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Hit or Miss? Almond oil, chips and more

Every week, “Today” show food editor Phil Lempert reviews some of the new items hitting supermarket shelves near you.
/ Source: TODAY

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.

La Tourangelle Roasted Almond Oil
By now most of us know that almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, which helps to lower cholesterol, and are an excellent source of vitamin E. But have you ever cooked with it? Almond oil is a delicious alternative that goes well with fish, salads and bread. This brand of almond oil is made in California (where many of the almonds in the world are produced). It costs a bit more than a high quality olive oil, but it’s a must for those who love to add their own secret ingredient! Suggested retail price: $11.99 for a 16.9-ounce tin.

Nirmala’s Kitchen Moroccan Tagine BlendA tagine is a traditional stew-like dish from Morocco that is made in an earthenware pot. This company takes the name and uses it to describe a blend of spices made with paprika, coriander, cumin, cloves, and allspice that can be added to chicken, pork, eggs, beef, or seafood for an exotic flavor. Nirmala Narine (the company founder) spent two weeks with Berber tribesman in the Saharan desert to develop this blend, which is salt- and sugar-free and has no MSG. Suggested retail price, $6.95.

Cape Cod All Natural Veggie Tortilla Chips
Here’s what D.G.K. from Altoona, Pa., had to say about this product: “These chips are good for anyone who wants to snack but still wants something relatively healthy at the same time. These colorful tortilla chips are made with stone-ground organic corn flour, and are then flavored with parsley, beet, spinach, onion, carrot, tomato or garlic powder. Plus, they are tasty to boot.” Retails for $2.99. Thanks, DGK! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.

Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Jelly Belly jelly beans made a name for themselves by developing unusual flavors such as caramel corn, cafe latte, margarita and even a limited assortment of “gross flavors” under the “Harry Potter” brand. Now the company has developed a line called Sport Beans that are being marketed as an energizer for endurance athletes, but a read of the nutritional facts is disappointing; a serving of these jelly beans has 22g of sugar. Yes, we know it’s not designed to be a health food, but though the sugar may give you a burst of energy, it won't last for long. Our suggestion is to leave Jelly Belly’s as they are — why can't candies just be candies? There’s a place in our diets for indulging in sweet treats, but not when marketed as a nutritional supplement. Jelly Belly Sport Beans retail for about $0.99.

Walden Farms Calorie Free Marshmallow Dip
Here’s what Andrea S. from Tomkins Cove, N.Y., had to say about this product: “I bought it on a whim at the supermarket. I thought it would be a good way to dress up fruit. But it was awful; it tasted like a big bowl of chemicals, not like marshmallows at all! I'd rather have some fluff, calories, sugar and all!” Retails for $3.99. Thanks Andrea! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.