Customer Question: Customer recommends Four Sisters products form Burlington. Vegan, gluten-free, and delicious.
Coop Answer: We are in the process of bringing this in. Look for it in the future. -Leo, Grocery Manager
Q: Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (non dairy sour cream). You have been out for several days...are you going to be getting it back in? It's the only non dairy sour cream you carry...
A: Better Than Sour Cream was temporarily out of stock from our distributor. It is now back. -Leo, Grocery Manager
Q: Lemon-Cayenne Kevita--just the thing for cold/flu season. Please reconsider stocking it. Thank you!
A: Ok. Look for it soon. -Leo, Grocery Manager
Q: Please--could we have another brand or different choices of Kombucha in bulk?
A: Due to space we cannot bring in anymore bulk Kombucha. Aquavitea occasionally rotates flavors. -Leo, Grocery Manager
Q: Can we get Marcona almonds? Hanover has them. Delicious.
A: Hello and thank you for the suggestion. We did have some through the holidays but they sold out. I will see if I can get them all the time. Stay tuned! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Can you please get the Clif Bar organic nut butter filled bars?
A: Thank you for the suggestion. This is on my list for after the holidays! Unfortunately, one item was recently recalled for foreign particles, there may be a delay before it is available again. Thanks! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Mary's Gone Crackers ginger cookies!
A: I have not seen these but will look out for them. Thank you! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Mochi Special Spice puh-lease! It makes my popcorn so much better.
A: Thank you, I am hoping to bring this in after the holiday season. Thank you for all your suggestions! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Vermochi Special Spice is amazing. You need to get it. I love it on everything, it's my favorite spice!
A: We hope to have room in the new year! Thank you! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Get Vermochi Special Spice, so good!
A: Thank you, we plan on bringing it in in the new year! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Please bring back Charleston Grits in the white cloth bag!
A: Thank you for your suggestion. Unfortunately, the sales on this item were extremely slow and we have discontinued this item. If you are interested in a special order, please contact Chadd (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have any other concerns, please contact me (email@example.com). Thanks! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: Rice Dream Egg Nog
A: Thank you for your suggestion. We preorder this item months in advance and though sales were slow last year, we blew through it this year. We should see more this week! Thank you! -Mary, Grocery Buyer
Q: I would like the hot food bar to include non-garlicy options each evening. Garlic is great, and good for us....but quite stinky if one is going to be social with people who haven't eaten it.
A: Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Garlic is wonderful but even too much can be socially uncomfortable as you said! We'll keep an eye on that for you and your friends! -Doug, Food Services Manager
Q: In the Deli: Salt and pepper shakers; on every table; full; everyday.
A: That should be the standard we meet every day. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. -Doug, Food Services Manager
Q: More than one kind of fresh baked gluten free muffin per day.
A: Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Given all the various dietary needs and consumer demand, some categories get only one choice--but that does change every day to add variety! -Doug, Food Services Manager
Q: Please have vegan chili again. I saw it once a long tie ago on the salad bar but haven't seen it since.
A: We offer it at least once a week (the one we make in house) on the hot bar. If you are referring to Joe's soup in the soup well, we only offer that one when he makes it into his rotation. -Doug, Food Services Manager
Q: New kale quiche is tasty! A bit less kale...
A: Thanks for the feedback on this. It is pretty chock full of kale isn't it. Well do some tinkering--let me know your thoughts and come by to tell me. -Doug, Food Services Manager
Q:Please bring back the biscuits on Sunday. I always come hoping for them!
A: Thank you for your input. You might just have a surprise in store. -Doug, Food Services Manager
Q: There are some rumors afoot that the wine selection/shelf space may be reduced. Speaking for myself and numerous friends who patronize the wine area, often as case purchasers, please don't do this!
A: There is a store reset in the works. Some of that will include the wine likely moving to a different section of the store and possibly have a smaller number of offerings. We will review the mix of offerings and sales reports so as to keep having your favorites and have very little impact on your experience when/if that happens.
