Cincinnati and Kroger Abound

  • Last month, Kroger invited me to Cincinnati to participate in the launch of a new product.  They had contacted me regarding attending an “exciting cooking event with a twist.”  Naturally, as a food blogger I was very much intrigued.

    I get tons of emails about product reviews, giveaways, samples, etc.  Most of the time those emails make their way to the junk folder.  There’s nothing I hate more than receiving a generic template email.  I was immediately drawn to this Kroger event because they had mentioned my little Charlie in their email.  Yes, the way to this girl’s heart is through her dog.

    Anyway, I accepted their invitation and found myself in Cincinnati with 7 other bloggers.

    Kroger Abound Pet Food Event

    Meet the bloggers:

    kroger-breakfast

    I met all the ladies during breakfast.  I figured we would all be food bloggers, but as we went around the table introducing ourselves, my suspisions were proved wrong.  We were a combination of food, lifestyle, and diy/home bloggers.  As soon as we started exchanging business cards and looking at each other’s blogs, our common link became blatantly obvious.  We all had dogs.  And we all had tons of pictures of our dogs on our phones.  As well as a A LOT to say about our furry family member.

    kroger-ingredients-4

    After breakfast, we were ushered into the meeting room to discuss our challenge with our friends from Kroger.  Each of us were given a card listing three main ingredients.

    kroger-abound-ingredients-3

    I had ground lamb, brown rice, and sweet potato.  Robin had salmon, cranberries and brown rice.  Both of us had never cooked our main ingredients before (me: lamb, Robin: salmon).  We were both in shock and laughing over this challenge that we had to overcome.

    kroger-abound-breakfast

    This was me telling everyone that I have never cooked lamb before and that I absolutely detest eating lamb.

    kroger-ingredients-3

    Oh well.  A challenge is a challenge.  Everyone else’s reactions to their ingredients were also quite funny and hilarious.  We all had opinions about it.  Once we settled down, all the phones came out and it was time to research what to do with our ingredients and flavor profiles.

    As were were bouncing ideas off each other, giving one another feedback and tips regarding the ingredients, it became clear there was a theme to our challenge.  With ingredients like salmon, chicken, and lamb (and the fact that we all had dogs), this sounded like a challenge to make dog food.  However, we were informed that we would eating all these dishes afterwards.  Hence, I thought okay, maybe not dog food since we were going to be using additional ingredients that may not be as dog friendly (like salt).

    kroger-store-

    After a little recipe brainstorming we were whisked away to Kroger to gather our ingredients.  It was really FUN and interesting shopping with a professional photographer following you around.  Living in LA, I’m used to seeing paparazzi crowd around celebrities.  It was interesting being the one photographed.  I felt like a superstar.  Other shoppers would turn their heads and see what we were up to.  I just smiled and pretended it was nothing unusual.

    kroger-shopping-1

    With all our ingredients in tow, we headed to our next stop, a professional kitchen to cook up our inspired dishes!

    kroger-abound-ingredients

    With the help of 3 professional chefs, we had a little under 2 hours to complete our tasks.

    The entire experience made me miss working in the kitchen.  It has been a couple years since I lasted worked in a commercial kitchen.  I miss the hustle and bustle.  The fire from the stoves, the heat from the oven, the sounds of chopping and chatter.

    abound-kitchen

    But one thing I definitely do not miss about commercial kitchens: feeling short.  See me tippy-toeing to reach the table?  During my days in the bakery, I would have find creative ways to reach the table.  Think milk crates and bags of flour- because the stepping stool was often no where to be found.

    kroger-kitchen

    Chef Alan taught Becky how to break down a whole chicken.  She captured it on video here.  You can also get the recipe to the scrumptious roasted chicken over barley vegetable hash on her blog.

    kroger-kitchen-2

    I ended up making lamb meatballs stewed in chili curry tomato served over a bed of sweet potato hash and brown rice.  Sounds delicious?  Yes, I can’t believe I actually enjoyed eating it.

    kroger-kitchen-2

    After the challenge, we presented our finished dishes and sat down for what seemed like a “Blogger Thanksgiving.”  We sampled and ate everyone’s delicious and beautifully plated dishes.

    kroger-abound-dinner

    Later that evening we met up with our Kroger friends once again for a fabulous dinner at The Sleepy Bee.  We had been waiting for this dinner at day, anticipating Kroger’s new product reveal!

    abound-dinner-1

    The food blogger in me never stops taking pictures of food. Before devouring each plate, I had to document it.

