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food shopping at Winners

  • prima Jan 30, 2013 09:38 AM
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Noticed Torani syrups, Tazo tea, several brands of coffee, pasta, pasta sauce, olive oil, balsamic and kettle corn at the Winners near SLM. Anyone have recs for food bought at Winners lately?

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  1. Considering everything at Winners is "second hand" stock I wouldn't touch any food there.

    16 Replies
    1. re: sbug206

      Why not? If containers are sealed what is the difference?

      Also, Winners is not second hand.

      1. re: magic

        Yes it is second hand. It's not used but old stock that has been dumped from other stores.

        1. re: sbug206

          Older or surplus or slightly irregular stock is not the same as second hand.

          In any case, Winners has some great food finds but if you're not into that sort of thing then to each their own I suppose.

          1. re: sbug206

            The expiration date on the products I purchased are 6 months+ away from now. None of the food items looked like they had been dumped at the Front St Winners from other stores. Maybe Winners is selling overstock from another company or a middle man, but it's not secondhand, and it's not old stock.

            After accidentally purchasing "past their expiration date" stale nuts from the Bloor St Williams & Sonoma, I check expiration dates before purchasing anything, anywhere.

            I've bought the Dave's Gourmet pasta sauce I saw today, at other relatively upscale markets. http://store.davesgourmet.com/SearchR... I'm happy to see it is available at Winners.

            1. re: prima

              You're such a scrounger, prima ;)
              I agree the quality is fine and I've never had an issue with expiration dates. I don't find Winners' prices are that cheap for some of the more common food items, such as Lindt bars (can generally be had on sale at one of the drugstore chains) or Walker's shortbread for example. I have gotten decent quality vanilla at a good price at Home Sense but they didn't have it last time I needed it.

              1. re: julesrules

                Ha! I was going to change my handle to primathescrounger. :)

                1. re: prima

                  I'll meet you at the dumpster and we can dive for second hand Lindt bars.

                  1. re: julesrules

                    Perfect!

          2. re: magic

            I bought some Harry & David honey roasted sesame sticks (love Harry & David, and am not aware of any other store selling Harry & David in TO), and some PopsALot Saigon Sunrise Vietnamese Cinnamon Kettle Corn.

          3. re: sbug206

            I'm pretty sure the food isn't 2nd hand. The case is usually the company is rebranding or repackaging and they want to get rid of the old stock for this reason. Theres not a thing wrong with the food. I love the fact that I can buy things like coconut sugar and agave syrup for a quarter of what it costs in the grocery store.

            1. re: sbug206

              It is not true that everything at Winners is second hand. I know this for a fact as a once supplier of theirs. Some food product is actually produced for Winners as a regular retailer, and other goods are distressed stock where the distributor/manufacturer needs to unload a few truckloads long before expiry.

              There is no difference between a company shipping to Winners and a company shipping to Holts. The goods come from the same warehouse using the same truck.

              Like others mentioned, just watch the dates and watch the seal. There ARE times when the the food is from another retailer, or sent too close to expiry.

              Great food finds at Winners!

              GREAT idea for a thread btw! Thanks

              1. re: sbug206

                If the upscale dollar store vibe appeals, go for it. The last place I'd shop for food.

                1. re: Kagemusha

                  Onice again you have NO idea what you are talking about. This chain offers a plethora of perfectly FRESH products that cannot be found anywhere else in Canada. And half the things are hardly cheap.

                  1. re: justsayn

                    You're welcome to it all.

                    1. re: justsayn

                      A lot of their offerings are months old. Coffee and tea are two examples. Coffee from large roasting companies often has a stale date one year away. Winners can pick it up when it is close to the date and offer a good price. I tried a bag once, and it was stale and oxidized. I can't think of any really fresh packaged products at Winners or Homesense, yet I would buy a few things like smoked paprika, bomba rice, salt, or saffron there.

                      1. re: jayt90

                        For sure! Like anywhere you need to watch labels and expiry. I have great luck with health foods, snacks, spices, sauces and dried fruits.

                2. If I have time to spare (because it is often not productive), I like going there to look for imported butter cookies, ones that are hard to be found elsewhere. One of my favourites I keep seeing are butter cookies from Brittany (or at least France, I think), with apple bits inside.

