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WalMart - Yays and Nays

Yays
King Arthur flour - great selection, low price
Golden Star jasmine rice
Vinegar - malt, red wine, rice
Kashi TLC crunchy granola bars - great price, I'm a fan of the pumpkin spice flax flavor
Natures Valley granola bars - great prices for all varieties

Nays
Sam's choice salsa - typical generic salsa, tastes artificially thick (my ideal mass-market salsa is Pace)
Great Value plain yogurt - this was just too thin and still tasted like artificial thickeners

What good or bad items have you found at WalMart?

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  1. nays:

    produce dept.
    meat dept.

    yays:

    canned goods
    milk
    frozen crab legs
    beer
    tequila

    hit and miss:

    deli counter

    1. Good:
      Sam's choice roasted and salted nuts - great value, fine product
      Sam's choice peanut butter pretzel nuggets
      Sam's choice dried fruits
      Produce: mostly higher quality than local supermarket, much cheaper. Best are the produce items used in mexican cooking: cheap, extremely fresh cilantro, scallions, chilies, tomatillos, and the seasonal produce.
      Since there is a sizeable hispanic polulation where I live, the local Walmart has a great selection of ingredients aimed at that market, such as tortillas, dried chiles and other condiments, rice, dried beans, etc. that I either can't find at the supermarket, or costs a lot more in much smaller quantities.
      Pretty much all the national brand packaged, canned and jarred goods are cheaper at Walmart than at the supermarket. Cereals, condiments, soups, spices, baking supplies, and so forth.
      Bad:
      Meat - all fresh meats have added water/sodium/broth solutions (they say their customers prefer that!)
      Sam's choice cheeses
      Sam's choice heavy duty plastic wrap and aluminum foils- stick with national brands!
      Ice cream - even national brands like Breyers seem to be tweaked with ingredients that are not found in the brand sold at other stores

      1 Reply
      1. re: janniecooks

        I agree with you on the produce. When I was in New England this summer, we went Walmart for some things on the way to the supermarket to buy fruits & veggies. The stuff at Walmart was so cheap and lookd great, so we skipped the regular supermarket.
        We bought:
        -potatoes
        -onions
        -cilantro
        -avocado
        -bell peppers
        -lettuce
        -grape tomatoes
        -strawberries
        -apples

        Their name brand groceries were really cheap too.. Splenda for Baking was considerably cheaper than Market Basket.. and so were the canned chickpeas

      2. I like the Walmart brand trail mixes. I was impressed...plenty of large chunks of papaya and macadamia nuts in the tropical mix.

        1. Yays:
          Great Value Crinkle Cut French Fries (frozen) - Unlike the big national brands, these actually taste like ...potatoes!

          Huge (half-gallon?) glass jar of Vlasic pickles for $2.97. The empty jar is worth that much!

          1. I buy their certified fair trade coffee on a regular basis. It's about $5 for 12oz.

            1 Reply
            1. Yay : Good looking green bell peppers for .98 cents a pound. Wegman's had them for $1.99 pound

              Nay: Very poor, wilted leeks. Had to go to Wegman's.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rochfood

                I worked at a Wal Mart Distribution Center right out of college and I will never ever eat the meat from Walmart.

                1. re: LaLa

                  Was this back when Wal-Mart still had butchers and cut their own meat? I worked at a DC too and now all of their meat comes prepackaged straight from the suppliers.

                  I like Wal-Mart's gizzards in their deli. They're not as good as when you fry them at home but for around $2 a pound it's worth it.

              2. Yays
                - Free recipe cards
                The recipes are simple to make, often healthy and good. They don't go out of their way to shill their own products. I have a collection of about 200 currently. Nice recipe for roasted garlic collard hash, Mexocan eggplant parmesan, pesto spiced nuts. papaya shortcake, honey orange sweet potatoes, etc

                - Oatmeal
                Whatever the Walmart brand is called tastes just as good as Quaker and is half the price. For my local market the large oatmeal is $2.12 .Quaker is currently selling for $4.99.

                - Produce
                As compared to supermarkets like Safeway ... not the farmers market or local small Mexican markets. The quality is good. The prices are much lower

                - Walmarts version of 2 buck chuck
                I'm forgetting the name,but it is no better or worse than TJ's cheap wines

                - Sushi
                Who would have thought. The sushi counter at a super walmart is up to what is sold at other supermarkets with lower prices

                NAYS

                - Fresh fish. Ok, I've never tried it but the counter just smells too fishy and it doesn't look great

                UNDECIDED

                - In-house baked goods
                What turns me off is the ingrediant list which has a lot of junk. However it is probably no worse than what Safeway puts out and there is a better varietly. The hot dog buns weren't bad. I like that they make challah on Fridays.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rworange

                  I have tried using the WalMart fresh fish a couple of times and have been disappointed.

