CVS is known for providing its loyal patrons with prescriptions, cough drops, and general medications, but what if we told you there's a little more than what meets the eye at this familiar drugstore spot? Despite its obvious link to the world of health, CVS also carries some interesting food options that just might surprise you. And though this run-of-the-mill drugstore might not be your first pick for purchasing groceries, we must say there are some pretty tasty finds at your local CVS that might just cause you to make a special trip.
Is all the food at CVS great? Not by a long shot. Because of this, we thought it might be helpful to round up some of our favorite — and least favorite — CVS Gold Emblem brand foods to give you an overview of which grabs you should check out and which you should probably avoid altogether.
Sound interesting? Stay tuned. We're about to delve into which Gold Emblem brand foods you should buy and which you should avoid.
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Avoid: Gold Emblem Black Pepper Grinder
Truth be told, there's nothing like sampling fresh ground black pepper. Compared to the pre-ground stuff, it has a zippier and more pungent flavor that makes it perfect for topping anything from crispy chicken thighs to salty popcorn. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Gold Emblem Black Pepper Grinder at CVS, you might have a hard time even getting the pepper out of the bottle — much less a chance to savor that flavor.
According to reviews, this peppercorn shaker has a lot of issues. From being difficult to turn to not turning at all, customers have just about had it with trying to get the darn thing to work. Even the black pepper that does come out is often subpar, as all the ground peppercorns end up in a frustrating variety of sizes.
All in all, this black pepper grinder seems to be an out-and-out waste of time and money. Consider picking up your next grinder at your local Walmart or Kroger instead.
Buy: Gold Emblem Dried Philippine Mangoes
CVS sells mangoes? They sure do. And while they may not be fresh mangoes, the dried version of the sweet fruit is arguably just as enjoyable, with a delicious taste and chewy texture that's hard to resist.
Yes, we've seen the price point of Gold Emblem Dried Philippine Mangoes, and yes, we're aware that about $10 per 10 ounces ain't cheap. Still, because of the glowing reviews these mangoes have received, we're inclined to believe they're worth the hype, even if they are a little expensive. Reviewers claim that these are on par with brand name mangoes and declare the flavor to be outstanding. Others love the nutritional profile given that they are a low-calorie snack with just the right amount of sweetness.
Going by all those positive reviews, everything from taste to texture and even the nutritional benefits of this snack check out. Grab a bag the next time you stop in and you probably won't walk away disappointed.
Avoid: Gold Emblem Ice Canyon Natural Spring Water
Bottled water is bottled water — at least until you sample one that's foul. No, really — it's totally possible. Though we don't spend much time pondering the type of water we drink, we have to say we were oddly intrigued by the number of negative reviews surrounding this particular variety of Gold Emblem bottled water.
Apparently, Gold Emblem Ice Canyon Natural Spring Water has garnered a seriously negative reputation for being riddled with an unpleasant chemical aftertaste. Some consumers even claim to smell something like bleach before they take a sip. Considering that this is supposed to be "natural" spring water, many customers are understandably disappointed. Interestingly, there are still a few out there who hail this water as being incredibly satisfying. One even goes as far as to say it's better than many regional or national brands.
Needless to say, we're left feeling a little confused. Nevertheless, we're deeming this Gold Emblem buy a no-go, as most of us can agree that chemical flavors simply have no place in a bottle of spring water.
Buy: Gold Emblem Honey Graham Cookies
If you love the flavor of Teddy Grahams, you'll likely fall head over heels for the sweet taste of Gold Emblem Honey Graham Cookies. Priced at a little over a dollar, this 5-ounce pack of cookies is the perfect snack for a bit of sweet crunch on the go. Reviewers love these bites, claiming that they taste similar to graham crackers yet in bite-sized form. A few consumers even compare these generically-branded grabs to better-known brand name varieties, stating that they're just as good, if not better than what you'd find elsewhere.
We did a price comparison and found these cookies to be about half the price (when compared per ounce) of the Teddy Graham branded cookies in our location at the time that this post was written. This means that these honey grahams aren't only irresistibly delicious but also a great deal. We'll take it!
