The Best New Groceries – December 2021

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‘Tis the season … for major shopping! And groceries are absolutely no exception. While you’ve got to buy your seasonal favorites, this month happens to be full of new and novel releases. Seriously, each new grocery feels like a gift — and they keep coming, like an Advent calendar.

Yes, I picked 17 items to make this final list, but I swear we exercised some restraint. That just goes to show how impressive these new launches truly are. I loved so many things I tried; these were just my absolute favorites.

Without further ado, these are some of the latest and greatest grocery store additions to his stores (and virtual shelves) this December.  

1. Veggies Made Great Keto Muffins

Let’s start with breakfast, shall we? I often skip it, but when I tried these new keto-friendly muffins from Veggies Made Great, suddenly I had more reason to rise in the morning. Nuked from frozen in about half a minute, the Cinnamon Bun, Raspberry Chocolate, and Mochaccino flavors taste exactly as they promise — which is to say, much less virtuous than they actually are. I couldn’t detect the zucchini and carrots baked into the warm, springy bites, nor did I miss the sugar in the chocolate chips or detect the allulose and monkfruit subtly swapped in.  

Find them in stores: Veggies Made Great Muffins, $5.99 for 6 muffins at Lowe’s Market; or $12.59 for 20 at select Costco stores in January 2022

2. Minerva Dairy Everything Bagel and Lemon Poppy Seed Butter

Prefer to start your day on a more savory note? The six-generation, Amish butter-makers at Minerva Dairy have added two new flavors to their lineup of luxurious, small-batch butter. Because it’s made of 85% butterfat — higher than the American industry standard — their butter is extra rich. Their Everything Bagel blend is generously everything-ed without being overwhelming, and the Lemon Poppy is simply unbelievable. The flavor flirts between light acidity, a hint of sweetness, and subtle saltiness, while the seeds offer a pleasant nuttiness. Slather this on some blueberry pancakes like I did and you might never go back to plain butter.

Find it in stores: Minerva Dairy Lemon Poppy Seed Butter, $8.99 for 8 ounces

3. Super Coffee White Chocolate Peppermint

Move over, #PumpkinSzn — it’s peppermint’s turn and I couldn’t be more excited. In fact, I suffer through the shower of pumpkin spice just to get to mint chocolate month, and Super Coffee has awarded my patience with a delicious trifecta of White Chocolate Peppermint Bark caffeine bombs: ready-to-drink protein-infused 12-ounce bottles; Super Pods for single-serve machines; and shelf-stable Super Creamer. All three are available nationwide, but if you want to try all the renditions before committing to a case, snag the Holiday Bundle, whose $25 price tag pays for itself with free shipping (through 2/28/22) and inclusion of a $25 gift card for new customers. This pack comes with a classic no-sugar bottle, plus the creamer and dark roast.

4. Waka Coffee Green Tea Powder

Prefer a more subtle pick-me-up? This new green tea ought to do it! This past year, Waka Coffee has outgrown their company name, as they branched out from powdered beans to leaves. Following their recent launch of instant Kenyan Black and then Japanese Matcha is this new 100% premium green blend. Everything I’ve ever tried from additive-free Waka comes out delightfully full-flavored, and this is no exception. The by-the-spoonful packaging means you can strengthen or lighten up your boost to your taste. Another great thing: A portion of the proceeds from every purchase goes toward clean water projects through their Add Water, Give Water program.

5. RIND Snacks Island Upcycled Dried Fruit

While we’re on earth-friendly food, we’ve got a new nutrient-dense, zero-waste option coming our way this month, with a new limited-edition flavor from RIND Snacks. In each bag, you’ll find honeydew, mandarin, and banana chews for summery snacking pleasure, right smack-dab in the middle of winter. Just as with the rest of their line of skin-on, air-dried fruits, this mix boasts more fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients than conventional dried fruits, and less overall waste.

6. Snow Days Sausage Pizza Bites

Pizza bites! But made over! Since they launched earlier this year with their delicious gluten-free, veggie-packed cheese blend, Snow Days has been on fire. The Veggie White flavor was a huge hit, and humanely raised pork sausage joins the pack this month, just ahead of a new (hint, hint) football season-appropriate flavor headed our way in late January. The sausage of this one takes the form of crumbles within the cassava flour pockets, and has a pronounced flavor in the best way possible.

