My Blog on WCCO-TV: Bite of Minnesota

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cub Foods VIP Event & Giveaway!

Whew, what a week! Not only did I attend three major food events, but I managed to fit in a couple lunches, a gathering with like-minded women food bloggers, a Cub Foods VIP event, a celebration of the 1 year anniversary of Heavy Table (congrats!), and even purchased a bridesmaid dress for a summer wedding. I have so much to blog about and so many goodies I've collected to giveaway that I barely know where to start!

Let’s start really close to home with the Cub Foods VIP event. For those of you out-of-towners, Cub Foods is a grocery store owned by SuperValu, a Minnesota food distribution company. Awhile back I was contacted by Carmichael Lynch Spong, the PR company working with Cub, with an invite to a VIP Event hosted at my local Cub Foods. There were several reasons why I wanted to go:

  • Finally, an event in my own city – this is “my Cub”
  • I’ve been a bit dissatisfied with “my Cub” lately and figured I could voice my concerns
  • It offered an opportunity for a behind the scenes look at Cub
  • A lot of my blogger friends were going
Although I had many reasons to go, I also had many hesitations. Would this really be worth my time? Was this event geared towards mommy bloggers? Would any of my questions really be answered?

For the most part, all answers were yes. While it was obvious the event was geared towards moms due to the constant mom references and calling us all mommy bloggers, I successfully resisted shouting, “Hello, food blogger with no kids here!” Instead I tweeted it (hee hee).

We were treated to a tour and I have never seen the store so clean and expertly stocked. Surely this was because VIP’s were coming in;) We stopped at various sections to listen to presentations and try foods. Of course my favorite section was produce. Tom, the produce manager, taught us about exotic and fun fruits Cub offers like starfruit (yum!), kumquats, blood oranges and passion fruit (my favorite scent). But was he ready for my questions? Turns out, he knows his stuff. He’s been working with produce for about 20 years and loves it. So, I fired away:

Why is the Swiss chard completely wilted every time I visit?
Tom said they must have had a bad shipment. He then called the distributor and followed up with me at the end of the tour. For freshest kale, Swiss chard and other greens, come in early in the week.

Why is the passion fruit so shriveled?
Turns out a little dimpling isn’t so bad. It helps the fruit pull away from the outer shell and is easier to eat.

If you advertise selling local produce, where is it?
Of course this is easier to do in the summer months. Buying local at high volumes can be risky, but when it works out, the signs are labeled so you’ll know. Apples and corn are popular local items when in season.

Why don’t you consistently sell Equal Exchange (fair trade) bananas?
It is Cub's standard organic offering, but sometimes suppliers run low and to avoid not having organic bananas, Cub has established several partnerships.

Can you tell your stock people to not punch the spinach bags when stocking?
Ok, I didn’t really ask this one, but I wanted to.

Tom is responsible for simmering me down. I was incredibly impressed by his follow up and his eagerness to answer my questions and any others I may have in the future. While I will still rely on the co-op and farmers markets for most of my produce, I feel a lot better running to Cub when needed because my voice was heard.

Another thing that redeemed me? The awesome gift bag. I won’t lie; I’m a sucker for free stuff, especially free stuff that I will use. In an effort to spread the Cub Foods love, I’m doing a giveaway. While I can’t give away the perishable items I received, I can give away a gift card! 

I'm giving away a $20 gift card to Cub Foods!

It’s pretty simple to enter. Leave a comment about your favorite Cub Foods item. Maybe it’s something you sneak into the cart last minute, maybe it’s something that is always on your grocery list. Whatever it is, list it below and you’re entered to win!

*Each comment will be numbered and will be chosen using a random number generator.
*Make sure your name is attached to your comment so I can identify you.
*Contest ends at 11:59pm CST Sunday, February 28th and winner announced within 48 hours.
*Must be a resident of the United States and have a Cub Foods in your area.

31 comments:

  1. Let's see if fate will repay me!

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  2. Hmmm...I'm always buying staples there, like milk and cereal, which wouldn't qualify as favorites, but we do go through an awful lot of them. I like that they sometimes have white grapefruit. Often stores carry the ruby red, but not always the white, which I prefer.

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  3. I'll play :) I love the warm tortillas at the Lake Street Cub. I run home and put cheese on them and eat them from the bag. Then salt & bake some of the remaining for chips (good with black bean/salsa soup).

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  4. I am utterly addicted to clemantines. But the 5lb box is never as sweet as the 3lb bag. So I get two, every week. I now have a $10.00 a week clemantine habit. And a $20 a week bagged salad/spinach habit (and YES, they always poke holes in the spinach at my cub, too). In fact, I've got a $70 a week produce habit altogether although since that's most of what we buy, we're ok.

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  5. I've been waiting for your take on the event. I'm impressed that Tom followed up with you on the greens question. I learned a lot in his little presentation. He should do a whole class on how to buy produce.

    My new favorite Cub item is the 99 cent bakery bread. We had it today for lunch for the first time and it's really tasty and SO much cheaper than the prepackaged stuff.

