HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


President's Choice Black Label

Article in today's Star about the launch of Loblaws new high end 'gourmet' product line.


Some products do have preservatives, sigh, but there certainly are some interesting items on offer.

The full list is below (found it via Google, before someone at PC complains they got scooped




  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. They should have called them Memories of Pusateri's.

    9 Replies
    1. re: DUH CAR

      More like Memories of Trader Joe's -- the "Insiders Report" is a blatant ripoff of the "Fearless Flyer"....

      1. re: TexSquared

        The Insider's Report was started 28 years ago and at the time the president, Dave Nichol, attributed and acknowledged Trader Joe as the inspiration. I think they have paid their dues.

        1. re: jayt90

          They could have been a little more creative with the name---isn't "Black Label" already taken?

          1. re: Brain of J

            That they "think" they actually "thought" this one up is disturbing but consistent with Westonette's reign of error.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              LIke or dislike PC - the name Black Label is a sure-fire marketing phrase that is no longer exclusive to any one item in North America. It is like saying the Platinum line or something to that effect. One immediately knows it is the deluxe version and that is precisely the easiest (least expensive) route to take. Through Labbatt, Johnnie Walker, Ralph Lauren, AMEX, etc, people know Black and Black Label as being most premium.

              Personally I think it is a great idea as it follows every other industry. When your premium line becomes ubiquitous, one shouldn't "fix" what isnt broken. Instead one has the opportunity to grow a new line with an even higher cache.

        2. re: TexSquared

          Not exactly....

          Dave Nichol actually bought the Insider's Report from Trader Joe's, who then changed the name of their publication. The President's Choice line was "inspired by" the St Michael brand of Marks & Spencer.

        3. re: DUH CAR

          Well, I got a little promo packet in the mail today - post/recipe cards - featured 8 yr old cheddar,bacon marmalade, hickory smoke olive oil and umami paste....anyone see how expensive this stuff is?

          1. re: kbdid

            Not very. Prices range from $2.99 to $25.99. Off the top of my head I recall seeing the bacon marmalade at $4.99. It wasn't to my taste. The spiced chocolate sauce was okay for something you might use once in a while for a special dish.(5.99)

            1. re: kbdid

              There is another promo going on that's more accessible. If you pick up the magazine from LCBO it includes a coupon which gives you a free Cherry Shiraz Wine jelly with the purchase of 8 year old cheddar.

          2. All they need now are customers in their tomb-like stores and echoing Superstores. Not sure this merch will lure them back.

            1. Instead of spending big bucks expanding their product line, they should concentrate on lowering their ridiculously high prices.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Jed Clampet

                And stocking the shelves. So sick of going there to find only half of what I need.

                1. re: phisherking

                  Look at the positive side, you only spent 1/2 what you expected to spend.

                  1. re: Jed Clampet

                    Hear, hear. I don't go to Loblaws anymore because the prices are just so ridiculously high. I'm also getting increasingly frustrated at my local Loblaws-affiliated grocery stores (Loblaws and Your Independent Grocer) because EVERYTHING is perpetually on sale, but those sales are often visually distracting noise where the sale consists of 8c off of a $3 product or something ridiculous like that.

                    While in Ottawa, we don't seem to have the same shelf-stocking problem that plagued Toronto stores (I lost my joy of cooking in Toronto because without fail, whenever I planned on making a dish, my local Loblaws or No Frills would be out of stock of one key ingredient, which was usually something very common, too), the prices are even higher here than they were in Toronto. At least I can always get what I want when I want, though.

                  2. I admit I like pc products...

                    The link you provided just gives me a list of regular pc products though.

                      1. re: justsayn

                        I can see it now thanks!

                        The PC BLACK LABEL SHICHIMI TOGARASHI 7-SPICE BLEND makes me smile

                        1. re: justsayn

                          Clicking on any of the links brings up "this product has been discontinued

                          1. re: Helen

                            It appears the black label line was released on the site prematurely and google was quick enough to catch it and save it to memory before PC deleted the info. So I think we can safely call this a sneak peek; which the OP originally brought to our attention!

                        2. Folks, we've removed a number of posts from this thread. Farm subisidies and social programs and what things cost in Buffalo are all getting pretty far afield from the mission of this board, which is to discuss where to find great chow in Ontario. If anyone actually gets a chance to try these products and has opinions to offer, please go ahead, but the larger political issues are off-topic here.

                          1. They had me at Smokey Bacon marmalade.

                            Aside from items such as those (with 'OMG' factors), I don't see a ton of people running into buy Togarishi spice blends, i'm sure i'll try it at some point, but then again, that's why i'm in Chowhound.

                            1. Cornered some Loblaws suits in Mississauga yesterday who said an Xmas roll-out is likely.

                              1. Why do you love to slam Loblaws harder than other grocers? I think Metro sucks way worse than Loblaws and I wander the aisles muttering to myself "It's Fall and the apples are from New Zealand!" but I can't find threads on here to vent to. And the Loblaws threads go on and on every time. I really want you to think about this: do you hold Loblaws to a higher standard than other mass grocers?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: crawfish

                                  Here's my opinion on Metro. When they were still Dominion they were fine. It's the closest supermarket to my house and if we needed something and didn't want to travel far, we'd go there. Then when Metro (who already owned the chain) renamed the store and rearranged the merchandise, they also jacked up all the prices 20-50%. They lost us permanently as customers for that. It seemed they wanted to charge Quebec prices in Ontario.

                                  Now to Loblaws. They've always tried to present themselves as slightly more upscale. Not quite Longo's or Whole Foods obviously, but always above Metro and Sobey's. Their commercials, store layouts, etc, suggest this. Basically they're a Wegmans wannabe that has consistently failed in the execution. This is why they're held to a higher standard -- we're just holding them to the standard that THEY SET FOR THEMSELVES and can't deliver.