Fans of both pizza and Shark Tank, rejoice: The Pizza Cupcake is now nationally available as of this month! Previously, these puffy snacks were only offered at Wegmans and select Whole Foods in New York, but now folks can order them for shipment all across the country. For those not familiar, these are essentially little brioche and sourdough buns with a center pool filled with a dollop of sauce, fresh mozzarella, a sprinkle of herbs and a slice of pepperoni (if you get that version). They’re more subtle than marketed — only slightly buttery, hinting at flakiness, and more filling than I’d expected … not that that stopped me from eating a third.

Italian food is a gift that keeps on giving, and this specialty flash-frozen meal brand is expanding their offerings this month with two new pasta options. First, there’s the Five Cheese Fiochetti, egg pasta pouch filled with ricotta, Parmesan, Gouda, fontina, and Romano cheese beneath a sauce of grass-fed beef Bolognese. Then there’s the brand’s first gluten-free dish, Macaroni and Cheese using red lentil pasta, a barbecue cheese sauce, and chicken breast. The sweetness of the sauce plays well with the cheese without taking over, and it doesn’t taste nor feel gluten-free at all. Add broccoli and carrots like I did for effortless added nutrition — Cadence Kitchen’s recipes are always a great base. And like the rest of their products, they’re ideal for stovetop reheating and ready to eat in less than 10 minutes.

Find them in stores: $8.99 for 16 ounces at Save Mart, Lucky Supermarkets, Food Lion, Meijer, Meijer Corner Markets, Fresh Thyme, and New Pioneer

9. Mori-Nu Plus Fortified Tofu

It’s mapo tofu weather, and just in time for it, is a new way to soy up. GMO-free Morinaga Mori-Nu has always been my Asian family’s brand of choice for silken tofu, so you can imagine my delight in their development of a version that’s impossibly creamier, smoother … and now enhanced with nutrients that make it an even better protein choice! I’m talking Vitamin D, calcium, prebiotics, and a proprietary postbiotic called LAC-Shield. Like their regular line, this just-launched Fortified version is also shelf-stable, comes in aseptic packaging, and is so subtly sweet and delicious that I could eat it plain. Unlike the regular line, though, this is an online exclusive. And I’ll be buying it by the case.

Find it in stores: Mori-Nu Plus Fortified Tofu, $9 for three 12.5-ounce packages

10. Deep Indian Kitchen Frozen Meals

Deep Indian Kitchen is making four of its recipes available at select Walmart locations across the country for the first time. You’ll be able to get the major classics — Chicken Vindaloo, Chicken Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Spinach Paneer — at this new outlet. Additionally, with each box you’re buying from this Indian American family brand, you’re not only supporting a minority-owned business but also the Deepkiran Foundation, which provides underprivileged children in rural India with access to education necessities, including schools, supplies, lunches, and clothing.

11. Cleveland Kitchen Bread & Butta and Big Kosher Pickles

It seems like just yesterday that these fermented food experts unveiled their outstanding Dilly Garlic pickles, but already, they’ve got new additions for the collection. Look for King Koshers this month, which are lightly fermented whole cucumbers swimming in garlic and dill, and the debut of their Bread & Butta chips for a little sweet to go with the sass of pickles. Every bite is consistently crunchy and satisfying, and remains fresh to the end of the tub.

Find them in stores: Cleveland Kitchen Bread & Butta Pickles, $6.99 for 24 ounces; Cleveland Kitchen King Kosher Pickles, $7.99 for 32 ounces at Sprouts

12. Elda’s Kitchen Spyki and Theo’s Steakhouse Sauces

This retro, ‘50s-themed brand is adding to their flavor family with two new, spice-driven flavors. Theo’s Steakhouse is a blend of sweet, smoky, and hot, while Spyki takes that profile east with a red jalapeño-enhanced teriyaki recipe. They’re part of a lineup of gluten-free, vegan-friendly, small-batch, and small-bottle all-purpose sauces. You can use them as a marinade or cooking sauce — they won’t mind!

