On November 26, 2012, I did a product review of Blue Dragon (Asian) Cooking Sauces, a brand that enjoys international sales. I titled my blog The Blue Dragon Awakes! Indexed under Reviews, I occasionally publish comments about products I find exceptionally good - or exceptionally poor.
Before I say more, I’d like to make it very clear that I do not accept free products or gratuities from any individual or any company. That is an ethical stance from which I have not wavered in more than 40 years of reporting. When Blue Dragon insisted that 20 or more home chefs accept samples of their sauces during a cooking contest, I gave every one of those samples away.
So I was both pleased and annoyed to receive the following note from regular reader Brenda Rogers - pleased that Brenda found these sauces in a small market in Victoria, BC, Canada, and annoyed that these sauces remain almost impossible to find.
Brenda Rogers and I have never met. We’ve also never corresponded or spoken about this topic. Brenda’s note arrived in my Inbox unsolicited. Here’s what she wrote, with no editing by me:
Hi Nicole, just a short note to let you know that Blue Dragon has made it to Victoria. I’ve been watching for it since your post of last year and voila found it last week at Country Grocer. It was worth the wait, we tried the Sweet & Sour with pork and veggie stir fry. YES it’s a definite winner and now will have to try the rest of the brands. Can’t remember if you had a favorite.
Adios & hugzzz for now,
Here’s the reply I’ve just sent Brenda Rogers:
I’ve tried many of these sauces. All were excellent. I have been extremely disappointed in the rigidity of the food industry, because these terrific sauces are generally nowhere to be found. Many years ago, then in my role as an investigative consumer reporter and columnist, I accurately reported that in at least some grocery stores, product manufacturers/distributors paid very large sums to gain placements (“shelf facings”) for their products.
Following my news stories, a food executive with a major chain was jailed for personally benefitting from this practice.
How is Blue Dragon affected? I have no idea, but if the practice continues to this day, the food industry is doing consumers a huge disservice with such “selective” merchandising. I understand that grocery stores do not have elastic walls, but for an excellent product not to gain an entrée? To paraphrase Shakespeare, something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.