                                  And now they're trying to talk out both sides of their mouths, they're trying to be Walmart too. They have as much of a chance beating Walmart as I do making an NHL starting lineup in my lifetime (and I've never played hockey!) They should stick to the original game plan -- if they work at it they should be able to clone Wegmans. But they need give up on the Phoney Canadian Stupidsores, pronto.

                                  1. re: TexSquared

                                    IMHO, Dominion was the worst of the Ontario grocery chains. It was purchased by Metro - the worst of the Quebec grocery chains. In my experience, prices in QC are lower than in ON, so I'm not sure where your idea comes from.

                                    Also... as is seen in groceries from neighbourhood to neighbourhood - the store management has a HUGE impact on the quality of service and product availability.

                                    Case in point: Loblaws at Jane/Dundas is worse than the one at St Clair/Bathurst - which is worse than the one at Christie/Dupont.. all of which pale in comparison to the No Frills at Landsdowne/Dundas. All owned by the same company, all run by different people.


                                    1. re: mikefly

                                      And along those lines, Dominion in Liberty Village was a bad apple in the chain but the Metro is great. If you shop wisely and stay flexible you will scoop up top quality meats and produce!

                                      1. re: mikefly

                                        Hear hear, I was actually really sad to move away from that No Frills and sometimes still make the trip over instead of going somewhere closer. Actually, I don't have any plans today.. :)

                                      2. re: TexSquared

                                        Agreed. I shop at Metro Bayview and Eg for convenience sake, when I don't have time to go elsewhere and grapple this and that in different stores. I find that Metro sooo boring, so unattractive... but no other choice nearby.

                                    2. Every post in thread misses the point. Loblaw’s is doing what every many other businesses are trying to do – appeal to the upscale. That’s where the markups and the money is these days. A perfect is example is bread. Places like Cobb’s showed that there are plenty of people willing to pay $4-$5 for a loaf of bread. Now Longo’s, the Canadian Superstore and other have set up their own fancy bakeries selling their version of ridiculously priced bread. Pusiteri’s, McEwan’s etc shows that you can do the same with groceries in general. Loblaw’s would be foolish not to attempt to be a player in that market. Food has become like most things these days; there is no more middle class. It’s either upscale or downscale.

                                      23 Replies
                                      1. re: evansl

                                        didn't they buy Ace bakery?

                                        i think places like costco appeals to the middle class.

                                        1. re: evansl

                                          While I agree in part, evansl, that the divide is widening I believe there to be plenty of middle-class options still available in all Ontario chain grocers.

                                          If I had to guess, which I do, I don't think Black Label is for consumers such as ourselves living in major urban centres. We have a plethora of choices. If I lived in say, Lindsay, where choice is limited in both restaurants and supplies outside of the growing season, I'd welcome the opportunity to make restaurant quality meals at home.

                                          1. re: Googs

                                            I'm liking your figurin there Googs. Making sense as usual.

                                            1. re: Googs

                                              Problem is, Googs, that Loblaws outside the GTA are split between corporate and franchise stores that often carry varying inventories tuned to their markets. It's possible--but not probable--they will carry the Black Label stuff but many of these stores are light on current PC items found all over the GTA, making it anyone's guess whether they'll go for it.

                                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                                Is THAT ever backward marketing. Get 'em while they live out-of-town, keep 'em when they move to the city AND deliver something they don't have easy access to while you're at it. Much better corporate-customer bonding that way. What are we in Toronto gonna say? Meh, i can get (better/cheaper) at "insert-name-here".

                                                1. re: Kagemusha

                                                  All stores under the Loblaws and SuperStore banners are corporate. No Frills are franchises.

                                                  1. re: crawfish

                                                    What about Maxi, Independent, Zehrs, Fortinos, and all the other ridiculous names they use for the same crap? GM figured out that having 10 different marques for the same cars was a mistake and led them to bankruptcy, Loblaws needs to do the same. Metro was smart to get rid of 10 different "fresh obsessed" clones and call them all Metro. I certainly don't see 10 versions of Wegmans (or Tops, Kroger, Meijer, Hannaford, Giant, etc) in the same geographic areas when I go to the U.S.

                                                    1. re: TexSquared

                                                      Maxi is a mix of corporate and franchises.
                                                      Valu-Mart/Fresh Mart/Save Easy/YIG are all independent.
                                                      Fortino's is all franchises.
                                                      Zehrs is all corporate.

                                                      The reason they have many banners is because these were once individual grocery store chains that LCL bought up. The most recent acquistion was T&T Supermarkets (yes, the chinese store chain)

                                                      As of today though they are re-branding a lot of stores, most of the Loblaw stores will become 'Loblaw Great Food' stores.

                                                    2. re: crawfish

                                                      Not so, crawfish. The stores are a mix of corporate and franchise--unless of course the Loblaws guys I spoke with 5 minutes away from the Mississauga HQ were fakes...

                                                      1. re: Kagemusha

                                                        Maybe you misunderstood them. We in Ontario tend to use "Loblaws" as an umbrella name but actually the banners are very different organisations across our huge nation, as others have explained above.

                                                        1. re: crawfish

                                                          Doubtful. We're talking Ontario and I'll believe them over you, dude. Lots of franchised outlets outside the GTA.

                                                          This thread is wildly OT--again.

                                                          1. re: Kagemusha

                                                            Rebranding has allowed Weston to re-open stores without union employees, and with many more part timers working fewer hours per week. They had to try this to compete with Wal-Mart.

                                                            1. re: Kagemusha

                                                              This is from the front page of Loblaw Companies Ltd.'s web site:

                                                              "Our corporate-owned store banners include Atlantic Superstore, Dominion (in Newfoundland and Labrador), Extra Foods, Loblaws, Loblaw Greatfood, Maxi, Maxi & Cie, Provigo, Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaw Superstore, T&T Supermarket and Zehrs."