Avoid: Fast Favorites Elbow Mac & Cheese
Who doesn't love a good mac and cheese? We certainly do. When you've got that insatiable cheesy craving, a really great boxed mac and cheese is sometimes hard to find, depending on where you buy it. Unfortunately, CVS' Gold Emblem Fast Favorites Elbow Mac & Cheese strikes out by way of taste and quality, making it not so great a buy.
So, what is it about this CVS mac and cheese that makes it so off-putting? Commenters seem to have declared in unison that this grab tastes absolutely horrible. And while we'll admit that this isn't the most descriptive response, there are a few who dropped hints as to what makes the mac so impalatable. Apparently, the cheese sauce itself is quite bland. And while some seemed content to add a little salt and pepper to spruce things up, others just weren't able to get past this product's annoyingly mundane taste.
Buy: Gold Emblem Asian Blend Trail Mix
Tired of the same old raisin, peanut, and chocolate trail mix spiel? We feel you. Though these easy-to-grab treats are indeed convenient when hiking or packing lunches, they can get rather boring when you eat them all the time. That's why we were elated to find CVS offering bags of Asian-inspired trail mix. It's packed full of interesting ingredients, including wasabi peas and sesame sticks. In addition, you'll find your typical peanut, almond, and cashew combination in each bag, making it so that you don't have to fear this blend straying too far from the traditional trail mix norm.
As far as taste goes, just know that fans go crazy for these. Terms like spicy, crispy, and fresh were used to describe the overall flavor. Thus, if you love heat, you'll probably love the tantalizing flavor and irresistible texture of this Gold Emblem Asian trail mix.
Avoid: Gold Emblem Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
There's something seriously special about oatmeal cookies, isn't there? The comforting flavor of the oats, the warm blend of spices, the sweet flavor of the raisins ... it all comes together into one heck of a tasty experience. While Gold Emblem Oatmeal Raisin Cookies seem to get it right in the flavor department, it falters slightly in terms of pricing.
Now, we get it. When there isn't a Walmart around or you simply don't feel like trudging through a large store, you're probably more than willing to spend a couple extra bucks for convenience's sake. But just so you know, when compared to Walmart's Freshness Guarantee oatmeal cookies, Gold Emblem oatmeal cookies fall flat.
At the time of publication, these oatmeal cookies were priced at nearly $5 for a 10.6-ounce pack. When purchased at Walmart, oatmeal cookies cost $3.98 per 14-ounce package. At Target, the store brand variety cost $5.49 for 12.5 ounces. Sorry, CVS, but we'll have to pass.
Buy: Gold Emblem Extreme Jalapeño Poppers Cheese Puffs
We're always down for a little junk food now and again, and boy, do these hit the spot. Gold Emblem's Jalapeño Poppers Cheese Puffs give a spicy take on classic cheddar cheese puffs and we can't get enough of them.
Commenters go wild for these crave-worthy puffs, proclaiming them to be well worth the buy for a variety of reasons. The texture is crisp and the size of the puffs is just right. In addition, the flavor features the perfect balance of cheese with jalapeño to make it an enticingly mouthwatering experience. On top of that, people love the fact that it packs enough heat without becoming overpowering. Some reviewers find these so tasty that one has even admitted to polishing off an entire bag at once.
All in all, consider this purchase an awesome buy. Plus, at only a little over $3 per package, we think it's worth a try.
Avoid: Gold Emblem Peppered Beef Jerky
If you're a beef jerky fan, you may wish to skip Gold Emblem Peppered Beef Jerky. Although the reviews on this buy aren't terrible, the real reason we have trouble recommending it is the price. For comparison's sake, we took a look at Walmart's Great Value beef jerky in a similar pepper flavor. To our surprise, Walmart was offering 10 ounces of beef jerky for just under $10 at the time of publication and Target was dishing out the same thing at $4.39 for 2.85 ounces. Meanwhile, CVS was charging customers $6.49 per 2.85 ounces for its peppered beef jerky. Come again?
