The Most Puzzling Grocery Store Items To Ever Sit On Shelves, Ranked

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All of us make regular trips to the supermarket, whether it's to stock up on items that we need for the week ahead, or a quick, last-minute run to grab a few ingredients for dinner. Usually, during these quick market runs, we've got a list in hand so that we can get in and get out as quickly as possible. However, there are some shopping trips that are more leisurely, where we take our time scanning the shelves, looking not just for what we need, but for any other items that might catch our eye. 

According to data compiled by Drive Research, the average consumer goes to the grocery store around eight times per month, around twice per week. During those visits, the majority of shoppers spend around 44 minutes in the store. In that time period, they can come across a wide range of items, ranging from the benign to the bizarre. Scouring the shelves, these are a few of the oddball items that we discovered.   

Heinz Spotted Dick

Setting aside the snicker-inducing name for the more juvenile among us, Spotted Dick is a dessert that has been popular in Britain since the mid-1800s. The spotted part comes from the dessert being flecked with black currants or raisins, while "dick" seems to be derived from "puddink," a colloquial way of saying "pudding" back in the day. Bear in mind, this is the British version of pudding, which has become a catchall term to describe dessert.

Heinz's canned variation on the popular dessert is popular for its versatility. It can be boiled inside the can or taken out and microwaved and it will be ready in minutes. While the dessert might provoke confusion among American shoppers, it can spark nostalgia for Brits looking for a taste of home. "This stuff is great!" said reviewer Tracy T. on Influenster. "I remember eating it in England when I was little. It is quite sweet and although the can is small it goes a long way." Other customers though, weren't huge fans. "Taste like wet fruit cake," said one Amazon shopper.

Chirps Cricket Chips

After making their debut as a pitch during season 8 of "Shark Tank," Chirps presented itself as a healthy alternative to chips by making them with, strange as it sounds, ground-up crickets instead of flour. As reported by the Harvard Crimson, the brand was founded by three college friends, Rose Wang, Laura D'Asaro, and Meryl Breidbart, all of whom had tried bugs on one occasion or another. 

According to their website, if you can get past the idea of eating bugs, Chirps are not only a good protein-based snack, they're also good for the environment. For example, producing one pound of beef can take up to 2,000 gallons of water, whereas producing a pound of crickets takes exactly one whole gallon. For that kind of environmental payoff, it might be worth trying to wolf down a handful of crickets at your next backyard barbecue. 

Canned Whole Chicken

The idea of canning a whole chicken is somewhat odd, given that, unlike seafood, for example, chicken is readily available in just about any supermarket you can visit. But somehow here we are, with canned chicken being something you can drop in your cart on your next shopping trip. And, mind you, we're not just talking about your ordinary canned chicken chunks, we mean an entire chicken in a can.

Although it may not sound overly appealing, and, if this Reddit post is any indication, it looks even less appealing, there are plenty of people who claim it's not that bad. A review in the Food and Cooking Guide notes that it's a good choice for college students working on a budget, as it's nonperishable and requires no refrigeration. To be sure, canned chicken does have its fair share of supporters online. Writing on Reddit, user hoarderdonald says, "In my poverty days i would sometimes splurge and buy canned chicken for $4.99 from the overstock/dented canned goods store, they were a welcome addition to my diet of black eyed peas, greens, crackers, rice, and discounted bier." 

Clamdy Canes

Another gem from novelty candy makers Archie McPhee, the Seattle-based confectioner who gave us such treats as ham-flavored candy canes, Caesar Salad candy canes, and mac and cheese candy canes. And, just like those other oddball candies, there is no mistaking what Clamdy Canes are all about. We're not sure who would actually want clam-flavored candy canes, but for those who do, their wishes have been granted. 

While there is something to be said for a sweet and salty combo, this may be taking the concept a bit too far. Reviewers on Foodbeast dared to give Clamdy Canes a try and the immediate reaction was regret. But, different strokes for different strokes, and if you've been craving the taste of clams combined with the sugary goodness of candy canes, then definitely treat yourself to a box of Clamdy Canes. For everyone else, this one may fall right into the "gag gift" category. 

Cheeseburger in a Can

This is one of those foods that has to fall right under the heading of "Why?" When you can buy a cheeseburger for a little more than a dollar at any one of a dozen fast food places, what would ever possess a person to take home a cheeseburger in a can? Originally invented by a company in Switzerland called Trekking-Mahlzeiten, the canned cheeseburger was designed to be prepared outdoors by being boiled. 

However, even the most stalwart camper might find themselves balking at cracking open a canned cheeseburger. Reviewers on The Takeout weren't kind, describing the burger as being greenish in color and having some kind of film on it. Reactions to the texture ranged from soggy to spongy, and the unanimous opinion was that it just plain tasted bad. The bottom line is, if you're going camping and want to enjoy a burger, you'd be better off taking the extra steps and just packing the ingredients yourself. 

