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By "Today" Food Editor
updated 12/15/2004 1:56:12 PM ET 2004-12-15T18:56:12

It takes a lot for a food product to succeed. In fact, out of more than 30,000 new food items that were introduced in 2003, less than 5 percent were hits. (And less than 10 percent of all new products are still on supermarket shelves three years after they launch.) To help you avoid spending money on the likely failures, here are this week’s Hits and Misses.

Chocolove Extra Strong Dark Chocolate
This chocolate is simply divine! The 6-inch x 3-inch bar contains 77 percent pure cocoa. Made in a small factory in Boulder, Col., these chocolate bars also come with a love poem on the inside of the packaging; in this case, a poem by Robert Browning. A great gift for someone special or for yourself! Sold nationally in natural-foods stores, gourmet shops and online. Retails for about $2.35.

Kashi Heart to Heart Instant Oatmeal
Eating oatmeal regularly is a great way to lower your cholesterol. This instant oatmeal is yet another great product that prides themselves in making natural products that don’t contain refined sugars, artificial additives and preservatives. This oatmeal keeps to their tradition of "hit" products. Retails for $3.49.

Bear Creek Damn Good Chili Mix
Here’s what Linda H. from Centerville, Ind., had to say about this product. “It has good seasonings and is very easy to use. You can vary the flavor by adding beef, pork, or chicken. It makes a large portion for a family meal and keeps well as leftovers.” Retails for $8.19 for a 2-pack (9.9 ounces). Thanks, Linda! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.

RiceSelect Tri-Color Couscous
Couscous is a food staple for many Middle Eastern cultures. It is a tasty alternative to regular rice or potatoes and makes a great, easy-to-prepare side dish! This company sells couscous in a few different varieties, packaged in a plastic jar. Although this product is great, it’s hard to make it a hit because of the high price. Retails for $7 for a 27-ounce jar.

Dawn Complete
Here’s what Jean B. from Byron, Minn., had to say about this new product. “This new packaging may be better looking on the shelf but is a ‘wet fish’ in your hands!!! I cannot hold onto it and it slips out of my hands each time I go to use it!” Retails for $2.99. Thanks, Jean! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.

Phil Lempert is food editor of the “Today” show. He welcomes questions and comments — as well as nominations for “hits” and “misses” in this column — which can be sent to phil.lempert@nbc.com. If he selects your nomination for publication, he’ll send you a SupermarketGuru.com Tote Bag! You can also visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.


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