We know convenience is part of the reason some people are willing to pay a steeper price at smaller stores like CVS, but this seems like pure robbery. Not only this, but the reviews, though decent, aren't quite what we'd expect for jerky that costs this much. The cost is a bit steep for experimentation, if you ask us.
Buy: Gold Emblem Fair Trade Colombian Premium Ground Coffee Single-Serve Cups
Ever think of grabbing grounds for your fresh morning brew from your local CVS? If not, you may wish to reconsider. While we don't normally associate premium coffee with drugstore venues, CVS has apparently set out to change our minds. The Gold Emblem Fair Trade Colombian Premium Ground Coffee Single-Serve Cups are beyond entrancing, and that's not all. The brand offers several other ground coffee types -- including the fair trade Gold Emblem Donut Shop Blend and Gold Emblem Fair Trade Premium Ground Coffee Single-Serve Cups in french vanilla -- that seem to be striking favor with coffee fans in surprising and unexpected ways.
According to reviews, the Gold Emblem Fair Trade Colombian Premium Ground Coffee Single-Serve Cups aims to please you with its mild flavor. Many liken it to other well-known brands, just without the sticker shock. With all of this considered, we think Gold Emblem coffee is certainly worth checking out.
Avoid: Gold Emblem Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats & Honey
Gold Emblem Oats & Honey Crunchy Granola Bars taste good in their own right, we'll give them that. But this is yet again one of those snack purchases that disappoint in terms of pricing. Sadly, these bars are similar in texture and quality to what can be found at your local Walmart for practically half the price. At Walmart, the Great Value Crunchy Oats and Honey Granola Bars come priced at only $2.18 for 8.9 ounces per box while the Nature's Value brand-name bars at Target run for 3.59 per 8.94 ounces. At CVS, you get the same amount for $3.99 per box at the time of publication.
Now, is this a reason to turn these Gold Emblem snacks down completely? Maybe ... maybe not. If you don't have access to better-priced granola bars in your area, then $3.99 might not seem so bad. If, however, you find yourself near a Walmart or another big box retailers, do yourself a favor and pick up your granola bars there instead. Your wallet will thank you!
Buy: Gold Emblem Milk Chocolate Pretzel Twists
There's something so incredibly delicious about drenching salty pretzels in rich, decadent chocolate. Though there is plenty to choose from out there in the world of chocolate pretzels, we think that Gold Emblem Milk Chocolate Pretzel Twists deserve a place among the best there is.
First and foremost, we'd like to point out that unlike some of the other overpriced items on this list, the Gold Emblem chocolate-covered pretzels are affordable. While they are priced a little higher than Flipz brand found at both Kroger and Walmart (we found the Gold Emblem brand priced at around $4.99 a pop) they do at least linger in the same ballpark price range that the other stores offer. Not only this, but the taste of these chocolate-covered pretzels is phenomenal. The chocolate is fantastic, and there's just the right amount of chocolate covering each bite. Yum!
Avoid: Gold Emblem Dry Roasted Peanuts
Dry roasted peanuts are a simple yet enjoyable snack. Simple as they are, it can sometimes be disheartening to see the price of these versatile snacks marked way up. Sadly, when shopping for peanuts at CVS, you're likely to witness just that.
When purchasing Gold Emblem dry-roasted peanuts, you can expect to pay $9.49 for a 34.5-ounce tub. At Walmart, you'll pay half the price, at only $4.68 for the same amount. Even at Target, you can score a canister this big for around $5.29 at the time of publication. With that said, we'd like to mention that Gold Emblem Dry Roasted Peanuts are often put on sale. When that happens, you may be able to snag these for a more reasonable price. That aside, we're inclined to believe that purchasing these peanuts at face value simply isn't worth it. Wait for a sale or simply skip them altogether, but we still can't give this Gold Emblem snack our stamp of approval.
Buy: Gold Emblem Atomic FireBalls
If you're looking for something nostalgic that's bursting with flavor, look no further than Gold Emblem Atomic FireBalls. We were pleased to find this throwback treat in CVS aisles priced at only $1.49 per pack at the time of publication. These cinnamon candies have been well-received by those who have tried them. In fact, those consumers who have been around a while say they taste just as good as they remember the treats being back in the '50s and '60s!