                                                              1. re: crawfish

                                                                Then once you include all the franchise operations -- No Frills, Your Independent Grocer, and who knows what else... you have a situation that is as ridiculous as pro boxing's "alphabet soup" of championships, or (my previous example) if McDonald's had all these different chains selling the same food: McDonald's, Ronald's, Big Mac, Ray Kroc's, Krocburger, The Fry Guys, Hamburglar....

                                                                T&T and No Frills, I can understand and expect them to keep separate as they are run differently.

                                                                The rest of them should just be Loblaws. Maybe tack on "Superstore" if it's one of the bigger locations that has the department store piece, the way Walmart uses "Supercenter" if it has a full grocery. Hell, given their ad campaigns, just ditch the Loblaws name and call them all President's Choice.... at least now you have consistent advertising across the country!

                                                                1. re: TexSquared

                                                                  The products were in my local Loblaws on Friday. There are 120 items in the Black Label franchise, and most will roll out between now and October 1. they are having production issues with some, and some will only be ready in time for Christmas (I chatted with a guy who was setting the section up)

                                                                  I did not actually buy any BL products while I was there, but the packaging looked good, and prices were reasonable for what they were selling. Alot of consumers were stopping to look at the 4 way display, so Id say lots of interest...

                                                                  1. re: shocked

                                                                    shocked: which location were you in?

                                                                    1. re: bigfatbroad

                                                                      51 Musgrave
                                                                      Basically Victoria Park and Danforth, in Toronto

                                                                    2. re: shocked

                                                                      They had a limited selection of Black Label products at the "ValueMart" in the Manulife Centre... Also some new Presidents Choice "Fresh" prepared foods.

                                                                      1. re: RogerDoger

                                                                        Was in the Bloor Street Market last night and saw many of the products. Sadly forgot to look for the Bacon Marmalade. Picked up Marcona almonds, avocado oil, truffle aioli and raspberry and cream biscuits. I've tried the almonds and they and quite tasty… fresh and lightly salted.


                                                                        1. re: bigfatbroad

                                                                          Do you remember the price of the marcona almonds and the package size?

                                                  2. Saw these waiting to be shelved at the Loblaw Bayview Village:

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: meatnveg

                                                      Sexy enough that the haters will buy it too! Genius!

                                                    2. Bought the Seville orange marmalade. Very tasty ... also seems to be a good ratio of orange peel bits to jam. It would make Paddington very very happy :)

                                                      18 Ontario N, Grand Bend, ON N0M1T0, CA

                                                      10 Replies
                                                      1. re: mrsleny

                                                        They were starting to put this line out at the Leslie & Lakeshore location of Loblaws today. The jams/marmalades looked very good, some good oils, etc, anxious to see the full line

                                                        Lakeshore Cafe
                                                        6320 Lakeshore Rd, Forest, ON N0N1J0, CA

                                                        1. re: MELCH

                                                          It's coming out in bits and pieces. Today the Bloorstreet Mkt (manulife centre) one was putting out the Black label Olive oil tortillas, Black pepper crackers, rosemary crackers etc.

                                                          Also, saw the BL line of nuts (cashews, marcona almonds and a mixed thing). The packaging was almost identical to the Life brand ones at Shoppers Drug Mart

                                                        2. re: mrsleny

                                                          Bought the Bacon Marmalade while in Ottawa on the weekend, and tried it out last night. Very, very good balance of flavours and delicious enough to eat on its own, though I love it with PB on bread. The earl grey shortbread thins, on the other hand, were merely okay. They were strong on the tea flavour and had nice bits of lemon zest, but they lacked the buttery richness I associate with good shortbread.

                                                          1. re: obiter_dicta

                                                            Has anyone seen the bacon marmalade in Toronto? What section is it in?

                                                            1. re: sbug206

                                                              Some stores have a special black label display. My store on Redway off Laird has the displayer by the fresh baked goods next to the deli.

                                                              1. re: sbug206

                                                                They have it in a special display at the Dupont Loblaws.

                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                  Managed to get some from the display at the Eastern store. Tastes good, on the sweet side rather than savoury but don't get any bacon flavour.

                                                                  1. re: sbug206

                                                                    Agree - but there is a saltiness in the finish.
                                                                    I got mine from special display at St Clair Market

                                                                    1. re: sbug206

                                                                      The bacon marmalade is a bit fruity for my tastes. All the recipes I've seen online merely sweeten the bacon and possibly add some booze, spice, vinegar and/or coffee - no fruit. The Black Label stuff has a lot of fruit elements. I'd like more bacon flavour.

                                                                      The Raspberry & Cream shortbreads are the best thing I've tried so far.

                                                                      1. re: chefhound

                                                                        I rec'd an assortment of BL products as a hostess gift. Last night I tried the Bacon Marmalade for the first time and it was a huge hit. I brushed slices of Filone bread w evoo then toasted in the panini press. Spread each w a light layer of the marmalade then topped w some rare roast beef and topped w the BL 8 year old cheddar. Gave them a quick pass under the broiler to melt the cheese. Really tasty appetizer. The cheese was fabulous on its own btw. I think a light handed approach is best w the Marmalade as its sweetness and intense flavours could easily overpower more subtle ingredients.

                                                                        Would I consider ending my months-long Loblaws boycott to go in and buy myself the Marmalade or the cheese. . . . maybe. (I'd really have to think about that as It would truly pain me to do so. I was so fed up with their sheer failure to place any priority on customer experience.)