                  OTOH, some of the in-store bakery produced breads are better than you'll get at many bakeries.

                  Actually the manager of the bakery was hired from a local bakery. She moved to WalMart as the company paid her $3/ hour more than the local place and provided her with medical insurance which she did not get after 15 years with her prior employer.

                2. Ths closest Super Wal-Mart isn't close enough to me to be my go to place, but this morning I made a special trip and was frankly amazed (although I have heard that overall food prices had come down slightly). I always do a mental tally as I shop of what I think (hope) my total will be at check out. Based on what I was buying, I had a guess of $150. When I got thru and was told it was $112, I couldn't help but smile. I did not buy any meat or produce. But just staples like cereal, milk, soup, pasta, cheese. Much, much cheaper than I pay at my local Harris teeter. Worth the trip I guess. Slightly depressing.

                  1. My wife got me on the Wal-Mart bandwagon years ago, when we were still dating. I used to be too disgusted to shop at a place where you can get your oil changed, buy an ottoman, and pick up a hot dinner. Now, I'm used to it, and when kids are a factor, the place can be incredibly convenient. Yesterday, we picked up some great looking grapefruit-size pomegranate for $1.88 ea, a pack of organic dried figs for $2.23 (IIRC), some locally made frozen sweet italian sausage for about $3.00/lb (tastes better than our Italian import stores' sausage with no question), and a six pack of Great Lakes Christmas ale for $7.99 ($1-$2 cheaper than elsewhere). We even bought a toy helicopter for the little one for $3, which was impossible to find elsewhere, and she absolutely loves because it looks exactly like a real helicopter she sees every day. The toy was made in the U.S. BTW, which really surprised me

                    I like that they carry lots of local products, like the Italian sausage and our favorite bakery bread (Nortia's), have great prices, and carry many organic products. The turn over is very good, even on specialty foods.

                    There are negatives, of course.Wal-Mart takes business away from local grocery/specialty stores (many have closed in the area), the check-out lines are almost always long, and you have to evaluate the prices on products very carefully (don't trust the per unit price given on the shelf tag), since their prices can sometimes be way too high. I still frequent local stores, but the price and convenience of Wal-Mart is very hard to beat.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: madgreek

                      There are a few things you just have to go to Walmart for. Me, it's Mazzetta Calamata olives. 9 oz jar cheaper than the 4 oz in the supermarkets. Pork Rinds, most supermarkets ignore them.
                      I wish they would not sell beef, as they promote the killing of flavor in beef. But, hey, nothing is perfect.
                      The effect on local supermarkets was to keep their prices down. The effect on corner grocers, none. The ones that have survived the supermarkets, and there are a few, found a niche. That didn't change when Walmart came to town.
                      You want to buy sausage that the guy selling it to you can tell you what he put in it? Corner market. Want a steak cut to order? Corner market. Get a Hanger steak at Walmart. Don't think so. Those willing to work hard to provide customer service, build loyalty, give you top quality, they have and will survive.
                      I would never buy a pizza at Walmart. Even though it's 6.00 for a pie the size of Guam. It's not that far to Angelo's, and the extra money is very well spent.

                    2. I find there is huge variance from WalMart to WalMart. I fortunately have around half a dozen Super WalMarts within easy driving distance that range from upscale to not-so-upscale. If I want my favorite ramen, I have to go to the upscale store. LOL! "Upscale ramen." Isn't that an oxymoron?

                      I love what WalMart does in their pharmacies to make generic drugs available to EVERYONE at minimal cost! I can rarely use a generic, but it's really good to know that, thanks to WalMart, a lot of people who were forced to go without prescription drugs because of their income limitations can now afford them. WalMart set the trend and others have followed. That's good. WalMart also goes a few extra miles to ensure that no couterfit drugs reach their pharmacies. They buy from manufacturers exclusively. No "middle man", no opportunity for switches!

                      I also appreciate that the WalMarts where I shop have every competitor's sales ads posted in their lobby as you go in, and if anyone is offering anything cheaper than they are, tell the cashier at check-out and you get that price.

                      They have an impeccable "no argument" return policy. Love it! Target's return policy is why I won't shop there. Target charged me a restocking fee and refused to refund in cash (store gift card) even though I had their register receipt for the filing cabinet I was returning because of missing parts! Have not set foot in a Target since.

                      Cons: So how come they don't put more cashiers on duty when the lines are backing up? If you use the self-check-out lanes, who do you tell you want the Albertson's sales price?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Do any of these places around you have a Pollo Campero franchise? Have you tried their fried chicken? There have been mixed posts on them here, I think we discussed Walmart's picking them up for their stores before. I just want one up here as an alternative to KFC - of course, I'd prefer Popeye's but they pulled out of this area years ago.

