arrowhead Mills and Bob’s Red Mill baking mixes (which I know are in the gluten-free health food section). But nowhere on this does it detail which aisle they’re located for people who DON’T know. Also, the Schar Classic White Rolls — they’re in the health food section, not the bread section like a new person would probably think.
Tip: Anyone who needs a gluten-free food finder — needs help in physically finding the food.
Also, this list is bare bones at best. There is no listing on there for gluten-free pasta. How disheartened would you be coming into a store for the first time after a celiac diagnosis, getting the list, only to find that there’s no gluten free pasta. But in reality they carry 3-4 different brands as it is (by the way, please bring back my Tinkyada pasta — the shelf’s been bare for 2-3 weeks).
And as for the cool new sign they added, it’s located in the health food section. It replaces a small wooden sign that also said “Gluten-Free”.
I really don’t want to be hard on my neighborhood grocery store, and yes, I’m thankful they carry some good gluten-free items. But it’s disappointing to me because I feel like this could be so much better and user-friendly. It’s the largest chain of grocery stores in the state, and is also in Wisconsin and Illinois, plus it is owned by SuperValu (like Albertson’s) so it has the big company behind it — supporting the mission. So my rant is still the same — hopefully some day it will be quieted and I have high hopes that it will.
I did ask Cub Foods for a response to my questions about the small list and the lack of explanation as to where the products are. UPDATE: I received an email with a link to their website. I looked at the Cub website a few days ago when I wrote this post and didn’t see the gluten-free list (but it was on the Albertson’s page). Either way, it is up now and you can go to it here.