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Hit or Miss? Cola, lasagna, soup 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.

Firefighter Brand ColaWe haven’t been as enthusiastic about a product in a long time. Let’s start with the fact that 25 percent of this company’s annual net profits are donated to national and local firefighter-related charities. On top of that, they make their cola without using high-fructose corn syrup. (Are you listening, Coke and Pepsi?) It’s also lower in calories and carbs. And lastly, it tastes a lot better. Do something good for our firefighters and for your self. Suggested retail price ranges are 2-liter: $1.39-$1.59; 12-pack: $3.49-$3.99; and 20-ounce bottle: $1.19-$1.29

Mac Nut ButterIf you love macadamia nuts, then you will want to try this product. In addition to tasting great, macadamias have considerable nutritional benefits, being a great source of protein, calcium, potassium and dietary fiber. They also contain no cholesterol.  In fact, studies have shown that tree nuts such as these can actually help reduce cholesterol and the incidence of heart disease. That’s good news, because the only ingredient used in making Mac Nut Butter is macadamia nuts and nothing else. Retails for $5.95 for 9 ounces.

Purely Decadent Soy Delicious-Peanut Butter ZigZagHere's what Kim B. from Valencia, Calif., had to say about this product: “My son is lactose-intolerant and cannot eat ice cream. So I bought him this and tried it myself.  It is awesome.  It has the same texture as ice cream but is dairy-free.”  Retails for $2.89 for one pint.  Thanks, Kim!  Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way!

Boca Meatless LasagnaHere’s a vegetarian product that is both convenient and tastes great. And if you don't have to watch your sodium (or can’t be bothered) this product is a hit; however, for those who want to look at the entire nutritional panel, this product needs improvement. Made with soy protein (5g per serving), this lasagna cooks in the microwave for about nine minutes.  It’s lower in fat (5g) and cholesterol (20mg) than lasagna made with beef or pork. But, like a lot of microwave dinners in the supermarket, this one is loaded with sodium (880mg). Reduce the sodium and it becomes a hit. Retails for $4.49.

Campbell's Soup At HandHere's what Amanda A. from Delafield, Wisc., had to say about this product: "I just tried the Campbell's Soup At Hand for the first time.  I figured it would be a quick fix when working through lunch.  I had the chicken with noodles. … Chicken? What chicken???"  Retails for $2. Thanks, Amanda! 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 . If he selects your nomination for publication, he’ll send you a Tote Bag! You can also visit his Web site at .