                        They don't put more cashiers on because they have none on duty - costs too much. But they usually have the one very busy person managing all the self check-outs - you just have to get their attention.

                        I wonder if some of this store to store variance is because of local sourcing. Like these Born Free eggs that are cheap at the Walmart but carry super-high prices in the grocery chains. I know that they come from Maine - they obviously made a special deal with these people - but I wonder if that's just for local stores. I doubt that they're selling Maine eggs in Texas. If these guys are so good at negotiating with local sources, maybe they can teach Whole Paycheck a thing or two about locavoring. Why do you have to be a millionaire to support local business?

                        1. re: applehome

                          If there are any Pollo Campero around, I don't know of them. Most WalMarts in my area have McDonald's in their lobby, but some don't have any fast food beyond what you can find at the WalMart deli counter inside the store. I'm not much of a chicken fan, but the WalMart deli counters do offer a variety of cooked chicken products ranging from rotisserie chicken to various sauced chicken wings and "chicken bites" that come with a dipping sauce of some sort. By the time I;m through with turkey tomorrow, I will be in a foul mood regarding fowl for months to come!

                          I've mentioned in other threads that two new "farmer's markets" have opened near me in the last three weeks. One is a new "Sprout;s" in Murphy, which is a quick trip up the road and a right turn at South Fork Ranch and on to the market. The other one is a western chain called "Sunflower Farmer's Market" that opened about 11 days ago here in Plano. This is their first Texas store, soon to be followed by two more. Their motto is, "Serious food, silly prices." They're made a believer out of me. I got a delicious free range turkey for $1.37a pound (I know it's delicious because I made stock with the wings, then ate the wings for dinner <g>), and picked up fresh organic sage, thyme, and rosemary for the stuffing/dressing for ninety nine cents a one ounce package. Turned out to be lemon sage, and the rosemary is the most fragrant I've had in years!

                          Actually, I have to share a little story. I did NOT pay $1.37 a pound for the turkey. As I said, the store has only been open 11 days, and at check out I handed the checker my credit card. By accident she hit cash, and I don't carry cash. She couldn't figure out how to change it, so she called the manager. He couldn't figure out how to change it, so he just handed me the receipt with his compliments and thanked me for shopping with them. Hey, I won the turkey lottery! Based on all of the western states they are doing well in, I think they have found a strong niche that isn't threatened by WalMart. Many of their organic prices are cheaper than WalMart's non-organic. I'm one happy camper!

                      2. Folks, we'd ask that you keep this discussion focused on the chow available at WalMart, rather than labour practices or the services in their other departments.

                        1. We don't have a Super WalMart in our area, but I wanted to ask those of you who do: did you happen to see LaDorna milk/cheese/sour cream in their dairy aisle? LaDorna is a Romanian dairy producer, recently acquired by a larger French company - the decision to export organic dairy products to the US via WalMart has been quite controversial, and I was curious to see whether it actually panned out. From a food-quality standpoint, all the LaDorna products that I've tried have been delicious, especially their milk and cream cheese.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jeni1002

                            The Super WalMarts where I shop carry Horizon organic dairy products, which doesn't mean they may not have more than one organic brand and I just haven't noticed. They do tend to searate brand names with Great Value products. I would think it''s more likely there is a specific test market where they['re trying it. But it does seem to me that importing something as perishable as milk all the way from Romania is high risk and expensive. Are there any WalMart stores actually in Romania? That would make sense.

                            1. re: Caroline1

                              Nope, no WalMart in Romania (yet). Everything is super-ultra pasteurized, including the milk, so I assume it'll survive the transport (the cost is another ball game :) I used to see Parmalat milk cartons in my local grocery store, imported from Italy, and many grocery chains in Romania carried soy milk from Australia (!).... Happy Thanksgiving :)

                          2. the wally worlds in my area (Kansas City, MO) have a great hispanic food section as others have mentioned. Lots of sauces, cremas, rubs, dried chilis, and sodas.
                            Canned goods, frozen entrees, peanut butter, and juice/sodas are always a staple.

                            1. unfortunatley we don't have the big supemarket one here in Cental NJ, but they do have about 6 isles of frozen food and other staples bread/canned goods ect..

                              What I find I go for is the cereal, they have way cheaper prices then the supermarkets, and there version of pop tarts are cheaper, and the kids don't know the difference.
                              And some of there frozen foods are cheaper the the local supermarket.

                              But cereal is a big one for me with 2 little ones, who demand brand names along with hubby.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Rae2

                                Save the brand name boxes and refill them with generic look-alikes. Then buy yourself a present with the savings. Moms don't get nearly enough presents!

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  My mother used to do this all the time! Eventually we all caught on but didn't complain b/c the generic stuff was just as good.

                                  I think she tried it with orange juice too.