Grocery Outlet, Supermarket Chain Where Oddball Products End Up

While working on the recent Laughing Squid post featuring Alex and Liam, the two adorable Brits pointing out product absurdities in a Los Angeles Walmart, it got me thinking about the U.S. discount supermarket chain, Grocery Outlet. While we jokingly call it The Food Museum amongst friends, I want to go on record as saying I am a huge fan of this chain and I actually shop here.

Grocery Outlet operates by turning manufacturer’s “excess inventory into cost recovery opportunities” and then passes the big savings on to their customers. Because they buy overstocks, seasonal and soon-to-be-expired items, the store itself is a mish-mash of oddball products and each visit is a relatively new experience. So, if there is something you really like, buy a ton of it as it will probably be gone in the future (sorry to see you go tiny box of Japanese Cap’n Crunch). Another thing to note, inventory in each store varies, so what you might find in one may not be in another. Over the years I have documented the products in their stores that sang out to me knowing it might be the last time I’ll ever see it.

Often times the products found here were ill-conceived ideas to begin with, had a packaging typo, are using an expired movie promotion or some such. For explanation purposes, I will use the frozen 7-eleven convenience store brand Panko Breaded Onion Petals as an example of ill-conception. First, they are 7-eleven brand which probably means stoner food (speaking of which check out the ‘baked’ Scooby snax, sorry Scooby-Doo cinnamon-flavored graham cracker sticks). Second, they advertise ‘sweet Spanish onions’ with an “Aussie dipping sauce” and if I’m not mistaken, panko bread crumbs are Japanese. A lot of international love is spread a little too thin for one product.

If Alex and Liam had a good time filming at Walmart, imagine what they would come up with strolling around Grocery Outlet.

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff