I do love pleasant surprises when it comes to gluten-free goodies at the grocery store. And Sunday was definitely one of those days!
Let me take you back to the fall of 2010. When I blogged about the SuperValu gluten-free program and how it affected my local Cub Foods store (owned by Super Valu) I wasn’t 100% positive about it. I felt it needed some work. Not long after I had a conversation with the manager of my local Cub Foods about the comments I made in my blog post (yes, an email to the company worked!!). I mentioned to him my concerns that the handout they had didn’t provide enough information and that the list was incomplete. Essentially, how was anyone supposed to find any of these products?
Cub Foods’ Gluten Free Section
Well Sunday when I was there, I saw a change. I went to the health food section where most of the marketed gluten-free products used to reside only to see all kinds of non-gluten-free products there. Then I saw the sign (see picture at right).
“Attention Customers: You may now find our newly expanded gluten free set in Aisle 10”
That absolutely caught the attention of this customer.
So we made our way to Aisle 10…which aisle is that and how big will it be??? I couldn’t wait to find out. What I saw was simply put…lovely. More effort than I have ever seen them do. Six rows high, packed with food over a few sections in the aisle. We found several things my daughter hadn’t seen there before.
Now, for the most part, employees can guide shoppers to Aisle 10 to find most of the gluten free necessities. That’s awesome!
Constructive Criticism on the Gluten Free Section
I did have a few small issues however.
First off, I found out what Aisle 1o is—the BAKING section. Yup, the expanded gluten free section is in the baking aisle. I feel a wee bit of a “twisting of the knife” for gluten-free folks to have their section housed in the aisle of things they can’t have. But maybe I’m too sensitive. And to be honest, if they’re trying to house it in the main part of the store, I am not sure where they’d put it where it’s not around gluteny stuff.
Secondly, does it seem weird that this gluten free section is literally 5-10 feet from the Gluten Free Bisquick and Betty Crocker gluten-free baking mixes — and yet, they’re not housed in the gluten-free section?
Thirdly, you will need to know to get your gluten-free freezer items in the health food frozen section.
And lastly, I am happy to say they have restocked the Tinkyada Brown Rice Noodles (see my small rant from the above linked post), but they too are not in the gluten-free section, but instead in some random soup and rice section of the health food area.
But overall, this is way better than it was just three months ago. Thank you for taking the time to improve the gluten-free plan in your store!
Tip: Newly diagnosed folks should check with the customer service counter to gather the gluten-free listing (and info on the gluten-free initiative). There are many additional gluten-free items in the store that may not be on the list, so the gluten-free section is a great place to start, but consider eventually expanding throughout the store to find additional products.