Find them in stores: Elda’s Kitchen Spyki and Theo’s Steakhouse Sauces, $4.99 for 8 ounces at Lazy Acres or Harris Teeter

13. Sweet Chaos Drizzle Black & White Sugar Cookie Popcorn

Forget about those three-flavor tins of popcorn for the holidays! They’re classic and they’re delicious, but they’ve gotten a seasonal glow-up with this non-GMO, coconut oil-cooked, handmade kettle corn. Joining their previously released seasonal flavors of Peppermint Crunch and Iced Gingerbread is now the Black & White Sugar Cookie, which channels both types of treats — New York-style black and whites and sugar cookies — and features, what they call, dark and white “confectionery coatings” all over the neutral vehicle of popcorn. 

Find it in stores: Sweet Chaos Drizzle Black & White Sugar Cookie Popcorn, $1.48 for 1.5 ounces at Walmart

14. Enlightened Ready-to-Bake Cookies

What’s holiday season without fresh-baked cookies? Lucky for me, I can’t answer that from experience. And I’m very excited about these sugar-free cookies from the high-fiber ice cream brand I eat by the pint. Enlightened is making gooey cookie magic happen with allulose and a pinch of monkfruit, and bringing their net carbs down to a mere 2 grams each and 6 of fiber. Available in classic chocolate chip, decadent double chocolate, and peanut butter chocolate chunk, these ready-to-bake from frozen treats are three smart cookies.

Find them in stores: Enlightened Ready-to-Bake Cookies, from $8 for a 12-ounce box of 12 at Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Markets; arriving soon to Sprouts Farmers Market

15. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Holiday Flavors

By now, few ice cream enthusiasts haven’t heard of — or eyed covetously — Jeni’s. This winter, it’s now more accessible than ever, with White Chocolate Peppermint and Mexican Hot Chocolate hitting Target, Giant Eagle, and The Fresh Market, across America. Heinan’s is carrying only the former flavor, but if you live near a Fresh Market, you’re in luck — Cognac with Gingerbread is being stocked this month. None of these new flavors are too sweet, and they’re all as well-balanced and unique as you expect from this grand dame of small-batch ice cream. Pistachio Macaron and Sugar Plum round off the limited seasonal flavors, but they’re available directly from Jeni’s only.  

Find them in stores: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Holiday Flavors, $8.99 per pint at Target, Giant Eagle, The Fresh Market, and Heinan’s

16. Oatly Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars

Already colloquially called “Oatly on a Stick” by their developers, those who prefer novelty desserts over classic pints (raises hand) will be excited to learn that this brand is now entering this market with four classic flavors. Chocolate-Covered Chocolate Fudge, Strawberry Swirl, Salted Caramel, and of course, classic Vanilla are hitting the freezer cases this month, giving those who suffer from the nine major allergens a sweet new option. Each of the flavors are incredibly creamy and a dead ringer for real dairy … but better! I say this not for health reasons or taste reasons, but for proportions. The excellent, rich chocolate shell is thicker than even the premium traditional bars, and the portion of “ice cream” is no joke, either. Both make this feel like a more solid treat, so that instead of eating two, you’re more than happy with a single three-ounce serving — a squee more than in typical bars, and exactly perfect for snacking satisfaction.

Find them in stores: Oatly Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert Bars, $5.99 for three at Target, Wegmans, Schnucks, Harris Teeter, Giant, Stop & Shop, and Fresh Direct

17. Karviva Unwined Alcohol-Free Malbec Wine Replacement Juice

Non-alcoholic drinks are really taking off and this is a new alcohol-free, unsweetened, adaptogen-enhanced juice drink that’s been developed to emulate the taste of Malbec. The formula uses aronia berry, dark cherry, mulberry, schisandra berry, and pear — many of which have purported health benefits such as actual stress alleviation, strengthening immune function, reducing swelling and soreness, in addition to the antioxidant powers of real wine. 

Which of these are you most excited about? Tell us in the comments below.

Su-Jit Lin

Contributor

Su-Jit’s life revolves around food, travel, and words, with each feeding into the other. She’s a lover of puns and telling the stories of human experience on both sides of the hospitality space.





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