24 August, 2009

The Secrets of Chef Boyardee

The food aisle of the local Big Lots had a big display of Chef Boyardee cans. They were labeled "Spoon-Sized Pasta Shapes," but the labels were unusual - the usual photo showing the product (the "serving suggestion") was missing. Lynnafred picked up a can to take a closer look, and noticed a bil;ingual "Nutrition Facts" label (English/French) faintly showing through the red background next to Chef's picture. We decided to buy a can to see what was underneath.

At home, she carefully worked her way under the top label with a knife and then started peeling away the glued seam, revealing Chef Boyardee NHL Pasta. The pasta was shaped like little National Hockey League logos, and all the text was in English and French, for sale in Canada. The label was cluttered with graphics and information about a special contest; the lucky winner would receive tickets to the 2009 NHL All Star game!

The contest ended in December 2008. ConAgra must have found itself with thousands of unsold cans of Chef with obviously outdated labels and decided to cut their losses by sticking on a new label and sending the cans out to the remainder market.

So - the contest ran from September 29th to December 24th in 2008, and the NHL All-Star Game was on January 25, 2009. That pasta must have been pretty old, eh? Was ConAgra tarnishing the good name of Chef Boyardee by slapping on new labels and putting the stuff out at Big Lots?

Nope. Contest dates notwithstanding, the bottom of the can includes a quality assurance code and a "Best by" date of July 13, 2010. We're good until next summer if necessary.


Anonymous said...

Wow Dave I was very surprised at this one!

Eric M said...

I grew up in Michigan, which is basically Canada, but moved out to Oklahoma to find work a few years ago. We don't have hockey, or good beer, or ice here, in particular, so I've been kind of down and homesick.

When I peeled off the label of my spoon-sized pasta shapes two months ago when I first bought them, I was hit with waves of joy and nostalgia. Bi-lingual labeling is common when you live within viewing distance of Canada, and the hockey shaped pasta reminded me that there are sports out there i actually enjoy. Now I'm on the lookout for spoon-sized pasta shapes with logos of canadian curling teams.

The Misery Man said...

I bought a can of this stuff at Big Lots today. I recognized the Calgary Flames logo and put two and two together.

Then I found this. Suspicions confirmed, I suppose.

Joe said...

HA! I saw these at Big Lots and suspected it was over-runs being generically labeled "pasta shapes" and figured if the kids don't lie it, hey, it's not Franco-American (Blech)At first I couldn't make out the shape but...but... that sure looks like a "C" and that shield looks like...Hmm. So here I am on the inter-webz looking for ..Oooh HA, I never looked all that close at the label, but I peeled it off and there it is. Being like Sparti, growing up in sight of Canada, you get used to french/english packaging. I havn't seen it in years now that I live in central California! Sparti... next time we get "pasta shapes" it's gonna be like playing "The Beer Hunter" Eeeh?