                  They are certainly not inexpensive, though.

                  1. I buy fancy salts there, much cheaper than at the grocery store.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: piccola

                      +1 on the salts!

                      1. re: justsayn

                        Just to chime in, found Himalayan Pink Sea Salt at Bulk Barn. Got a nice little bag of it for a buck something.

                    2. As with anything else at Winners you have to be selective. A lot of their food can be more expensive than comparative quality other places, for example olive oil. That being said, I have found some great bargains there as well. Once they had DO (Denominacion de Origin) paella rice from Spain and I bought up every bag I could find. Also interesting risotto rice from Italy, not just Superfino Arborio but also Vialone Nano and Carnaroli. I also get a lot of very good teas there, though I usually wait until it is on clearance for around $3 a box.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mpad

                        i buy truffle oil from Winners and Marshalls in the US. Also pick up good deals on Starbucks coffee and other flavoured coffees. And some olive oil. And lots of Godiva and Lindt chocolates for the office.
                        I am happy with the quality.
                        I see lots of salsa and dips that I typically can find in US stores and airports. Usually $2 or $3 below retail. I do not buy those but prices are alright.

                      2. We've purchased whole bean coffee. Many different varities, most of it comes from the U.S., but as mentioned, check the dates. Over half of what they had at the Thornhill store (actually it was Homesense, but same thing), had expired last time I was there. Usually you can get something decent for about $10.

                        1. I bought some rum cake there and it could not have been moister! You could smell the fumes after opening the wrapper.

                          1. I recently bought Guittard Rouge Cocoa Powder and their Grand Cacao Drinking chocolate at Winners. They were $6 each. I was pretty happy to see them there.

                            I've also purchased Kona Coffee (50% Kona and 50% hawaiian beans) for $10. It was a 1 lb bag and the expiry date was a good 8 months away. The flavour was really nice. Balanced, bold, low acidity, and with a touch of caramel notes.

                            Snacks are pretty much my go to at Winners. I really love their Turkish Delight. It's better than anything else I've found retail (not homemade or from an authentic Middle Eastern/Mediterrean store) and you get over a 1 lb for $4.

                            1. bhuja crunch seasoned peas - great tasting healthy snack!

                              Organic Traditions Cacao Nibs. Some of the best I've had.

                              Seapoint Farms Dry Roasted Edamame Wasabi and Regular flavour are both very good too!

                              Haven't tried the Chicago mix pick popcorn yet which looks great nor the Pop Gourmet Popcorn.

                              Found these at both winners and homesense

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: justsayn

                                Pop Gourmet Popcorn was fantastic. Its a large bag of 8 or 10 single serving bags. Two flavours. Both very rich! The cheese and caramel is very much like the true Chicago style cheese popcorn (Garretts). The other is a caramel corn with almond roca mixed in. Both flavours require napkins!

                                1. re: justsayn

                                  I'm going to look for Pop at my local Winners...thanks for mentioning it!

                                  1. re: prima

                                    I grabbed a bag of it at Home Sense near Sherway this afternoon. They have a few more bags remaining. They are in the checkout lane.

                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      Also very tasty as it turns out... Wild thymes in the kitchen mamas original bbq sauce

                                      1. re: justsayn

                                        Thanks.

                                2. There was an apple and cinnamon spread that I got there that was not only super tasty, but also not full of crap. I would buy that again

                                  1. I've found some really good teas there that I've not been able to find elsewhere. I've also bought coconut oil there, and coffee..

                                    1. I actually scoped out the food section just because of this thread! Found one remaining jar of Dave's Gourmet Masala Marinara pasta sauce (expiry 2015) - it was great and I would definitely buy it again. A different take on pasta sauce with some interesting flavours - not sure who else in the GTA carries that brand though.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: apple_pie

                                        I saw some other flavours of Dave's Gourmet pasta sauce at Whole Foods this week, $8.99 a jar, iirc.

                                      2. I really like the Gary Poppins popcorn - the Chicago mix style one (cheddar + caramel and there's one w/ kettle too). It's pretty expensive (5.99 for a pack usually) but it's addictive and definitely reminds me of Garrett's!