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Jan 1, 2007 10:25 PM

Safeway "organics"

I don't know if this is a general topic, but I'm thoroughly annoyed . . . I occasionally use canned garbanzos and canned black beans for cooking. We don't use much processed or canned food, and I'm a crazed label reader, but with beans, convenience wins. But you have to be careful . . . It's a pain to find a brand that doesn't can beans with sugar (they all add salt, but you can rinse them.)

I generally rely on Trader Joe's, and there are also a couple of small brands that are OK. I came across Safeway organic brand ("O") on sale, so I figured why not . . . you wouldn't think there'd be much variation, once you get past the sugar problem. Was I ever wrong!!! Safeway organic canned garbanzos and black beans are disgusting!!! They're weird, mushy, and totally tasteless. Totally. It's hard to imagine anything called food could be so devoid of flavor. And the garbanzos are small and a funny kind of off color.

I wonder if all their "O" products are so inferior (the Select brand has some good products, like the wheat crackers). Maybe I'm the only one who cares, but these beans were so gross I had to say so.

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  1. As is true with most store labeled products, they are made by others, and sold to Safeway for labeling with the "O" brand.

    So, different makers supply the different products of the brand, not one company supplying the array. Could be that the makers of the beans for "O" just aren't very good. I've never bought the beans. I like the cereals, however.

    I'll bet that somewhere you'll find those exact beans under their "original" label, and you'll know to avoid that maker.

    1. Wow. Those are some blunt comments to make about a brand when you have only sampled a few cans of beans. My partner and I are also obsessive lable readers and go organic anywhere we can. We love Safeway's O brand. We have used their beans as well as many other products. Aside from a rumar that the O brand milk comes from Aurora (a company like Horizon who is trying to lower the organic standards), we have not noticed a difference in taste in any of their products. It might be benifitial to try several of the products before asuming or wondering if they are all as bad as your one experience with the beans.

      1. I just bought some of the O extra virgin olive oil but haven't tried it yet. I'm not really worried about it. I would suspect that if you're so unhappy with the beans, Safeway would be happy to give you your money back. As Meg says, I don't think you can translate a can of beans into complete disaster with the products.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Den

          It might be making a mountain out of a can of beans, but since it's a completely straightforward product you'd think it would be next to impossible to screw up or adulterate it, which makes you wonder what they're calling organic. I'm very impressed with a number of Select products and I know they'd give me my money back . . . they're quite customer service oriented at least around here.

          1. re: Judith

            Just because something is "organic" doesn't mean it's high-quality or that it tastes good - or even acceptable. On the other hand, I buy lots of things from local producers that are fabulous but they don't qualify for organic certification for one reason or the other. Sometimes they farmers just don't want to deal with the paperwork.
            Could have been a bad run of beans. Or maybe O beans aren't a good brand to buy. Generally I've been pretty pleased with the O organic stuff.

            1. re: MakingSense

              Judith, you and Making Sense are both spot on. Safeway sells you an organic product, one among many from many suppliers. "Organic" does not mean "tastes good". That you have to decide. Don't buy more of their stuff.

              And a question; I agree that garbanzos are a pain; and I buy them canned. But beans? So easy... Can you explain?

              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                I prefer cooking dried beans when I need a large batch, but I just buy canned beans if I just need a little bit.

                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                  I use small amounts of beans for all kinds of things . . . I add them to rice or vegetable mixes or salads for a little variety of flavor and color. I sometimes use them for a quick way to turn leftovers into chili. When I get home at the end of the day and I start dinner, it's often a question of what's on hand and what's my inclination. Under those circumstances, there's really no time or any very good reason to start cooking beans from scratch.

          2. I am not a big fan of Safeway, so when I say their O sweet butter is excellent - some of the best I've tasted - that's saying a lot. Their house brand, Lucerne, is totally tasteless to me, so there's a distinct difference here.

            On the other hand, I was not impressed with the O strawberry jam: too sweet, too thick, too gummy.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jdub1371

              they must have a good dairy supplier because their O yogurt is above average as well.

            2. Just tried the O-Organics boxed field greens mix, yes boxed, not bagged. It comes in a plastic box about the size of very large shoe box and is packed full of fresh, clean greens. It costs $4.79 for 16 ounces available at their Southern California stores, which beats 10 ounces of Fresh Express for $3.49, or 7 ounces of Ready Pac for $3.49.