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Hit or Miss? Chili tuna, coffee cake and more

Every week, "Today" show food editor Phil Lempert reviews some of the new items hitting supermarket shelves near you.

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.

Bumble Bee Sensations Spicy Thai Chili Tuna Medley
This new product from Bumble Bee Seafoods is sensational! The concept is simple: Take a can of tuna and add some flavor in the form of tomato paste, garlic, onion, chili powder and paprika. They’ve even included a whole red chili. The package also includes crackers and makes a great tasting, protein-filled and convenient snack. Retail price is $1.19.

Omega Foods Wild Salmon Burgers
Here’s what Brent B. from Fulton, Ill., had to say about this product: “They have a phenomenal combination of all-natural ingredients and spices in a taste that beats 'farm-raised' cold. Not to mention superior nutrition. Although you only get two burgers in a package, you'll want to stock up if you're lucky enough to find them.  They only take six minutes to prepare, so give 'em a flip. The burgers can be found at Whole Foods and Wild Oats stores nationwide.” Thanks, Brent!  Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $3.49 for 2 patties (8 ounces) or $4.99 to 5.99 for 4 patties.

Gluten-Free Pantry Coffee Cake Mix Here’s what Sue C. from Marlborough, Conn., had to say about this product:  “At a recent meeting of my book group, someone made the Gluten-Free Pantry Coffee Cake because she knew I was gluten-free. I couldn't believe how delicious it tasted.  Neither could any of the other members of the group.  I've tried other products from this company and really like the brand in general, but I am really hooked on this cake.  Now I'm buying this and serving it to all my friends.”  Thanks, Sue!  Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.  Retails for $4.50 for a 21-ounce mix.

Bertolli Chicken Parmigiana & Penne
For people on the go, foods that are easy to prepare and taste great are a blessing.  This frozen skillet dinner for two cooks up in about 10 minutes, and it does taste surprisingly delicious.  But, when we take a look at the nutritional panel, it gets a little scary: 1540mg of sodium, 53g of carbs, 26 g of fat, and 550 calories!  Someone at Bertolli needs to review the latest Recommended Daily Allowances!  Bertolli, love the idea, but please work on making this product better for us!  Retails for $7.49.

Amazone Chocolate
These nutrition bars are brought to us by the same company that makes Boomi Bars, a product we like.  For this one, though, we’re not sure what to think, mostly because the packaging is quite vague.  The different versions claim to have herbal supplements and act as a “brain tonic” or natural stimulant, but they don’t provide any explanation for how it works except that it contains Maca. We looked up Maca and found that it is a Peruvian root historically used by the Incas as an energy enhancer.  And, let’s say you do feel “stimulated” by this bar, how do you know it’s not from 18 grams of sugar instead of the Maca? Shoppers need a better explanation of this product.  Retails for about $1.60.

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 . If he selects your nomination for publication, he’ll send you a Tote Bag! You can also visit his Web site at .