Just know that, for those of you who are looking for a true eye-watering experience, you may end up disappointed. These aren't ridiculously spicy but pack just enough heat to satisfy your craving for something hot.
While we consider these a decent buy, some have noted that the packaging seems to have gotten smaller over time. We aren't sure if the claims of shrinkflation are genuine, but if you notice the package dwindling a bit, you've at least been warned. Otherwise, we think this is a pretty good CVS grab.
Avoid: Gold Emblem Buffalo Ranch Cheddar Trail Mix
This is yet another Gold Emblem product that makes us laugh and shake our heads in amazement. We found CVS selling Gold Emblem Buffalo Ranch Cheddar Trail Mix for $5.49 for a tiny 7-ounce bag. For the sake of reference, let's compare this trail mix to Walmart's Great Value Cajun Trail Mix variety. The other grocer's Cajun mix, though not Buffalo and ranch-flavored, is still way cheaper than Gold Emblem's product. In fact, Walmart offers 27 ounces of trail mix for only $6.47 at the time of publication, while Target offers its Cajun blend mix at $4.49 per 11 ounces. Unfortunately, at CVS, you'll need to pay $5.49 to get only 7 ounces of similar stuff.
No, Walmart and Target may not offer the unique Buffalo flavor of Gold Emblem's trail mix, but do you really want to face pricing that steep just to get a certain flavor? We don't know about you, but we'd settle for an inexpensive bag of Cajun trail mix over an overpriced bag of Buffalo mix any day. Sheesh.
Buy: Gold Emblem Milk Chocolate Topped Butter Cookies
We love chocolate and we love butter cookies. So when we heard that CVS was offering milk chocolate-topped butter cookies, we knew we had to do some investigating.
Faithful devotees of Gold Emblem's Milk Chocolate Topped Butter Cookies say that the taste is beyond incredible, from the chocolate on top to the cookie base. One reviewer even claimed to visit CVS twice a week just to get their hands on a box of these babies. Pair them with a glass of milk, coffee, or a cup of tea, and this makes an excellent, decadent snack.
While the price point may be a little high compared to other brands out there, it isn't so steep that we'd immediately caution against it. If you're looking for a quick and sweet bite that won't disappoint, these milk chocolate-topped butter cookies are definitely worth looking into.
Buy: Gold Emblem Girl Scout Thin Mints Almonds
Most of us who love the taste of mint and chocolate together get weak in the knees at the mere mention of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Though we may love all the flavor these iconic cookies bring, not everyone can partake in the high-carb and high-sugar treat.
Thus, we're happy to report that there's a lower-sugar, lower-carb alternative out there for those of us who can't get enough. The Gold Emblem Girl Scout Thin Mint Almonds sold at CVS are a great option to indulge in instead. Each almond is covered in delicious minty chocolate, making for a remarkable and unique flavor combination you're sure to love. With that said, be sure to pay attention to serving size if you're keeping an eye on your sugar and carb intake. The listed nutrition facts are for just eight almonds, so keep that in mind if you plan to portion out your snack.
Buy: Gold Emblem Iced Oatmeal Mini Cookies
Wait, didn't we say the oatmeal cookies at CVS were a no-go earlier in this post? We sure did. But it's important to realize that Gold Emblem carries more than one oatmeal cookie variety. In this case, we're discussing the Gold Emblem Iced Oatmeal Mini Cookies. Priced at only $1.39 per bag, these cookies are nowhere near as expensive as the previously-mentioned variety. Not only this, but these iced oatmeal cookies taste very good. Out of the over 450 reviews that are currently on the CVS website, most were positive, with a few people stating that these are some of the best oatmeal cookies they've had the pleasure of getting their hands on.
Of course, there are also a few people who dislike the cookies. They're entitled to their opinion. As for us, we think the affordable price and awesome taste make this Gold Emblem snack well worth it.
Read the original article on Mashed.