They kicked off their 1st year anniversary by having people line up at 7am to get 1 of 400 gift cards. I didn't know about it until just before 7 and I was too lazy to haul my butt down there that early so I didn't get there until later on in the morning. I decided to check it out because they are giving out ballots to win gift cards and they have all kinds of challenges going on all day. I tried to get in on the pizza making challenge but there were a lot of people so I didn't get picket to try my hand at making a tasty pizza. I didn't stick around to see who did win it though but I am sure the pizza was delicious.
I was thinking that every grocery store these days has a certain personality or vibe and they try to customize their environment and food to cater to certain demographics. Loblaws demographic is that of a foodie or food adventurer, like me, someone that likes to see new things at their grocery stores and takes into account that we live in a city of diversity and they strive to try and have products from all over the world and also have lots of unusual or convenient entertaining foods. Loblaws is the Global superstore of food.
Yesterday I went to Sobey's because I got a $25 gift card when I went to see Jamie Oliver at the Marilyn Dennis show. Sobey's isn't my main grocery store because there isn't one in my neighbourhood so I had to go to the one at Leaside and pick up some things to redeem my card. Even though I wasn't anywhere near my neighbourhood I still ran into a friend of mine who wasn't in his neighbourhood either. Funny how timing in life works. Anyway... like usual I didn't just spend $25 dollars worth of food and I did a little tour of the store to see what they had that was different than what other stores carry. Although I didn't buy anything unusual I did find it entertaining to see some things I have never seen before and what they focus on in their store. They had a large seafood section and a really big meat section. It seemed to me they focus on fresh products versus packaged products. But their Organic section can't compete with Loblaws or even Metro or the Mac daddy of Organic Whole Foods. I like to see grocery stores have a large choice of Organics because some things are better Organic and somethings you can get away with without spending the extra money. By following the Environmental Working Groups list of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen you can find out which ones to choose.
Sometimes Organic just tastes better, sometimes it's a crap shoot because Mother nature controls what the end product turns out to be like. I prefer to buy things like Apples Organic because they are really high on the pesticide list. The less toxins I shove into my body the better. Although I am not perfect and eat way too many things that aren't good for me I do feel like it all balances out when I can choose more better things than not.
Back to the Loblaws... the Carlton Location is a massive store with a huge Cheese Wall, a Sushi Bar, a Coffee/Tea Bar, a large Fresh take out food kind of almost buffet style counter. They also have a huge section of desserts with a huge counter of cupcakes and macarons. They must love the carbs in that store because the Bread section is also massive with lots of Ace Bakery gourmet selections.
They were making fresh Mozzarella while I was there. They have all kinds of exotic fruits and vegetables from around the world. Pretty much anything you need to cook a great meal is in this store. From Appetizer to Dessert.
I think this is going to be the trend in grocery stores of the future. Bigger, Better and full of everything you can think of.
This is only the second or 3rd time I have been to this location but what I like about it is that they are trying to do big events in the store. They had the Cake Boss Buddy Velastro in the store a couple of weeks ago and with this Anniversary they will have stuff going on all day and all week in the store. They have a full kitchen and have cooking classes in the store. Pretty much a one stop shop for Foodies. I just wish I lived in the neighbourhood and could make it my regular store. Although I bet I would be buying way too much food if it was nearby.
I would suggest that if you always go to the same grocery store break out of your grocery shopping box and go out of your way to a totally different store and area and do some food exploring and see what you can find that might interest you to make something different for a change. Pretend you are going to another country and being a tourist in your own city. Explore your city for new Ethnic foods and plan a theme night with friends and family. Have some fun with your food.
Food is Fuel but it can be Fun too.