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Hit or Miss? Chocolate, dressing 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.

The Black Panther Bar Extreme Dark Chocolate

Here’s a chocolate bar that’s not only great-tasting but also benefits endangered species of the world through donating 10 percent the company’s profits to the protection of these animals. In addition, they use cocoa beans that are shade-grown and organic and they are part of the Fair Trade movement. The chocolate is 88 percent cocoa, which means more antioxidants! In addition to the black panther shape, there are 17 other varieties, from bats to salmon. Retails for $

Galeos World’s Best Miso DressingAccording to Japanese mythology, miso is a “gift from the gods,” bestowing health, longevity, and happiness. Well, at least some of that is true. Miso is a fermented soybean paste, which is credited for having nutritional benefits such as supporting immune function, energy production, and bones and blood vessels. In addition, some research has shown the consumption of miso to protect against breast cancer. Created by chefs at Galeos Cafe in Newport Beach, Calif., this miso dressing tastes great, contains all-natural ingredients, and no MSG. Retails for $

Mr. Clean MagicReach
Here’s what MaryAnn Shell from Atlanta, Ga., had to say about this product: “I have arthritis, which limits mobility. This product allows me to clean the bathroom from top to bottom without stress. And it actually works! Refills are not any more expensive than any other quality product. This is a product I almost didn't buy, but am very glad I did.” Retails for $13.99 for starter kit. Thanks MaryAnn! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the

MISSESCanterbury Naturals Cinnamon Apple Pancake MixHere’s a gourmet pancake mix that touts itself in being an all-natural product. That’s why we were surprised to see high-fructose corn syrup listed in the ingredients, though they did leave out the trans fats, which is common in other supermarket pancake mixes. They taste good and like most pancake mixes are simple to prepare. It’s hard, though, to forgive them for not being truthful how natural this product really is. Retails for $

Rice-A-Roni Express
Here’s what Marie O. from Pittston, Pa., had to say about this product: “I got this for my 90-year-old mother because I thought it would be something easy to prepare. When I first opened the package, it didn't smell very good, and when it was heated, the taste was even worse.... I threw it out and contacted the company to complain.” Retails for $1.99. Thanks Marie! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the

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