I Tried More than 3-Dozen New Groceries Hitting Supermarket Shelves This October — These Are the 10 I’m Most Excited About

published Oct 25, 2021
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Credit: Courtesy of Willa's, Famous Amos, Ben & Jerry's, Red Lobster, Westbourne, Yóu Yóu

What’s on — or not on — grocery store shelves has taken on a “here one day, gone the next” tone that borders on alarmist. (Is recent coverage about supply chains taking anyone else back to Econ 101?) But that hasn’t stopped food companies from forging ahead with their latest and greatest this month, although a few of the items do have a limited-time-only vibe of their own.

Credit: Mara Weinraub

I tried dozens of new products that hit shelves this month, and they were a real mixed bag of surprise, delight, and inspiration. These are the new grocery items that stood out the most — including a creamy onion-flavored cheese and a trio of chocolate chip cookies. Let’s take a look!

Credit: Mara Weinraub

1. Boursin Caramelized Onion & Herbs Gournay Cheese

For a cheese that contains just toasted onion powder and less than 2 percent dried onion, the scent and flavor is surprisingly similar to caramelized onions. One friend likened the smell to French onion soup. I added this creamy, crumbly cheese to a board with several others, and let’s just say it was the first to go. The leafy packaging of the limited-edition flavor screams fall, but I can see myself enjoying this well into winter, should they decide to keep it around longer. Look for it in the deli section of major retailers nationwide including Hy-Vee, Schnucks, Albertsons, Publix, Jewel, and more.

Credit: Mara Weinraub

2. Famous Amos Cookies

Famous Amos has new cookies. My only question: “Would they be as good as the originals?” TL;DR: Yes! They’re still crispy crumbly, like I remember, but the texture is softer. My testers and I liked the Philippine Coconut and White Chocolate Chip the most, and the Mediterranean Hazelnut and Chocolate Chip were a surprising close second. They’re now available in grocery stores and retailers nationwide.

Credit: Mara Weinraub

3. Partake Limited Edition Crunchy Holiday Sprinkle Cookies

The holidays are here, basically, and with that comes these festive new, limited-edition cookies. Like all Partake cookies, these are gluten-free, vegan, top 9 allergen-free, and non-GMO. The sprinkles in the Crunchy Holiday Sprinkle cookies are smaller and less pronounced than traditional sprinkles and I’m here for it. I especially liked the cookie’s hint of vanilla flavor and crunchy texture. I set them out Friday evening when I hosted a small game night and players dubbed them a winner. You can find them online or at Sprouts Farmers Markets.

Buy: Crunchy Holiday Sprinkle Cookies, $14.99 for 3 5.5-ounce boxes

Credit: Mara Weinraub

4. Willa’s Dark Chocolate with Maple Sugar Oat Milk

I typically use unsweetened vanilla oat milk in overnight oats and smoothies — rarely do I drink it (or any milk) on its own. But this new flavor from Willa’s has a rich, dark chocolate flavor bolstered by the sweetness of the maple sugar. It added new dimension and variety to my morning staples, and was good enough to drink straight-up. It’s available online and in stores nationwide.

Buy: Dark Chocolate with Maple Sugar Oat Milk, $13.50 for 2 32-ounce cartons

Credit: Mara Weinraub

5. West~Bourne Togarashi Crunch

I paused midway through typing this sentence to grab a handful of this crunchy, smoky, savory, umami snack mix — that’s how good it is. (I should probably just remove it from arm’s reach.) Made with organic corn crisps, smoked almonds, kettle puffed rice, chili-rubbed quicos, and a house togarashi spice blend, this snack mix is also a favorite of our Executive Lifestyle Director, Lisa. (She was pumped when I told her it was back and available nationwide.) Bonus: The packaging is recyclable (or reusable) or 100% compostable, and all printed materials are produced on seed paper with soy-based ink.

Buy: Togarashi Crunch, $13.99 for 7 ounces at West~Bourne

Credit: Mara Weinraub

6. Yóu Yóu Organic Tea Seed Oil

If you’re the type of person who collects oils, same. My roommate and I currently have five on our compact countertop (vegetable oil, two different olive oils, sesame oil, this tea seed oil) and two more in our cabinet. Yóu Yóu (which means ‘oil oil’ and is pronounced ‘yo-yo’) Organic Tea Seed Oil takes 8 years to produce — from seed to harvest to cold press — and has a high smoking point of 486°F. According to the site, this little-known oil is light with slight botanical undertones and a texture that is similar to grapeseed oil with a slight nutty flavor. It also contains antioxidants called catechins, which are predominantly found in green tea. So far, I’ve used it to roast vegetables, dress a salad, make stir-fry, and scramble eggs (I didn’t even miss the butter!).

Buy: Yóu Yóu Organic Tea Seed Oil, $39.99 for 500ml at Yóu Yóu

Credit: Mara Weinraub

7. Ortega Mini Taco Slider Shells

All too frequently, I find the bread-to-filling ratio in a slider to be off; the former overwhelms the latter and, a bite or two in, I end up just picking at what’s left of the mini sandwich’s meat. But these taco sliders, to my delight, do not suffer from the same problem. Available at Walmart stores nationwide, the shells are bigger than what I (and the rest of the diners) expected. We also hypothesized these would be great for kid-sized hands (and mouths) to handle. ​​

Buy: Ortega Mini Taco Slider Shells, $2.48 for 18 at Walmart

Credit: Mara Weinraub

8. Red Lobster Ready-to-Bake Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Two words: buttery biscuits. Red Lobster just dropped new frozen, ready-to-bake biscuits (available exclusively at Walmart). Similar to their mix, the box comes with a garlic-herb seasoning packet that you stir into melted butter (not provided) and then spoon or brush onto “each hot biscuit.” The herb butter sauce was all I could taste when I bit into the biscuit and, for that reason alone, I quickly inhaled the remaining three bites. The following day, I picked up six biscuits from a local Red Lobster to compare. The straight-from-the-restaurant biscuits were lighter and more airy than the frozen, ready-to-bake ones, and they had a stronger cheddar flavor, but they weren’t freshly coated in butter.

Buy: Red Lobster Ready-to-Bake Cheddar Bay Biscuits, $4.98 at Walmart

Credit: Mara Weinraub

9. La Rossi Frozen Veggie Pizza

If you live in the immediate New York-metro area, you may have sampled this mother-daughter duo’s frozen pizzas. But as of October 24, the company is shipping to NY, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, with more states rolling out throughout January 1. Their newest pizza features “fall vegetables,” including roasted butternut squash, onion, bell peppers, and broccoli, and is topped with Pecorino cheese. Made with locally sourced ingredients, it tastes as fresh as frozen can be — especially the crust, which is so tender my fellow samplers were amazed when I revealed the pizza came from my freezer, not my local pizza place. As a group, we likened this pizza to more of a flatbread; two people said they’d prefer to cut it up and serve it as an appetizer.

Buy: La Rossi Frozen Veggie Pizza, $13.99 at La Rossi

Credit: Mara Weinraub

10. Ben & Jerry’s Change Is Brewing Ice Cream

I’m not someone who drinks coffee or seeks out coffee-flavored foods, but I would buy this if I saw it in my local grocery store. My roommate — a routine coffee drinker — sampled some and she was also a Big Fan of the ice cream flavored with cold brew coffee from BLK & Bold, marshmallow swirls, and fudge brownies from Greyston Bakery. The limited-batch flavor is available nationwide on store shelves and at participating Ben & Jerry’s shops. Bonus: A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the ice cream will go to grassroots groups working to transform public safety in America. 

More info: Ben & Jerry’s

Which of these are you most excited about?