The Best New Groceries to Hit Supermarket Shelves This October
There’s always something new hitting grocery store shelves, which is what makes grocery shopping so fun. You never know what you’re going to find. This month, as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, the new stuff all seemed designed with comfort food in mind: soups, chocolates, and “chicken” nuggets. Some even had a healthy spin. I tasted my way through as many new groceries as I could get my hands on to find the best ones.
Here’s what’s worth seeking out.
1. McConnell’s Ice Cream, $9 for 16 ounces
I don’t think I’ve ever had a blah pint of ice cream from this 70-year-old Santa Barbara dairy. In fact, most are so good, they haunt my day dreams (looking at you, Eureka Lemon & Marionberry). So I couldn’t wait to try the three new limited-edition flavors that just rolled out. Not a single one disappoints. The Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate is deep and dark, like devil’s food cake in ice cream form, with a ribbon of ganache and crispy bits of chocolate chips. Normally I look at chocolate ice cream as just a vehicle for add-ins like nuts, toffee, or peanut butter, but this one has won me over to the dark side. For those (like me) who love lots of chunks in their ice cream, the Rockier Road takes a mellower chocolate ice cream base and pours in a huge handful of smoked almonds. Instead of bits of marshmallow, they’ve swirled in marshmallow sauce, so every bite is guaranteed some of the good stuff. Best of all is the Cinnamon and Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (think: super-cinnamony ice cream all chunked up with soft, slightly salty bits of oatmeal cookies studded with plump raisins).
Available nationwide wherever McConnell’s ice cream is sold.
2. Forager Sour Cream, $4 for 12 ounces
Thanks to plant-based alternatives, going dairy-free doesn’t mean you have to forgo your favorite creamy foods. Forager Project, which uses organic cashews and coconut cream to recreate dairy favorites like yogurt and coffee creamer, just introduced its version of probiotic sour cream. I was a bit skeptical at first, but the taste was great — very clean and fresh and mildly tart, like crème fraîche. The texture is a bit more like jiggly Jell-O than thick, creamy sour cream, but no matter what I plopped it on, it stood in nicely for the real thing.
Available at Wegmans, Natural Grocer’s, Central Market, and Erewhon.
3. Health-Ade Grape Vibes, $4 for 16 ounces
I love super-tart kombuchas, but not everyone wants to feel like they’re sipping on liquid Sour Patch Kids. Enter: Health-Ade Kombucha’s new Grape Vibes. It’s the company’s 16th flavor and probably the most approachable. The tartness is very mild and kid-friendly. There’s the barest hint of grape jelly flavor, but mostly it tastes sweet, like white grape juice, splashed with a teeny bit of vinegar. If you’ve been wanting to get on the kombucha bandwagon but can’t handle sour, this might be the one for you.
Available nationwide wherever Health-Ade is sold.
4. Raised and Rooted Nuggets, $5 for 8 ounces
Everyone is getting into the alternative meat game, but not always with delicious results. I’ve had some questionably flavored faux chicken nuggets in the past, so I approached these frozen guys with skepticism. Turns out, they’re really delicious! They taste savory and salty and fast-food-y, like good nuggs should, and the coating bakes up nice and crisp. (Microwaving results in a flabbier coating, but the inside stays a bit more juicy.) They’re made with pea protein, bamboo fiber, flaxseed, and egg whites, so they pack a protein punch — 9 grams per serving.
Available nationwide at major retailers, including Walmart.
5. Rao’s Soups, $5 for 16 ounces
Everyone love’s Rao’s pasta sauce, so it’s no surprise the company’s new canned soups are some of the best you can buy. They’re actually not canned, they’re bottled in glass jars, which is somehow more appealing because it makes them feel more homemade. Best of all they’re truly packed with ingredients, so they’re filling and substantial. Now that cold and flu season is here, I’ll be stocking up on these. They come in six Italian-inspired flavors: Italian Chicken Noodle, Vegetable Minestrone, Italian Wedding, Tomato Basil, Pasta & Fagioli, and Chicken & Gnocchi. The chicken noodle didn’t wow me, but it was far better than most canned brands. The best flavors were the ones with a tomato base. I particularly loved the thick and rich Pasta & Fagioli. You just can’t go wrong with pasta and beans.
Read more: Rao’s Just Launched 6 Shelf-Stable Soups — We Tried Them All And We’re Totally Obsessed
Available nationwide, including Albertsons, Safeway, Smart & Final, Kroger, Publix, Sprouts, and Walmart.
6. Jimmy Dean Morning Combos, $3 for 3.5 ounces
Okay, so there’s nothing even remotely high-brow about these, but when you have to grab breakfast or a snack on the run, they hit the spot. Plus, kids love them. Each pack contains four fully cooked sausage bites and one blueberry muffin or a short stack of tiny maple pancakes. Just 30 seconds in the microwave and they’re good to go. The sausages taste like classic breakfast sausages. The baked goods taste exactly how they look: very sweet and indulgent.
Available nationwide at major retailers, including Target.
7. Good Source Foods Dark Chocolate Clusters, $6.50 for 4 ounces
If giving in to your chocolate cravings often results in a sugar crash, you might want to check out these “functional” treats. They’re made with dark chocolate mixed with pea protein, omega-3 fats, and soluble fiber, so they’re actually quite filling and not so high on the glycemic index. The three flavors are meant to be eaten at different times of day. Morning Jump has ginger root and green tea for energy. Afternoon Boost has dried apples and cayenne pepper for a fiber and metabolism boost. Evening Calm has lavender powder and dark cherries for nighttime calming. They’re very rich, so only a cluster or two is all I needed to feel like I had a substantial snack. The brand is currently nailing down new retailers, so keep your eyes open for it.
Available in select regional retailers, including UNFI/Supervalu and Nieman’s Family Market.
8. Fresh Cravings Plant-Based Dips, $4 for 8 ounces
The term “plant-based dip” might not sound exciting, but I assure you these vegan dips are super delicious. They’re made with almonds or cashews, so they’re keto-friendly and protein-rich. They’re even mixed with hemp seeds and coconut aminos. But aside from being good for you, they’re truly packed with flavor. The Kickin’ Queso reminds me of nacho cheese Doritos. The Creamy Garlic and Spicy Garlic taste like amped-up hummus. And the Smokehouse could have been gross, but it’s actually my favorite. (It’s savory, a little smoky, a little spicy, and just all-around perfect.) I’ve never been one to enjoy snacking on carrot and celery sticks, but with these dips I haven’t been able to stop. They’d also be good mixed with pasta or vegetable noodles. Look for them in the produce aisle.
Available nationwide at Walmart. The organic versions are available at Publix stores (for $4.59) and will roll out to additional chains in the near future.
9. Santé Nuts, $5 for 4 ounces
I hesitated to put these on this list because they’re only available in stores on the West Coast right now, but you can find them on Amazon. And they’re just THAT good. Yes, even though fancy candied nuts are a dime a dozen these days. They’re big, beautiful and so perfectly, satisfyingly crispy that it’s like torture to put the bag down. The company’s new flavors just hit stores on the West Coast. The Bourbon Pecans have a butter-toffee, caramel-like flavor while the Pumpkin Spice have hints of cinnamon, allspice, and clove. None of the nuts are cloyingly sweet, and the cocoa-dusted Chocolate Almonds are almost savory in their cocoa-depth, making them a
Available in Northern California at Lunardis, Draegers and Safeway.
Which of these are you most excited to try?