I got a big shock this afternoon while shopping at our neighborhood Big Lots store.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Big Lots, it’s like a dollar store only bigger with a much wider selection of consumer goods.
As I walked quickly up and down the aisles trying to find a cheap, medium sized cooler, I suddenly came to a screeching halt when I spied out of the corner of my eye…
No it can’t be!
There in plain view on one of the main aisle end caps …
A prominent and very wide selection of Bob’s Red Mill Baking Supply Products!
I stopped and took this picture because it still hasn’t actually registered in my brain that this is indeed what I saw with my own two eyes.
Talk about out of place!
Nestled in amongst the cases of jumbo bags, boxes, and cans of ultra cheap, junky, no redeeming quality whatsoever, processed foods is this healthy selection of whole, grain based foods that appeals to Real Food Snobs like me!
Organic quinoa, old fashioned rolled oats, flaxseed meal, 7 grain hot cereal, even some gluten free pancake mix … bag after bag of stuff you would expect to find on an endcap at the healthfood store. Such products are not typically found even at a grocery store (unless in the very small “healthfood section”) let alone a Big Lots (I consider Big Lots a step down even from the supermarket).
Granted, few of the products were organic and there was no arrowroot powder to be found (that really would have wigged me out as I had just picked up a bag of Bob’s RedMill Arrowroot powder earlier in the day at the healthfood store to whip up some grain free ginger snaps for the kids’ lunches).
From what I can surmise, this aberration at the neighborhood Big Lots means one of two things:
- The Southeast Regional buyer for Big Lots is a major health nut.
- Real Food is indeed making some serious inroads into mainstream America.
I tend to think the latter reason is most plausible. There is no way a buyer for Big Lots would put his/her career on the line ordering a bunch of healthfood type products to be displayed so prominently on the endcap of a main aisle unless a profit could reliably be made – no matter what his/her culinary predilections.
So, here I am, still in shock at seeing Real Food products in a budget conscious, stripped down, bare bones retail establishment.
Have you had a Twilight Zone moment with Real Food in an unconventional setting? Tell us about it!
Be careful! At my local Big Lots some of the foods were expired. Their Cascadian Farm Organic cereals were expired too!!
Yes, they have Bob’s Red Mill at Big Lots in Michigan. It makes me wonder if Big Lots gets ‘older’, less fresh items (this applies to grains, seeds and starch as well, doesn’t it) ? There are also some other healthier items at Big Lots occasionally. I’ve seen Nature’s Path organic oatmeal and some other things. But it comes and goes.
Unfortunately, most of what is sold at Big Lots is there because it’s being discontinued.
I had the exact same reaction when I found Bob’s Red Mill foodstuff on an endcap here in Tyler, Texas! I couldn’t believe it! It was also at a reduced price so I stocked up. I really enjoy your articles and website! Thanks for the awesome information.
Hmmmm, I think I will be heading to Big Lots after work today! Also, you guys should check out Nora Mills in Helen, Ga (do a Google search)…they are 10 minutes from me and still grind on millstones powered by the Chattahoochee River..I know they also ship, and have some amazing whole grain products!
I was delighted to find the Bob’s stuff at Big Lots the other day, too…and also found some raw, unfiltered honey for a song!
Bob’s is a good company; it’s been available in NY for a long time in most grocery stores, albeit selection is limited. Now there are many more organic grains sold in the “organic / natural” section of the grocery stores, but Bob’s seems to be the cheapest. One bag of whole grains lasts me a long time, but I must say that Bob’s makes an AMAZING gluten-free hot cereal that is to die for! I found it in the gluten-free section in the baking aisle – Mighty Tasty GF Hot Cereal – it is SO GOOD! I ran out, but will have to buy more for the winter – I make it the same as Irish oatmeal or millet cereal – 1/4 cup dry cereal, 1-1/2 cups water, 4 TBS unsalted butter, and a good amount of salt – cook until all liquid is absorbed. I love salt, but I find using unsalted butter lets me better gauge the proper amount of salt to add without it becoming too salty. I then add a tiny pinch of natural sweetener (cane sugar, honey or Vermont Maple Syrup), and a good amount of whole milk. I always use more water when cooking grains than is recommended – it only takes a few minutes more, but my stomach can’t handle the normal 1:1 ratio. And the butter is SO important – 4 TBS to 1/4 dry grains is a 1:1 ratio of grains to fat (1 stick (8 TBS) = 1/2 cup butter). Plus, it makes it really creamy and yummy!
Lauren Sherry via Facebook
I wasn’t sure how these kind of things worked, I thought maybe things that didn’t sell at regular stores were sent to stores like Big Lots. I was grocery shopping yesterday at a mainstream grocery store with a few organic/natural aisles and Bob’s products are around $3.30 regular price.