                                                            2. I have tried one black label product and loved it so much I went back to get more.... the marinara pasta sauce.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. I tried the black label Creme Caramel (found in refrigerated section in nice glass jars), it was delicious, and approved by my French husband as well =)

                                                                1. I tried the belgian waffle cookies with vanilla cream. Not cheap at $4.99 for 6 cookies, but worth every penny. Very buttery, wonderful with a nice espresso after dinner. Purchased at St. Clair Market

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: pâté chinois

                                                                    I picked up some truffle oil for a potato gratin I was making for Thanksgiving. Added a nice depth of flavour to the dish. Also grabbed some black pepper and cheddar oatmeal biscuits and rosemary oatmeal biscuits for a cheese plate. They were really good, but smaller than I expected. About as big around as a toonie. Nice flavours, kind of like a savoury butter cookie.

                                                                  2. I was in the grocery store in Manulife Centre yesterday and I looked at a bunch of the black Label products. It really stands out. The thing is for some products I was wondering what the actual products look like. For example the cookie products. I know often the "photo" is nothing like the actual product but for some of them I had no idea what the product was suppose to be/look like.

                                                                    I ended up buying the olive oil Tortas de Aceite and I ate a few of them but I didn't enjoy them as much as the Inés Rosales ones I have eaten before. The black label version was $6.99 vs. $9.99 + for the Inés Rosales ones at most stores but a local grocery store (Organic Garage) has them for $6.99 so I will stick to the originals (at least in my books!).

                                                                    I was tempted by some other stuff but I will wait for some more reviews or until I use up some of my oils, jams, etc before buying other items.

                                                                    1. In the mail yesterday I received an advertisement for the Black Label line (came in a black envelope) that included several recipe cards and a coupon for free bacon marmalade when you buy the 8 yr old cheddar.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: principessa del pisello

                                                                        Oooh, lucky you! Wish I got stuff like that in my mailbox :) Guess the Westons figure folks in my part of town don't shop in their stores - LOL!

                                                                        I love the branding of the new Black Label stuff - it's fabulous just to stand and stare at everything in the range. Reminds me a bit of the Dave Nichol/Watt Group time at Loblaws. We've tried the Belgian Chocolate Chunk cookies - they were delish! Not many in the box, but who cares...we'd only eat them all in one go anyway! Noticed a "Black Label Cookbook" in Leslie/Lakeshore Lobs. today....Beautiful photography, lots of appetizer-type recipes - aimed at Christmas party entertaining, I'm thinking.

                                                                      2. There is a Black Label product on the shelf now, called Smoky Chipotle Salsa. It is in the same place on the shelf, in the same bottle, and looks like identical product to former President's Choice Chipotle Salsa. That is to say, only the label is dfifferent. Oh, and it is 4.99, no longer 2.99. That is so lame, Loblaws. I will be in the new Longo's on Laird the hour it opens. Expect Loblaw's Redway Road to be empty enough to bowl in then!

                                                                        41 Replies
                                                                        1. re: maple99

                                                                          I noticed the same thing and felt it was very sneaky.

                                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                                            Likewise.....the new Black Label Creme Caramel and Creme Brulee (mentioned in a post above) is also a dollar more....

                                                                          2. re: maple99

                                                                            Are you sure the contents are the same?

                                                                            1. re: Herne

                                                                              This is the ingredients from the PC Brand 473 ml - Tomatoes (contain tomato juice, tomato purée, citric acid, calcium chloride, salt), roasted tomato purée, jalapeno peppers, onions, white vinegar, salt, dehydrated garlic, chipotle peppers (contain silicon dioxide), cilantro.

                                                                              Is it exactly the same as Black Label?

                                                                              1. re: justsayn

                                                                                I couldn't find the Chipotle Black Label ingredient list online, though when I was at the store, the ingredient list (and other factors) left me convinced this was the same thing.

                                                                                Here is a comparison of the ingredients for the Tomatillo salsa from PC online sources:

                                                                                Regular ($2.99):
                                                                                Tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, roasted tomato purée, water, onions, salt, white vinegar, cilantro, crushed garlic (contains citric acid), natural flavour, spices, spice extract.

                                                                                Black Label ($4.99):
                                                                                Tomatillos, jalapeño peppers, roasted tomato purée, water, onions, salt, white vinegar, lime juice, cilantro, crushed garlic (contains citric acid), spices, spice extract.


                                                                                And here is the PC Peach and Mango Salsa info which is identical:

                                                                                Regular ($2.99):
                                                                                Tomatoes (contain tomato purée, salt, citric acid), peaches (contain ascorbic acid, citric acid), mangoes, jalapeno peppers, water, sugar, dehydrated onions, white vinegar, salt, natural flavour, spice extract.

                                                                                Black Label ($4.99):
                                                                                Tomatoes (contain tomato purée, salt, citric acid), peaches (contain ascorbic acid, citric acid), mangoes, jalapeño peppers, water, sugar, dehydrated onions, white vinegar, salt, natural flavour, spice extract.

                                                                                1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                  Thanks for posting Full tummy.

                                                                                  I don't like the look of that. I might be calling Loblaws about this to see what they can say about it.

                                                                                  1. re: magic

                                                                                    Please do share any information you are able to garner.

                                                                                    1. re: magic

                                                                                      The addition of lime juice does change things up for the Tomatillo but the Mango is obviously exact. This "premium" roll out is now easily one of the biggest fails I have seen. Not only does it completely undermine the integrity of their "Black Label", but I see it as a complete insult to the general public.

                                                                                      1. re: justsayn

                                                                                        There was natural flavour in the first version. What the difference in taste is, nobody knows, unless they've tried both versions. I haven't. However, a squirt of lime juice isn't worth that much to me. For the extra $2.00, I could buy myself 20 limes at Freshco last week, hahaha.

                                                                                    2. re: justsayn

                                                                                      At Superstore now. The chipotle Black Label ingredients are identical to those you posted. Identical.

                                                                                          1. re: terrycar

                                                                                            It speaks volumes about the current organization and it really bothers me so I am writing a letter to them. Even if the prices were the same - who needs the promise of something exciting and new only to find out that it is merely something repackaged. Shocking and pathetic that these people couldn't come up with a few dozen ORIGINAL items for their new label launch!!!

