One cannot begin a blog post praising Walmart without observing that many people have many objections to the
manner in which this giant retailer operates. Some of the grievances may be valid, some may not be. When someone, some organization, or some company gets something right, no matter how many righteous complaints people have about that entity, that object of indignation deserves a bit of praise so that it may be encouraged to continue moving the right direction. In the past couple of years, Wal–Mart has rolled out a series of smaller stores, to which it refers as neighborhood markets. These stores sell groceries, and not much else. Recently, a Walmart Neighborhood Market opened on DeZavala, in NW San Antonio. I usually do not do any of my grocery shopping at Walmart; anyone who has to eat gluten-free probably doesn’t. Out of curiosity, as I was driving past the store last week, I stopped to see what gluten-free products I might find in that store. I was really surprised at what I found. Not only does this little market have a wide variety of shelf-stable name-brand gluten-free products, it prices them so decently that that even people who have to eat gluten-free on a budget will be able to splurge. Following a gluten-free diet is expensive, and not everyone who has to eat gluten-free has an income that easily supports their dietary necessity. Here is where we have to give Walmart a kudo for making a gluten-free diet a little less financially painful.
I tried to get a picture of the gluten-free shelf-stable section of the store, but I’m not sure my photograph does the section justice.
Among the gluten-free shelf offerings that I found personally exciting are these Baum’s ice cream ones, about which I’ve written before:
One can see by the prices of the Great Value products that Walmart makes eating gluten-free much less expensive. Here is where I have to add a qualifier to my praise of Walmart’s efforts to serve those who must, or who choose, to eat gluten-free. Although the Great Value pasta has the same ingredients as name brand gluten-free pastas, people who are discriminate about the added ingredients in the processed foods they choose to eat might want to weigh the ingredient lists of the other Great Value products against the ingredient lists of similar products manufactured by better known, albeit more expensive, gluten-free companies. I saw some ingredients in a couple of the Great Value products that I would probably not want to have in the food I choose to eat. Realistically, something probably has to suffer in the making of less expensive gluten-free processed foods, and it most likely will effect the quality of the ingredients.
The gluten-free offerings in the freezer section of the Walmart Neighborhood Market is less impressive than the shelf-offerings, but at least as good as any of the frozen gluten-free offerings one finds at the local HEBs in ATX and SATX. The Udi’s breads and buns are certainly priced lower than they are at HEB.
Walmart Neighborhood Market is a least worth a visit now and then, if even just to encourage more large retailers in their attempt to serve and please people who must, or who prefer, follow a gluten-free diet.