Heinen’s in Barrington, Illinois
When you consider the shopping experience at Heinen’s, a 23-store supermarket chain out of Cleveland, you certainly know that it’s unique – a weird combination of Whole Foods, a traditional supermarket and the “treasure hunt” of a Costco. The major brands are stocked, but their shelf placement is diminished, like nothing I have ever seen. Aisle after aisle, the feature is the excitement generated by the “challenger” brands.
- One challenger brand I noticed at Heinen’s was Stonewall Kitchen. It all began in 1991 at a farmers market in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The handsome product line now spans 16 categories including jams, preserves and spreads, baking and pancake mixes, salsas and hot sauces, snacks, etc.
- Here are two soap brands that deserve a second look (and smell). Blue Mound Soap Co. and Indigo Wild, the makers of Zum Bar soap – two companies that emerge from the U.S. heartland. Indigo Wild is located in Kansas City, Missouri, and Blue Mound is 100 miles down the road. In both cases I’m struck by the high quality of the products and the culture of both companies giving back to their community.
- Evol Foods is part of the growing family of brands under the umbrella of Boulder Brands, which is committed to nurturing healthy and natural brands. They are seeking to redefine food and nutrition because “it’s the right thing to do.” Evol started by making burritos in Colorado and have now extended to single and multi-serving meals and breakfast items. Their motto: “Bring down the broken food system one bite at a time.”
- In another of the “invisible” acquisitions, Happy Family Organics was acquired by Danone in 2013, just seven years into Happy Family’s journey. This mom-founded and operated baby food business is driven by a “social imperative to address the health issues linked to childhood nutrition.” It shows that you can’t start early enough to change the way we eat.
- These Two Fat Guys brought tears to my eyes – literally. Their lava hot sauce is not subtle. Two Fat Guys – Kent and Bob – have embarked on a journey to produce barbecue sauce that is good for you: gluten-free, whole ingredients, non-GMO, no high fructose corn syrup and preserved with lemon juice. Note that Heinen’s does a nice job of promoting locally sourced products.