                                                                                    3. re: Herne

                                                                                      Well, let's put it this way. The Black Label salsa options are in the same shaped bottles, they have the same names, and they're in exactly the same spot on the shelves as the original versions. I smell a sneaky move, and I resent that.

                                                                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                        Could be you are correct. But the bottle shape, names and shelf location are not what we (I) are buying What is in the bottle?

                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                            If you resent something on speculation alone, I can't imagine what will happen if it turns out to be true!! I will try to check in the store tomorrow....

                                                                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                              I noticed this too with the blood orange soda. The PC version could be had for $2 a bottle. It's now $5.99!!! for the Black Label version.

                                                                                              1. re: sbug206

                                                                                                This is pretty bad. I might have to hold off on buying this line's products now. If this turns out to be true I might even consider a broader boycott.

                                                                                                1. re: magic

                                                                                                  I wonder if the quality is better? Maybe someone should contact PC for an answer!

                                                                                                  1. re: MELCH

                                                                                                    NO NO NO MELCH - way better to just surmise the worst and then spread it on the web!

                                                                                                    1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                      What's wrong with asking questions?

                                                                                                      Quite a bit of the time, this stuff ends up being dead accurate.

                                                                                                      Is that the case here? I don't know. But nothing wrong with bringing it up. In the meantime why don't you do some fact finding instead of criticizing others who are rightfully curious.

                                                                                                      1. re: magic

                                                                                                        Of course nothing is wrong with asking questions. Who was asking questions? I see a bunch of accusations and statements. And maybe Loblaws has upbranded the exact same products. What I am conmenting on is how Loblaws is already resented, and found guilty without some fact finding. And, that this is typical on the board.

                                                                                                        1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                          I don't know, some of these ingredient and price inconsistencies seem to look an awful lot like facts to me.

                                                                                                          Again, I don't know what the story is, but there does seem to be a story. At the very least it's something Loblaws would at least want to address, if only to alleviate possible misunderstandings. And that's at the least.

                                                                                                          At worst, people could be on to some questionable marketing practices. Whatever the case, I think this is a perfect forum for these kinds of things to be addressed.

                                                                                                          Also, I'm a big Loblaws fan and have not trashed them on CH. On the other hand I'm also a big fan of not being ripped off and of transparency where there is doubt, so....

                                                                                                          1. re: magic

                                                                                                            I agree with all those points 100%. They are not what I was writing about. And I agree that if Loblaws is rebranding and upcharging for same goods, it was a really, really dumb move. If they have altered the quality of the product to fetch a higher price, they really screwed that up by not changing the name in some way. Either way - screw up!

                                                                                                            1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                              I don't like the idea of a supermarket bringing out its own line of higher priced products and selling them at the same place they sell the stuff for the average shopper. However, I don't run a supermarket chain so what I like doesn't amount to much.
                                                                                                              I must say that after having started shopping at Costco for stables and bulk items I can hardly believe that people are paying the prices that are asked. Lean ground beef and skin/boneless chicken breasts are dramatically different in price and I have found myself asking (myself) why people shop at local supermarkets. I assume not having a car is the major reason.

                                                                                                              1. re: magic

                                                                                                                Like you, I am a big Loblaws fan. My shop of choice. But, I will be examining the prices of Black Label products just as closely as I examine prices in general, and that means I won't be paying $4.99 for Black Label salsa. To me, it's not worth the price, totally aside from the sudden change in label and increase in price.

                                                                                                              2. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                Unfortunately, the fact is the same product is sitting in the same spot on the same shelf, with a new label and a new price. I ate the original product regularly. I know what I'm looking at when I see not one, but all of the PC salsas in that bottle size and shape relabelled and sold at a higher price. Maybe the chipotle pepper in the Black Label salsa is a special diamond-studded chipotle (Black Label chipotle?), but it doesn't say so on the label...

                                                                                                2. re: maple99

                                                                                                  Well, for whatever reason, the Black Label Smoky Chiopotle Salsa is back to 2.99 (at Redway Rd.). So I bought it. That wasn't so hard, now was it Loblaws?

                                                                                                  I stand by my original "accusation." I stated only what I observed.

                                                                                                  I also stand by my right, having shopped many, many times at Wegman's, to consider Loblaws fundamentally lame.

                                                                                                  1. re: maple99

                                                                                                    I was just at the Vic. Park & Gerrard Loblaws an hour ago, and it's still $4.99. Thanks for the tip. I hope the rest follow suit...

                                                                                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                      Redway has put the price back to 2.99. I'm the one who said it was 4.99 last weekend.

                                                                                                      1. re: maple99

                                                                                                        They wrote back on Thursday telling me they are investigating my Black Label and pricing complaint. Perhaps that letter is already working.

                                                                                                        1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                          I am imaging this thread is working... Sure they are googling/search for feedback :) I was thinking of contacting some media about this story but if they are getting it straitened out not much to report there.. Will keep an eye on it over the next few weeks

                                                                                                          1. re: ylsf

                                                                                                            Agreed. I actually referenced this thread in my letter.

                                                                                                        2. re: maple99

                                                                                                          So, interesting turn of events. At the Victoria Park & Gerrard Loblaws tonight, and saw the Black Label salsas have been repriced at $2.99 - except the one new flavour, passionfruit jalapeno or something like that. It's still $4.99. Wonder how long that will continue... four kinds of Black Label salsa at one price, and one at another... Hmmm.

                                                                                                          Victoria Park Restaurant
                                                                                                          335 Durham Market St N, Kincardine, ON N2Z1Z4, CA

                                                                                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                                                                                            Why were they at different prices to begin with is what I want to know.

                                                                                                            1. re: magic

                                                                                                              At the Superstore at Don Mills & Eglinton tonight. All the Black Label salsas were priced $4.99.