    Each course was delicious and memorable.  The menu showcased the main ingredients we had used in our morning cooking challenge.  We had pink peppercorn crusted salmon, braised lamb with shell beans (which was amazing, despite my preconceived dislike for lamb), and my favorite dish (naturally) dessert- grown up candy bar made with peanut butter, caramel, and chocolate.

    abound-reveal

    And FINALLY, during the meal our friends from Kroger revealed Abound, their new premium line of pet food.  The proteins we prepared for lunch, as well as the ingredients that inspired dinner, are the main ingredients found in Abound.

    Once the secret was out the bag, the reasoning behind our cooking challenge made more sense.  We were creating dishes that would potentially feed to our families.  I don’t know about you, but my family includes my little Charlie.  I’m very particular with the food and treats I feed him.  I don’t have any children of my own, Charlie is my little dog child.  I want him to live a happy long life- which means I have to feed him quality healthy foods full of nutrients.  Charlie is a picky eater.  If it doesn’t smell good, taste good, or look good to him- he won’t eat it.

    It’s nice to know that Kroger is a company that is concerned with the ingredients and taste of their pet food.  They spent close to two years perfecting this product.

    kroger-abound-products

    Just like humans, cats and dogs are also susceptible to allergies- primarily corn and wheat.  Abound contains no wheat, corn, or soy fillers.  The proteins (chicken, lamb, salmon) are the main ingredients.  Abound offers dry and wet food and a variety of treats for both cats and dogs.

    Charlie absolutely loves Abound’s turkey, pea and berry jerky bites.  I’m slowly integrating Abound’s Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe dry food into his diet.  I’ll let you know how he likes it soon.

    Interested in trying Abound for your own furry friend?  Stay tuned!  Next week, I will be hosting an Abound Pet Food giveaway!  Until then, check out the Abound Pet Food website to find a retailer near you.

    Note: The Kroger Company spans many states and operates under numerous banners.  For California readers, you may know Kroger as Ralphs.

    [Photos courtesy of Rudy Harris of The Married Photogs]

    Disclosure: Kroger hosted and sponsored the event I attended.  Kroger also provided me with samples of Abound.  All opinions are my own.

    ·
    Newsletter
    cake
    Never Miss a Recipe!

    Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

    Daily Blog Posts
    Weekly Updates

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments

    Ebu Villanueva

    What a wonderful experience Maryanne! I enjoyed reading your post ! Nice to know Charlie loves Abound. I love Kroger and hope our two kitties could try these new products too (if available locally ).

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Thank you Tita Ebu! Maybe in a year or two it will available internationally :)

    Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

    OMG, this sounds like an amazing trip! It’s like a Top Chef challenge without all the judging pressure. What a great way to introduce the product. I’ll have to check out their cat food; My cat has the most sensitive tummy – he’s allergic to wheat and chicken…so he basically eats the most boring bland food you can imagine (and it’s PRICEY).

    PS. Where can I get a serving of your lamb meatballs, stat???

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Check back for my giveaway next week! They have a wheat-free and chicken-free one just for your cat :)

      Oh, there WAS a lot of pressure. It had to be edible, lol. One day when I’m feeling adventurous I will recreate the dish and share it on the blog.

    Tony

    Sounds like good food for my dog. I would be interested in purchasing some, but I have one question? Where is the dog food made? As far as I know Kroger does not have any dog or cat food plants. Is the food made in the USA or overseas? I’m not only picky about what I feed my dog, but where it is made also.

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Hi Tony! I understand your concerns. Abound food and treats are manufactured in the USA. At least 98% of ingredients are sourced within the US and up to 2% are currently be sourced abroad. Kroger is taking the cautious approach and not currently putting “Made in USA” on the package. They are continuing to explore the opportunity to make that claim, and will hopefully be adding it soon. All the ingredients are sourced and produced to the highest quality standards and meet all FDA, AAFCO, and applicable regulatory requirements.

      I hope that helps!

    Tony

    Thanks for the quick response. That is the information I was looking for. I’ll be picking up a bag of treats and seeing how my dog, Otis, likes them. Thanks again.

