Safeway Says This Tiny Pile Of Sad Chicken Covered In Gloop Is Supposed To Be A Gourmet Meal

We aren’t sure in what world a paltry pile of pale chicken covered in some kind of gelatinous gloop accompanied by a whole lot of rice with bits vaguely resembling vegetables could be considered part of any “Gourmet Club.” But Safeway said its “Safeway Select” branded Orange Chicken meal is fine frozen dining and showed a lovely picture on the package to that effect. Consumerist reader Doug in Seattle sent in evidence to the contrary after he purchased the family pack meal.

Following our request for more food that failed to measure up to the pretty pictures on packaging, Doug submitted his picture of the Orange Chicken in reality shown in stark contrast to the delectable picture on the box.

The packaging describes its contents as “Breaded White Meat Chicken Coated with a Delightful Orange Sauce, Served with a Blend of Rice, Orange and Yellow Carrots, and Edamame,” alongside a photo of what looks to be equal portions of fluffy rice and tantalizing chicken, drizzled in sauce.

Then there’s the real thing, which as Doug puts it, “It looks a lot different in reality.” A few hunks of chicken swimming in yuck, alongside rice with almost unidentifiable bits of colored vegetable-like stuff. And is that really supposed to be enough food to feed a family?

Keep those submissions of packaging vs. food reality coming in to tips@consumerist.com, and see if you can top Doug’s unappetizing experience.

Comments

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  1. ChuckECheese says:

    He’s right; edamame are disgusting.

  2. Portlandia says:

    I actually don’t see much difference between that photo and what’s on the box. If you were to scoop out the rice onto a plate and then spoon the chicken on top it wouldn’t look to bad.

  3. dush says:

    How about you heat it up, stir it around, put the rice in a serving dish and the meat over it presented nicely rather than opening up the package and saying it looks a lot different than the picture.

  4. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …please. Firstly, show me *any* such food product that’s contents upon cooking look like what’s on the box. Secondly, who would honestly expect that it would?

    Fluff the rice up with a fork and spoon the chicken around and you’re pretty much at the same picture.

    #notactuallyathing

  5. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    My biggest gripe with this is the box makes it appear that you’re getting about 1/2 chicken and 1/2 rice mixture, but in the picture it appears to be about 1/4 chicken and 3/4 rice mixture.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      I think there is some perspective going on in the box picture. The chicken is right next to the camera so they look all big and juicy and the rice is waaaaaay in the background. Still, even with that I think it’s a little off on the proportions.

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      I bet the chicken in the photo is sitting on a thick bed of rice.

  6. TuxthePenguin says:

    I call BS. The picture shows the food in a serving dish, not in the box. If you were to scoop out the rice and put it in a dish like that, you’d be pretty close to how it looks on the box (am I the only one who remembers that you need to fluff rice before serving, even stove-top/cooker rice?) And I imagine the chicken would look better too.

    There are MUCH better examples than this.

  7. dicobalt says:

    Prepackaged Dinners = Chemical Dinners

  8. HalOfBorg says:

    There is a BIG difference between the way food looks on the plate and when it is still in the cook pot.

  9. dorianh49 says:

    Come on, Mary Beth, you start the post with the alliteration, “a paltry pile of pale…”, and then you use the word “chicken” instead of “poultry”? I am disappoint.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      It’s like the withdrawal method for literature.

    • TrustAvidity says:

      “A paltry pile of pale poultry” might be over doing it. Funny nonetheless.

    • do-it-myself says:

      +1

      As for the food, I see nothing wrong here. In fact it looks like there is EXTRA rice! Those frozen Tai-Pei meals finally got with reality and have turned the serving sizes from 2 to 1. Sure, it’s 50% of your daily sodium in a quarter pound of food, but now you can’t lie to yourself.

  10. LVSinner says:

    It looks like the OP bought this from the freezer aisle, didn’t lay it totally flat in the car, and the dish obviously melted a little on the drive home. The heavier portion (the chicken), separated from the lighter (rice) once it melted.

  11. AzCatz07 says:

    I don’t do frozen dinners, but Safeway Select ice cream is absolutely fantastic. I was surprised by how tasty it is. I don’t buy a lot of ice cream, but once in a while I crave butter pecan. It was 2/$4 and worth every penny.

  12. PragmaticGuy says:

    KFC thinks a 10 piece bucket is enough to feed a family. Since Stouffers family packages contain about two pounds that’s enough to feed a family of four if there’s a side dish with it. And it doesn’t look like Doug actually mixed the ingredients as they are on the package.

  13. Kahlidan says:

    Safeway food products are shit. Stay far away…

  14. HogwartsProfessor says:

    There’s nowhere near as much chicken in there as there is in the picture. But yeah, he needs to fluff the rice. It looks compacted.

    • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

      We can’t tell; maybe the rice plateau slid over the chicken as in plate tectonic theory.

  15. pegasi says:

    I would argue that first, at least have stirred up the rice and chicken as separately as you could, so you can see piece sizes and if the rice is gluey or fluffy like the picture. Yeah, I’d also argue for it being skimpy on chicken compared to the picture, and how “gelatinous” the orange sauce is.

  16. Press1forDialTone says:

    The only two frozen meal lines that are worth a s*** are Stouffers
    and amazingly enough WeightWatchers SmartOnes. Stouffers
    of course realized a long time ago that preparing decent frozen
    food that wouldn’t trash their hotel and restaurant brand meant
    that the cost would be higher but (as an example) their turkey
    tettrazini, mac and cheese and tuna noodle casserole are pretty
    yummy and yes they are pretty fatty and gooey and tasty and
    use real ingredients but in moderation they are yummy.

    • elangomatt says:

      I think that Healthy Choice frozen meals have actually come a pretty long way in the last couple of years. I especially like the steamer tray type meals since the veggies don’t come out as all mush like they used to be in frozen meals.

  17. briguy17 says:

    I work at Safeway, and to me, this looks EXACTLY like the rice and orange chicken they serve in the deli. I wouldn’t be surprised if, to make this, they just combined LEFTOVER rice and orange chicken from the deli into a container, covered it with the plastic wrapped, and then froze it.

    And btw the china express deli food you get at Safeway is absolutely horrible for you–I almost always have a stomach ache after eating it.