When we moved to this area in 2006, the pickings were slim for health food shopping – Costco, Trader Joe’s, and small, pricey health food sections of regular grocery stores. Since then things have changed a lot! We got a new Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market, and a Sunflower Farmers Market. But the latest edition excites me a lot because it’s even closer to home with a location opening just blocks from my house! Fresh & Easy is opening several new stores in the greater Sacramento area this month and I got to go to the launch event at The California Museum last night.
To be honest, I knew very little about Fresh & Easy before last night, just that it seemed like a slightly classier Trader Joe’s with budget friendly gourmet and organic foods, many sold under their own brand. But I learned so much more about the company’s mission, community involvement, green initiative, and high food standards for supporting local suppliers and avoiding less-healthy, processed products.
Last night’s event was well done with champagne being served around, open bars serving wine, plenty of food, and informational displays about the company and products. And it was not overly crowded, large, or noisy. But more of an intimate setting for guests to mingle and sample foods washed down with alcohol. I wasn’t the only food blogger invited, I ran into quite a few from the area documenting and learning.
The food was served in three stages – appetizers, hors d’ oeuvres, and dessert. No main course, but easy to make a well rounded meal sampling. Maybe even a little too rounded. That wasn’t a problem for me because there were only vegan friendly options on the appetizer table.
The appetizer display was gorgeous, very vibrant and tempting.
Large platters of fresh veggies always make me happy.
I had plenty of little plates of veggies, nuts, roasted pepper hummus, mango salsa, pita chips, and blue corn chips.
And washed it down with
one two glasses of champagne.
But switched to this for the rest of the evening since it was a longish drive home.
The open bar with a generous wine selection was inviting though, if only I didn’t have to be at work early this morning.
Later in the evening, John Burry, Fresh & Easy’s Chief Customer Officer, talked about the U.S. market research stating that at least 30% of Americans can’t cook and about half don’t start planning dinner until later in the afternoon. So many of Fresh & Easy’s ready made take home meals are healthier options to traditional fast food, but still budget friendly. Not options I’ll be testing out since I’m striving to eat more whole foods at home and have the time being childfree, but probably good for busy families.
He also discussed the Eat Well line of healthy snacks, local suppliers, and community involvement. I was impressed that he actually had a multi page list of food bloggers attending with stats such as number of Twitter followers, etc. But also glad I wasn’t singled out for a mention. :-)
After a long evening, I grabbed my swag bag and headed home to check out the loot – it contained an impressive sampler of products that were actually all vegan friendly.
I took the sour candies into work since I’m skipping as much sugar as I can. My co-workers apparently aren’t, they made the bag disappear quick with rave reviews. The coffee, tea, fruit bars, nut mix, crackers, and pancake mix will not go to waste! Hmmm, maybe pancakes for dinner this week…
I’m really looking forward to our local store opening next week and will have a full report of course.