                                                                                                  2. Has anybody bought/seen the recipe book they brought out? I saw it at the Bayview Village Loblaw, essentially it had recipes that use products from the new line.

                                                                                                    P.S. If one store had it at 2.99 and it's a recent change, then all stores should have it at the same price. Just take it to the cash and get it scanned. Also, if it comes up at a different price than the one on the tag, you get it free!! (not joking, that's actually a rule)

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                      I don't believe Loblaws follows SCOP.

                                                                                                      1. re: sbug206

                                                                                                        Yes, they do follow the SCOP. I've benefitted from it on many occasions...

                                                                                                    2. Don't waste your money {$5.99} on the Black Label raspberry syrup !! It is NOT syrup. It is a solid and loaded with seeds. It is NOT pourable. It is harder to remove from the bottle than Heinz ketchup !! It is JAM.
                                                                                                      After complaining, I was in effect told I didn't know what I was talking about.

                                                                                                      1. The Westonette and his claque just keep shoveling this chum slick of sucker bait products into the GTA waters. Who's biting, though? The stuff is collecting dust around Mississauga, especially prime end-shelf displays touting 5 buck boxes of pasta. With the strong likelihood of a very unMerry Christmas for retail, this campaign and product line strikes me as utterly daft.

                                                                                                        Maybe this all resulted from a Westonette nightmare about ending his days stocking shelves at Whole Foods? Beats me.

                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                                                          Can you blame him? I'm sure he doesn't want to end up like an Eatonette!

                                                                                                          I haven't been in a Loblaws or Super Centre three times this year as there is nothing there for me.

                                                                                                          1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                                                            Yet the biggest grocer in Ontario just keeps making more money.

                                                                                                            1. re: Googs

                                                                                                              And this is supposed to impress us? You might as well post that Rogers, Bell, and Air Canada are making a profit too.

                                                                                                              1. re: TexSquared

                                                                                                                No, TexSquared, it's meant to inform. Not everyone's looking to impress.

                                                                                                                FWIW I don't shop at Loblaws though will, on occasion, get a few items from No Frills. I don't like their store layouts, poor staffing, and forced choice style of marketing their house brands.

                                                                                                          2. Thank you to everyone for reporting. I have not been to a Loblaws at all, ever since they launched this line, although I was telling myself I would make a trip to check out what this is all about. There are at least three other grocers I frequent that are closer to me, and with the comments here so far, there is less and less to draw me there.

                                                                                                            Is there any product at all that anyone has tried so far and worth recommending?

                                                                                                            Also, I vaguely remember that way back, a year or so ago, I tried their creme brulee or creme caramel from the freezer section. That was one of the few things I would go back for, but have not seen it since. Has anyone seen it around?

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: vil

                                                                                                              recently they've had the creme caramel & brulee at the lakeshore/leslie loblaws in the fridge section (not freezer), between yogurts & puddings. I've only tried the creme caramel and have found it to be excellent.

                                                                                                              I don't normally buy salad dressing, but as I'm alone at home with 2 young kids a lot and can't always make my own when I'm in a rush to scarf down lunch, I bought the black label "vinaigrette provencale"; best bottled salad dressing I've ever bought in Toronto, and tastes exactly like the ones I bought in France, so I thought it was good

                                                                                                              1. re: MELCH

                                                                                                                Thank you, Melch, I will remember to look in the fridge section next time. I don't go to that location much these days but will look in the ones near me (north part of the GTA).

                                                                                                                The vinaigrette sounds worthy of considering, being one who also likes to make dressing from scratch but often too busy to do things properly!

                                                                                                              2. re: vil

                                                                                                                I recently bought the all-butter cheese & black pepper biscuits. Really, really good.

                                                                                                                1. re: Wino In Training

                                                                                                                  I had grabbed those as well. We really liked them. Like a savoury butter cookie.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Wino In Training

                                                                                                                    Thanks Wino and James. Sounds like a good combination (and an emphasis on all-butter is always a good move). An extra plus on that it sounds like they are not going to be overly sweet.

                                                                                                                    Speaking of which, has anyone seen lately their "Dutch" butter cookies made with lemon peel (albeit miniscule amounts of it)? It was also from a while back.

                                                                                                                  2. re: vil

                                                                                                                    I think their black label Marinara and Tomato and Basil pasta sauces are excellent. Best storebought I have ever had.

                                                                                                                  3. tried two of the soups...have only seen them once (Burnamthorpe Superstore)..Cream of Asparagus, and Split Pea and Beacon...in the soup aisle.
                                                                                                                    Both were very very good for a canned soup...made with real cream, not a diet soup but rich, smooth and restaurant quality..not expensive either..i think around $3?

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: burlgurl

                                                                                                                      Hm, I havent seen the soup. Have you ever tried Habitant split pea with ham? If so, how does the split pea compare?

                                                                                                                      1. re: hungryabbey

                                                                                                                        hi hungryabbey, i have tried the habitant brand and this would soup would win in my opinion..I actually had it during a special dinner and served it very nicely for my partner and I and thought "would i eat this served in a restaurant?'..and i thought yes...would be interested in your opinion!
                                                                                                                        i resort to a lot of canned soup during the winter months for the comfort level and would like to see more high end options!...non cream based would be my choice!

                                                                                                                        1. re: burlgurl

                                                                                                                          sounds great. I am going to have to keep my eyes open! I didnt see it at the loblaws I usually go to when I was there on Sunday... but it wasn't a Superstore so maybe thats my best bet.

                                                                                                                      2. re: burlgurl

                                                                                                                        I saw these two soups as well as a French Onion variety at the Bloor Street Market in the bottom level of the Manulife Centre last night.