-Doug, Food Services Manager
Q: Please carry Bonnieview Farm Coomersdale cheese.
A: Will be here for the holidays-sometime around the 16th. Please ask someone in cheese for it. Thanks! -Bibi, Cheese Buyer
Q: The bathrooms are filthy Mondays and they almost always smell like poop.
A: Thanks for your feedback. We just got some air purifying bags for the bathrooms and be keeping a closer eye on their cleanliness. Thanks again. -Mary, Facilities Manager
Q: Is it possible to increase the flow of the free water? It is real slow. Thanks.
A: Thanks for your inquiry. I am sorry to say it is not possible to increase the water flow right not. If we come across a way to increase the flow in the future we will do so. -Mary, Facilities Manager
Q: I always see people put trash into recycling in dining area. I have nearly done so myself. I think a redesign is necessary to separate the two receptacles more markedly or at least more distance.
A: Thank you for your comment on this. We have had a similar concern. Our Green Team is looking into alternative options that will help to more easily differentiate the receptacles. Thanks again for your awareness! -Mary, Facilities Manager
Q: I would like a customer compost bin at the Co-op.
A: Thanks for your suggestion. This is something we have looked into in the past and our Green Team just touched on the idea last week with our compost collector. We don't have a plan in place at this point, but we would be open to the idea if we could find some collaboration from a compost hauler. -Mary, Facilities Manager
Q: Does the Coop have a policy concerning the use of plastics in packaging? Seems like we ought to!
A: Our buying policies give preference to "minimal, recycled, and/or recyclable packaging." Nothing specific to plastic but happy to discuss further. -Kari, General Manager
Q: Thanksgiving--I'm so grateful for Coop staff members. Thank you.
A: You are welcome. Thank you for letting us know. -Kari, General Manager
Q: I writing about a concern I have had for a number of years about the producers of our coop products. I am somewhat new to Montpelier. I worked in Food Coops in Ann Arbor Michigan in the 70s and then moved to northern New York and lived on an organic farm. I opened and ran a natural foods restaurant for 20 years and then moved to Vermont. I had a small chocolate business and was a member on the board of Vermont Specialty Food Association. I have been in the food business all my life and am retired now.
Watching the rise of UNFI in the past 20 years has horrified me. One of the Coop tenets that was critical for me was creating a direct link between consumer and producer. UNFI is the Monsanto of the natural food world. As a producer I had meetings with UNFI buyers and they treated us poorly. They are bullies. UNFI squeezes producers for price. I have found it hard to trust the organization.
I would love to see signs at the Coop identifying directly bought goods from producers. On these foods, the money spend on them goes only to the Coop and the producer. If keeping dollars in the local economy is important, then sending a large portion of margin of food to UNFI is the opposite of the Coop philosophy. Adding signs that identify these products along with the producers is critical for shoppers to understand one of the big differences between a store and a coop. Having UNFI select which Vermont products are available is not a good option.
I would rather see dollars go to the producers. Is a local product one that is produced here and shipped to Connecticut and then back? Even though many foods cannot be produced here, buying directly from the producer rather than from UNFI establishes a relationship that benefits both.
While working in Ann Arbor, we rented a truck and brought rice from an Arkansas farmer. He at first wanted us to buy from Erewhon but we insisted that we would rather give him the money, even if the price was the same as buying from Erewhon. After a few years, Erewhon found a cheaper source of rice and stopped buying from him. He was happy he still had customers. I know buying directly from the producer involves more work, more deliveries, and creates additional invoices, so it is a challenge. I think it is work the time and energy to stand up for the principles of the Coop.
A: Thank you for your comments. Our Co-op works to emphasize local products. Last year 40% of sales came from Vermont products, and we purchased goods and services from 500 different VT businesses. UNFI is a large and powerful company for sure but based on my experience I don't share your view of them as "bullies". I will call you to discuss further. -Kari, General Manager