Saturday, May 17, 2014

USA in my supermarket

I’ve often talked about first arriving in New Zealand and looking for American food products, or equivalent local products. Now, my local grocery store stocks American products they never have before. I honestly don’t know what to make of it.

The photo at left (click to embiggen) is of my local Countdown’s selection of strictly US food products. Other more international products are available in their normal sections (like, Coke and Pepsi, Kellogg’s cereals, those sorts of things*). The stuff in the new section isn’t normally or easily available in New Zealand.

On the one hand, I think this is great: When I want something American, it’s nice to have it a few minutes drive away. However, I have no idea what some of those products are, and I know that most of them aren’t healthy at all.

Among the “good to have” things, though, is the tinned pumpkin (photo below). A while back, someone Tweeted a photo of the tinned pumpkin at their local Countdown, and I've been on the look out for it ever since. Countdown charges $4.99 for a tin, while the only other place I could get it, American products store Martha’s Backyard, sells it for $6 (all prices subject to change, of course). Being able to get that easily will come in handy, and I may actually make pumpkin pie more often (I’ve never made it for my mother-in-law, for example).

The availability of these products means, I guess, that there are enough North Americans living in this area that the stuff will actually sell. It’s in the international foods area of the store, right next to South African products, and I know there are many South Africans living on the North Shore.

However, it won’t replace Martha’s Backyard. Part of the attraction of that store for me is the immersion it offers—kind of like going back to my homeland without enduring that long flight. A small section in my local grocery store just can't offer that kind of experience.

So, this is a good, but not great thing. Sometimes, that really is enough.

*I should note that most of those products are actually made locally, like Kellogg's cereals, for example, that are made in Australia. Coke and Pepsi products are made here, but differently: They have sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Other products actually made in North America are available in the store and have been for a long time, things like Best Foods mayonnaise and Canadian maple syrup.


Mark From Slap said...

You don't have pumpkin in New Zealand? That may strike it off my list of places to move forever…

rogerogreen said...

There are foods on US supermarket shelves that I don't recognize!

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Well, we do now… There haven't been all that many Americans or Canadians here, so not much demand for the stuff. Maybe that's changing? Our weather's definitely better.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

I noticed the same thing the last time I was in the USA and went to a grocery store. But I also noticed it had far more aisle space devoted to ice cream
and frozen desserts than it gave to tinned fruits and vegetables or
other more or less "healthy" foods. In all aisles, the store was mostly filled with products entirely unknown to me—but there were enough familiar things that I didn't feel too much like I was in a foreign country (even though, in a sense, I was…)