                                                                                                                        1. re: burlgurl

                                                                                                                          This must among the slowest replies... But, I was intrigued that this topic returned because I thought/think this line is the clearest-cut case of Loblaws/Westons having jumped the shark.
                                                                                                                          The labels with reverse print have low readability, the shelf-presence in quantity is unappealing, the prices uniformly off or too high, and so on.
                                                                                                                          But specifically, the asparagus soup, bought one day when shopping hungry, was among the 10 worst things I have ever tasted. The texture was revolting [mucous-y?], there was absolutely no flavour of asparagus, or anything else I could detect, and one, maybe two fragments of a grey-green vegetable matter in there.

                                                                                                                          1. re: pearl3

                                                                                                                            Canned asparagus soup just seems like a bad idea in the first place...

                                                                                                                        2. I tried the jarred PC Black Label papaya balls. They are from Peru, and I think they are about $4.99 for the jar. Unlike most canned papaya, which are reddish-coloured chunks, these are mango-yellow-coloured balls (like large melon balls) of papaya. They didn't taste much of papaya--mostly like the syrup they were packed in--so I wouldn't buy them for the taste. However, I thought the colour and round shape was interesting. I could see slicing them into thin round disks and using them decoratively on a fruit tart or a cupcake.

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: canmark

                                                                                                                            Made a grilled cheese with the PC caramelized red onions and the PC aged cheddar and it was delicious. I'd definitely keep a jar of the caramelized red onion around the house.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                              what bread did u use? anything special?

                                                                                                                              1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                Just a fresh baguette from a neighbourhood store. really simple but delicious. Actually last night for dinner I just had some stuff in the house I needed to use so for dinner I made a flat iron steak and arugula salad with thyme roasted mushrooms and I used the caramelized red onions from PC to make a vinagrette with some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and just a touch of honey since it is already quite sweet. Really tasty dinner.

                                                                                                                            2. re: canmark

                                                                                                                              I like them but they are pretty pungent. They are really good cut up, with yogurt.

                                                                                                                            3. I bought the black label basil oil.

                                                                                                                              Holy mama is it ever strong. Bordering on gross. It is infused with basil extract not actual basil so it is very VERY intense. Almost concentrated. It essentially tastes like black liquorice and if you are going to use it MUST be used very sparingly. Unless you happen to like your food tasting of black liquorice. In which case go nuts.

                                                                                                                              I diluted with some more olive oil, hopefully that will take the edge off.

                                                                                                                              Prolly won't be buying again ($9.99 btw).

                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                Bought the bacon marmalade tonight and I'm not loving it. It's not bad but it's not nearly as savoury as I'd expect bacon marmalade to be with a bacon flavour missing to a degree. I've made bacon jam at home in the past and it was quite good. Maybe this will work on something but for the dinner I'm making tonight I'm not liking it too much. However, at 4.99 it's not like I went into debt so I'm not exactly pissed.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                                  I'm finding the caramelized red onion chutney a bit too sweet for my taste. It smells wonderful but, for me at least, too sweet.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                    Is the caramelized red onion chutney different from just the caramelized red onions? I agree they are pretty sweet but in certain combinations I've found it works well. It's probably the product I've enjoyed the most. I also kind of take back what I said about the bacon marmalade. I used it last night and it was pretty good on the chicken burger I'd made us for dinner. Not a huge bacon flavour but it added something. At first my girlfriend thought it was the caramelized red nions actually.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                                      I believe we’re talking about the same product, yes. If you look closely on the jar, the word ‘Chutney’ is there in smaller print.

                                                                                                                                      I have not had it on a burger yet, but I’ve had it on grilled cheese and a couple of roast chicken sandwiches I’ve made for brown bag lunches. So far it’s been too sweet. Seems to have more jam than onions. For me at least….. we all have different tastes when it comes to things like sweet, salty, and so on.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: jamesm

                                                                                                                                    i'm not a big fan of the bacon marmalade either-but maybe i'm just not using it as it is intended....as a toast spread it doesn't work for me. i've tried it as a condiment on grilled chicken sandwiches etc...still not working for me...how should i be using it?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: justsayn

                                                                                                                                        thanks, that will help he use up the jar...maybe something will click and i might like it too!

                                                                                                                                2. The buffalo mozzarella girasoli is good. Fry up some diced bacon, then toss the cooked pasta in it and serve beside a Caesar salad with lots of anchovies. They also sell a PC diced pancetta, but I find it to be very bland and the dice is uneven so it doesn't cook well. Canadian smokey bacon works great.

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                    Had the buffalo mozzarella girasoli last night...it was really, really good!

                                                                                                                                  2. Our store (Collingwood, ON) has a relatively small selection of the Black Label PC stuff - but the 8 year aged cheddar beats any other cheese I've purchased in a supermarket. Really impressed. We also tried the Basil Oil and I would certainly NOT buy that again. As a PP said, it's really strong and I can't see what you could use it for without fear that it would take everything over flavour wise.

                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: NicoleJones

                                                                                                                                      Given that neither Basil nor EVOO should be exposed to heat either that much or at all, I suppose it should be used as a finish. Perhaps you have a salad you could try it on. Maybe a mash that you'd normally use butter and an herb for.

                                                                                                                                      Personally, I always make rather than buy infused oils. Inevitably, the infusions hang around so long the oil gets stale. Better to make small batches of what you really want wish a nice fresh oil.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                        As a finish or dressing it's even worse. And it made my mashed potatoes taste like a field of basil.

                                                                                                                                        It's not good.