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  6. I Think Cub is great, I think they have just as good of selection and nice of produce as Rainbow and even Kowolski's!! I LOVE me some free grocery money. :)

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  7. The bundled spinach is cheaper and since it's not in a bag you don't have to worry about holes. My favorite items are organic baby carrots and hummus. Yum!

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  8. I shop at Cub but only because it's on my way home. I find their regular prices to be far more than Super Target but I give them credit for having a great meat department.

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  9. I occasionally stop by the Cub in Burnsville because it's near my parents' house. I never leave without swinging through their natural section near the front (I wish every Cub had one of these!) and tossing a few fruit leathers in my cart. I love them!

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  10. now that i don't own a car and there is no cub in my neighborhood, i don't shop there (i used to, though! and would if you gave me free cub money!). i DO, however, get on the bus each year in january to go to the cub on silver lake road for their bulk cinnamon jelly hearts (my fave). one year i did a thorough search of cubs in the twin cities (limited by the bus routes, so it might be inaccurate) and found that cub to be the only one that carries them.

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  11. I am so jealous of your VIP event--I would LOVE to pick the brains of my local Cub as to why things are not stocked/fresh etc. How cool is that?!

    I shop at Cub every week and never leave without my kale :-) Even if it doesn't look that great/fresh, I buy it anyway and just eat it right away that day...I love kale!

    Courtney

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  12. I was hoping to hear about some of the events you attended soon!!
    I have honestly only been to Cub a few times, but I've heard they have a decent organic section - I've been wanting to check it out!

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  13. My Cub in Edina has a really good ethnic section. I really appreciate that. Love the Sambal Olek (is that how you spell it??

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  14. I like the wall of spices in the little bags with the green labels. If I want to buy a spice for a particular recipe, and don't know if I'll ever use the spice again, it's nice to be able to buy a small amount at a small price.

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  15. Crystal, great idea! We shop at our local St. Anthony Cub - not a lot of 'favs' (like one person put it, the staples mostly) but they keep food on our table! I do have to say they were SUPER nice when I had to exchange some bad steaks.

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  16. Crystal, as lame as it is...Cub Brand Milk is on our list of "favorites" because not only is it cheaper than all the other brand, for a generic brand it doesn't have weird after taste like the Roundy's or other cheap brands you can buy in a gas station or something....anyway, I know - lame. But for as much as we drink milk its good to enjoy the taste and price!

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  17. i like that they have a pretty good "international" section, at least for my suburban area. sometimes, you just need some fish sauce.

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  18. While it pains me to purchase any produce at any grocery store, for a good chunk of the year, it's necessary. However, for a few weeks each winter I am delighted by the smell of ripe, yummy grapefruits greeting me during my weekly, 7:30 am grocery runs. It's an irresistable smell and as I make my way down the rest of my list all I can think about is getting home and cutting into it.

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  19. I used to make special trips to Cub to pick up Parkers Farm natural peanut butter- oh so tasty!

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  20. thank you for posting the q&a about cub produce...great info!! my fav Cub "product" is the fairly nice cheese selection they have. Not bad for a large grocery store!

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  21. I love to buy their green beans when they are in season! They are always good to eat raw or sauteed with some butter and spices!

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  22. I love that I can get some of my allergen free stuff for my family at a pretty good price (Sunbutter, canned organic coconut milk, etc). I have even found the "fun shaped" gluten free pastas at Cub when they are never to be found elsewhere.

    However, it does bug me that it's the ONLY store in the area that I can't get a decent gluten free soy sauce at (don't tell me about LaChoy - yes, they do carry it and, no, I won't use it. call me picky!) They carry the brand I use for some other product, but not the gf soy sauce - grrrrr....

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  23. They have a great fruit section, I think. And, their homemade bread is pretty darn tasty too. :)

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  24. Not a regular Cub shopper, but I like that they have a whole section devoted to all the natural, organic products. As a fairly lazy mom who gets tired of conflict over "weird" foods, I love stocking up on the organic versions of kid faves like mac 'n' cheese.

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  25. I really like Cub's organic section! I used to utilize it much more a few months ago... before the budget got tighter, but I think the selection is pretty good.

    Also, one time I had a weird stalker like guy being weird around me and my kids in the store and I told the Customer Service and the manager walked around the store with me for the rest of my grocery list. I felt better and never had an easier time of fulfilling my list! :)

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  26. Obviously their spicy papadum since SOMEONE introduced me to it! : ) And the orange marmalade.

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  27. rachel grobe2/27/2010 3:32 PM

    Um I must say I like there organic section as well:) morningstar products!

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  28. Jill Radabaugh2/27/2010 8:20 PM

    Our favorite pharmacist, Bobbie, is at Woodbury Cub Foods!
    Aunt Jill

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  29. In terms of large grocery stores, they have a pretty decent selection of organics, so that's what keeps me coming back to Cub when I can't make it the co-op.

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  30. Jessie Newman

    I love the live (MN grown?) lettuce. It's tastier than any other lettuce I've purchased and has a great texture too.

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  31. Shelley Smith2/28/2010 3:21 PM

    The Spice Hunter's Mexican Seasoning, but I don't know if the Woodbury Cub store still carries it. I need some now, so we'll find out.

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