Gummy Bear Bratwurst

Who doesn't love a good brat, especially when paired with a cold beer? Over the years, these tasty sausage links have had their flavors boosted by some interesting and creative additions, such as cheese, bacon, or even pineapple teriyaki. However, Wisconsin-based meat purveyors Grundhofer's Old Fashion Meats took the flavor game to uncharted territory by adding in gummy bears. The sweet and savory snack came up as a rejected suggestion from a neighboring store owner; when the owner of Grundhofer's finally caved, a brat sensation was born. 

Grundhofers' creation sparked a whirlwind of brat innovation, with the company churning out other flavors such as Pumpkin Pie, Caramel Apple, and Skittles. Today, Grundhofer's boasts more than 100 flavors of bratwurst and counting. They do offer more traditional options as well, but if there's a Banana Cream Pie brat in the case in front of you, why not live dangerously? 

Alligator Nuggets

A staple of Southern cooking, alligator meat is served in a wide array of dishes, but these breaded nuggets are a particularly popular option. Although one might balk at the idea of eating alligator, it's actually a good source of protein, with one serving containing 46 grams. This is the same amount as a lean cut of beef, but with only 232 calories compared to 291 in beef. In addition, it's also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. 

But for all the benefits of alligator meat, there's still the hurdle that some people have to get over. Namely, the question of what alligator meat tastes like. Well, according to Steaks and Game, how your alligator tastes depends on what cut of the gator you have. The legs and body are more dark meat and gamey in flavor, while the tail, which is generally what nuggets are made from, tend to have a milder flavor, more akin to chicken. 

Rose Pork Brains

Yes, you can eat brains from a can. And, in certain parts of the country, it's as much a signature dish as mac and cheese. According to Garden & Gun, brains (not bacon) and eggs have long been a Southern breakfast staple. However, if you're looking to fry up some brain food tomorrow morning, you should be aware that one five-ounce serving of Rose Pork Brains contains more than 1000% of the recommended daily value of cholesterol.  

These days, pig brains are harder to come by, thanks in part to a 2008 incident in Austin, Minnesota when workers in a Quality Pork Processors plant began to experience such symptoms as fatigue, pain, and sensory issues. It was eventually revealed that the workers had actually inhaled aerosolized pig brains. These days, for daring diners looking to flip the script on breakfast, Rose's may be the only pork brains you can find at the store.

Canned Rattlesnake

Most people don't enjoy seeing a live rattlesnake in the wild, much less the idea of scooping one out of a can and serving it for dinner. Advertised on the can as "A True Western Delicacy," canned rattlesnake is served in watery broth with the bones still inside. Diners are encouraged to remove the bones before digging in, although some reviewers have said that after doing so there isn't much meat left. 

If you are feeling adventurous enough to pick up a can of smoked rattlesnake and are curious as to what a venomous reptile might taste like, according to Realtree, it's probably about what you'd expect. The meat is tender and, according to the website, has a taste that is somewhere between frogs' legs and turtle. True, that may not make it sound very appetizing, but proponents of rattlesnake meat note that it's a good addition to soup or chili.

Canned Bread

Made famous by a meme-worthy gag on Spongebob, canned bread has actually been around for more than a century, founded by the B&M company, perhaps most famous for their baked beans. Canned bread can be enjoyed straight from the can or warmed up in the toaster or oven. It's also popular to serve with hot dogs or, of course, beans. 

The benefit of canned bread is that, unlike actual bread, it's got a pretty lengthy shelf life of around two years. That means that you can stock it away and still enjoy a (comparatively) fresh loaf of bread when you need to. It's ideal for a vacation home or to keep in your pantry in the event of an emergency. And, for those who've tried it, the word on canned bread's taste is that it's not too shabby, falling somewhere between rye bread and a muffin. 

Everything Bagel Ice Cream

What is it about ice cream flavors that drive people to experiment? This need to push the boundaries of dessert has led to some scary creations, including Kraft Macaroni & Cheese ice cream and lobster ice cream. Artisanal ice cream makers Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has earned a reputation for creating some to-die-for flavors, including Fluffernutter Pie, Wildberry Lavender, and Skillet Cinnamon Roll. In 2021, the company rolled out a series of breakfast-themed flavors, including this rather bizarre concoction. 

Featuring a buttery streusel flecked with sesame, poppy seeds, garlic, and onions peppered throughout cream cheese ice cream, Jeni's Everything Bagel flavor has inspired enough of a loyal fan base that it was brought back in 2022 after being briefly retired. However, not everyone is feeling the everything bagel love — it has proven to be controversial. Testers on PureWow described the flavor as being reminiscent of French Onion dip being mixed with ice cream. Nothing personal, but we might stick with the Skillet Cinnamon Roll.