As regular readers of my blog will know, I am a fan of Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand, and always try to review these products before others. It is with some element of surprise, and a little bit of regret, that I discovered that a staple of my freezer, the Kirkland Signature Stir-Fry Frozen Vegetable Blend had disappeared from my local Costco, only to be replaced by the Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir Fry Blend.
Now, my reasons for liking frozen vegetables are much the same now as they were in the summer of 2014 when I wrote my review of the Costco frozen vegetables (which you can read through the above link). The convenience, price and taste are generally unmatched, and numerous studies have shown that frozen vegetables retain their vitamins and nutritional value just as well as fresh ones.
The reason for the switch, I believe, is caused by the reduced value of the Canadian dollar compared to the US currency; the price of the Kirkland Signature – made in the USA – had been rising steadily before the product was removed from the shelves. I think that the perceived value to Costco members was now too low compared to what it had been. Maybe sales had dropped. Who knows. Here is the product that took its place!
According to the nutritional information sheet printed on the package, each serving is 85 grams, meaning that there are 23.5 servings per bag.
- Item name: Arctic Gardens Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend
- Bag size: 2 kilos (2,000 grams)
- Price of bag: $6.99 (Canadian dollars)
- Serving Size: 85 grams
- Servings per bag: 23.5
- Cost per serving: just under 30 cents
This compares advantageously to the Kirkland Signature mix, which cost 34 cents per serving, when it was at the original price, but there is one thing that is disappointing: the quality seems to have gone down. Check out a typical bowl:
Compared to the Kirkland Signature blend, you can see that the pieces of vegetables are smaller, and unfortunately, the comparison doesn’t get better when you get to the ingredients list (in order of importance):
- Sugar snap peas
- Green Beans
- Water Chestnut
- Baby corn
- Red Bell Peppers
- Yellow Onions
While the ingredients list are quite similar, you’ll notice, as I did, that the mushrooms are common white mushrooms, not whole shiitake mushrooms as in the Kirkland blend, which is sad. I like shiitake mushrooms.
On a positive note, my wife likes these a lot more than the Kirkland Signature blend, which she found tasted a bit too much like the freezer. Maybe its just the way that I cook them, however. I find it challenging to get just the right texture when cooking frozen vegetables, a hit-or-miss kind of thing.
The Arctic Garden Frozen Vegetables Stir-Fry Blend, now available at Costco for $6.99 in 2 kilogram bags, is packaged in Canada, presumably from local and imported produce. This can in great part explains why it has remained so affordable in a period of economic uncertainty and the loss of value of the Canadian dollar. In any case, I’ll be stocking up. It’s cheap, delicious – except for the missing shiitake mushrooms – and nutritious, and my wife likes it!