Friday, April 13, 2007

Drink crystal dilemma

Look in my fridge and you will usually see a pitcher or two of juice, grape and orange. For over 20 years I have purchased and enjoyed drink crystals from Crosby Molasses Co. A few months back, I began to notice a trend at both Sobeys and Superstore of the product starting to disappear from the shelves. I filled out customer comments, talked to product managers, and still didn't get any closer to an answer on why the product wasn't available.

Last week, I wrote to Crosby's directly, figuring that if the product was not available at any of the grocery chains, perhaps they've decided to stop manufacturing them. The answer I received was quite different than what I expected. Crosby's told me they are still making them, are more than willing to sell them to the chains, but that some chains have delisted the product. Delisting not only means that they no longer stock it on their shelves, but that individual store managers can't special order the items in for customers. Crosby's said that none of the NB grocery outlets were ordering the product anymore, and I fear that may be a national decision. They suggested I could get a local corner store to order it for me through a wholesaler, or it may still be carried out-of-province. Crosby Molasses Co. is a company located in Saint John. I can drive there in a matter of minutes, yet I can't buy this product anywhere in the province. So much for supporting local companies.

Armed with this knowledge, I set out to write emails to 3 grocery chains:

Atlantic Superstore: They answered me the next day. They said "procurement in Brampton" were delisting the crystals in favor of the new singles crystals (I assume they mean that Crystal Light product). They said they only had so much room on their shelves, and had to get rid of the old to make way for the new. Sort of understandable. I wrote them back and pushed a bit more, asking if they could at least list the product so it could be special ordered, without the stores actually having to stock it.

Co-op: Co-op doesn't sell the product, but I asked if they could start to stock it, or if they would special order it for me. Their response was that they didn't list the product either, but that their private brand crystals were made by the same company. I could buy those and it would be cheaper than the name brand. I have purchased their brand before, and it is a decent substitute... but it's still not the same. I know my juice.

Sobeys: They have yet to answer my email.

Once I noticed that Sobeys was trying to get rid of the product, I bought what remained of a case of grape that had been reduced to clear. I will live off that for a while until I figure out what to do. I am out of orange, so I've had to use the Co-op brand, which isn't as sweet. I may try using less water and seeing if that makes a difference. I also stopped by the Bilk Barn and bought some of their orange drink crystals to see if it was anywhere near the same.

If any of you reading this blog live elsewhere in the Maritimes, would you take a look the next time you buy groceries and see if you find Crosby's drink crystals in Grape or Orange?


Cyn said...

Certainly will do when we go for groceries next weekend. Since you mentioned they're not available in NB, probably no point in checking up here in Miramichi, I suppose.

We'll be up here until tomorrow morning so let me know if you'd like me to check. Hmm... I wonder if Zellers has any. They carry random stuff like that.

Cyn said...

We checked Sobeys, Zellers, and Superstore here. The first 2 were definitely negative. Superstore offered a glimmer of hope as I walked down the aisle and saw the familiar packaging... Sadly. Several cases of every darned flavour EXCEPT orange and grape!

We'll keep looking and I'll check in Halifax too for ya.

liz said...

Thanks, I appreciate that. Yeah, same in Superstore here. They told me they're phasing it out flavor by flavor, and apparently orange and grape were the first to go. *sigh. Crosby's told me I could still find it out-of-province, so that's why I'm hoping it's somewhere in NS.

Cyn said...

Tomorrow morning on my way to take the rental car back I'll stop in both Superstore & Walmart. Hopefully one of them will have it. Actually, if Walmart has it that will be a good thing! Have you checked there?

This is a juice crisis similar to the closing of the dominion store!!! I feel like writing an Ode to Grape Juice. lol