                                                                                                                                        I'm all for making my own. And I almost always do. But sometimes it's nice to try other people's take on something.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: magic

                                                                                                                                          Um, perhaps a little aromatherapy with a relaxing basil bath oil? That may dilute it enough and you can literally watch your money go down the drain.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: NicoleJones

                                                                                                                                        I actually hate myself for saying this, but I have just tried the Black Label 8 year old cheddar and it's fantastic. I usually automatically just don't buy PC stuff - maybe it's the aura of effete self-importance around it - I only picked it up because I was curious how it compared to my usual favourite cheddars. This cheese is in a totally different category - crumbly and flavourful and, shock of shocks, it's a raw milk cheese! This last detail isn't noted on the front of the label, but the ingredients list unpasteurized milk. Great stuff.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nyleve

                                                                                                                                          I think it's the best widely-accessible cheddar around. Their 6 year was my favourite awhile back and then disappeared, I guess it's shown up here in a superior form. Big points for the unpasteurized aspect. Loblaws also carries a 5 year Aussie raw cheddar (haven't tried yet) for around $6, plus give the L'Ancetre raw 5 year a shot, also excellent.

                                                                                                                                      3. I really like the BL fig cabernet wine jelly. Tastes great with aged cheddar, morbier and creamy brie. In fact I like the BL apple butter too, and that tastes great with aged cheddar too.

                                                                                                                                        1. Hate that they got rid of the blue cheese vinegrette, It was incredible, and a great option to any creamy alternatives. Guess I was the only one eating it.

                                                                                                                                          1. Some of them aren't bad, but they're typically pricer than I'm willing to pay. Which is why I do check to see what's on sale and if it's interesting enough, I'll give it a try.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: CapnChaos

                                                                                                                                              I'm seeing more it sliding onto sale racks in their Mississauga stores. 5 buck boxes of pasta when De Cecco is <1/2 the price? Fail.

                                                                                                                                            2. The Black Label balsamic vinegar is very good. Best I've had at its price point.

                                                                                                                                              1. I just wanted to give some fellow foodies a heads up on some new Black Label items that are coming out now for the holiday season. In my weekly grocery run, I came across some delectable Black Label sweets that are made from Spain. They just introduced Turron and it's a traditional Spainish nougat that is mostly comprised of honey and almonds with lots of caramel notes.

                                                                                                                                                I came across these amazing sweets when my brother returned from a trip from Spain. He brought back some of these Turron from a maker that is over 100s of years old. The black label one is surprisingly good and almost of the same quality as the one brought back from my brother. It's mostly comprised of almonds (54% according to the label), sugar, honey, milk chocolate, and wafers. That's it! None of the artificial sweeteners or fake flavours. It's incredibly rich but for those who enjoy nougat or a sweet chewy nutty treat, this is something to grab.

                                                                                                                                                They also have a sipping dark chocolate on the shelves and the ingredients were only 3. Dark chocolate, cocoa, and sugar. I've been trying to find a good sipping chocolate that won't break the bank or require a trek to downtown TOronto (like Soma). I think this will be my next purchase to try. Has anyone tried this yet?

                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                  It doesn't fit the won't-break-the-bank category, but I noticed Soma hot chocolate being sold at the O&B Foodwares in the basement of The Bay Queen St. Perhaps other O&B food shops carry?

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Googs

                                                                                                                                                    Interesting and thank you Googs! I never new O&B carried Soma. If I trek to that area, I'll have to check it out and see what other Soma goodies they may have. My wallet and waistline might not like me but Soma is so hard to deny!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                      The clear bags are located in the displays in front of the westernmost food station. Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                    I was at Loblaws (Queen and Portland) and their Black Label ice cream was on sale ($3.99). Ingredients look very clean (i.e. cream, sugar, egg yolk...) and I got the toasted coconut and salted caramel. Both had great texture and mouthfeel. Not super sweet either (which is my only complaint with Hagen Daz). The two flavours aren't totally on though for some reason - the toasted coconut was fairly 1-dimensional and the salted caramel was a little too salty. Considering the options at supermarkets these days (yes, I saw the thread on disgusting ice creams) I would buy it again.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ukers

                                                                                                                                                      Are you referring to the new Black Label ice cream bars they've just introduced? Or was this a 500ml tub of ice cream?

                                                                                                                                                      The ice cream bars come in toasted coconut, salted caramel, and vanilla. I tried the toasted coconut, which had bits of toasted coconut mixed in with the chocolate coating, and vanilla ice cream inside. I would have preferred dark chocolate over milk, but other than that it was one of the better store-bought ice cream bars that I've had.

                                                                                                                                                      I think there must be a new Insider's Report around the corner because I saw a few other new products as well.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Michael N

                                                                                                                                                        I've seen those recently on sale at the Loblaws near me. I do agree that they're one of the better store bought ice cream bars especially that the're at least 30% cheaper than Hagen Daaz. The ingredient list is remarkably legible and the taste isn't artificial. I agree with UKers though that the ice cream isn't nuanced and one note but for only $4, it's pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                        I believe Michael is correct that we should be getting a new INsider's Report shortly. All the aisles are all stuffed with new black label items and the older ones are all on clearance. I managed to pick up some dark chocolate truffles made in France for only $3. I also picked up some fig ice wine condiment sauce for only $1. I saw that they have GOOSE FAT in a jar! Succulent breakfast hash anyone?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Nevy

                                                                                                                                                          My flyers last week said the insiders report should come out Thursday.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LexiFirefly

                                                                                                                                                            I just checked the PC website, and the Insider's Report itself doesn't seem to be up yet, but there is a listing of the new products:


                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Michael N

                                                                                                                                                          It was the 500mL tub. I saw the bars on sale too, but opted for the tub.

                                                                                                                                                    2. they just released black label Goose Fat...i'm speechless


                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: meatnveg

                                                                                                                                                        The goose fat was on for 4.99/200g (down from 8 or 9) today at Leslie/Lakeshore Loblaw's. Made it in my ballpark (my favourite animal fat to cook with is hoarded bacon fat...I'm class) so I grabbed a jar.

                                                                                                                                                      2. I love the arrabiata pasta sauce. About 1.5 years ago they went on sale for half price and I bought around 30 of them to stock up. All gone now and I keep hoping every week that they will put them on sale again.

                                                                                                                                                        1. The Ontario sour cherry jam is very good.