      Maryanne Cabrera

      You are very welcome! I recently posted a giveaway for an Abound Prize Pack: https://www.thelittleepicurean.com/2014/08/sweet-potato-dog-treats-abound-giveaway.html AND a super easy homemade sweet potato dog treat biscuit that my Charlie LOVES :)

      AL

      Hi Tony, I just started my Jack Russell on Abound treats Turkey with berries combo. She’s a very picky eater and loves them. I recommend them. I’ve been feeding her Canine Carry Outs but found out a couple weeks ago (made in China) They will be thrown in the trash as soon as I finish this note to you.
      Enjoy your pet AL

    Lily

    Thank you for your blog. We have recently rescued from our chain link fence a tiny little kitten. After getting her checked out by our vet and feeding her regularly, she is starting to gain some weight and finding her way into our hearts (we have never been cat people and have 3 dogs)….which has surprised us. We feed our dogs Wellness brand dog food because we feel it is the best choice for them. Naturally, when it came time to move kitty from formula to food, we went with Wellness. I however found myself in a pickle tonight by running out and not having planned ahead. I headed to my local Smiths grocery store because I thought I remembered seeing the Wellness there. I was wrong. After quite a bit of head scratching, I decided to go with abound. No where on the package does it list where it is made. This made me a little skeptical. I asked the woman checking my groceries, and she didnt know either. The bagger was pretty sure it was made in USA but there was enough doubt. Long story short, I found my way to your blog and found the answer. Kitty loved the food. She ate every bit of it. Thank you for blogging about this.

    Omalisa

    I have always fed my 3 dogs good food, mostly locally made pet food from non-chain stores. Well for some reason I tried the Rachel Ray brand of dog food with no grains etc then my little poodle had a very bad allergic reaction to it. He was put on steroids and antibiotics. So I searched for another food and went with Nutrisca because it contains no grains, potatoes, wheat or soy. Now my other two I changedtheir food to Nutrisca. I ran out and found Abound at Kroger but before I opened the bag I did some research and was toally surprised and happy with the positive reviews. I am so thankful for your blog and knowing that Kroger carecs enough to have you participate in that project. Your blog helped me because you actually had to make the food and eat it vs reviews that only talk about ingredients whether good or bad.

    One question does Abound contain gluten?

    By the way my lzband miniature schnazer liked Abound which I fed them today.

    Thanks againfor your blog. I will definitely share it with other pet pzrents.

      Maryanne Cabrera

      Hi Omalisa, I’m so happy you found my blog! I’m sorry to hear about you pup’s allergic reaction. It can be tough trying to find the right food for your dogs. My dog is such a picky eater but he loves his Abound.

      I’m not sure if Abound is gluten-free, but it is grain-free. Thanks again for stopping by! :)

    Veka Daniels

    Thank you or your post. Glad to hear Abound is made in the USA ands has a very small percentage of imported ingredients. I tried Abound because I was finding it increasingly difficult to find the brand name food I had been feeding my dog for years. I introduced Abound to her at a 70/30 mix, abound being the smaller. My dog loved it! In fact, I came home to find that she had literally sifted through her bowl, tossing the name brand food on the floor so she could get to the Abound morsels that were mixed in. Great stuff. My dog loves it and so do I. Good to see her enjoying what she eats again.

      Faithy

      My kitty loves Abound. He likes it better than IAMS & Blue Buffalo.

    Tobe Halen

    “Kroger is taking the cautious approach and not currently putting “Made in USA” on the package. They are continuing to explore the opportunity to make that claim, and will hopefully be adding it soon.”

    Okay….that statement was made in 2014 – it is now 2017….and still no “Made in USA” label. Would dearly love to know when to expect that.

    Roxan Temple

    I am very picky about feeding my cats only food made in the USA, I have been given Abound treats from a friend and my cats loved them – just still won’t buy them myself unless I know they’re made in USA

    Cheryl M Williams

    Hi ..trying Abound dry chicken food for my kitty with digestive issues. Since it is still not made all in the USA where are the countries the 2 percent us made in? Can’t get an answer from Kroger. Did your little Charlie ever have any problems from it? Thanks!

    cake
    Never Miss a Recipe!

    Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

    Daily Blog Posts
    Weekly Updates