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Hit or Miss? Dressing, ice cream 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.

HITSOrganicville Pomegranate Vinaigrette Dressing With the rising popularity of pomegranate juice over the past year, it’s no surprise to see this fruit show up in salad dressing. Pomegranates are rich in potassium, vitamin C and antioxidants. Studies have suggested that the high level of antioxidants found in pomegranate juice might reduce plaque build-up on artery walls and help prevent hardening of the arteries. Indeed, it may even reverse the progression of the disease. We were already impressed with this company’s line of salad dressings when we reviewed one last February, but this is their best one yet! All-natural, USDA-certified organic, exotic and delicious! Suggested retail price is $3.49-$3.99.

Il Dolce Futuro Butter Pecan Abandon Premium Light Ice Cream This ice cream was a great surprise. The packaging doesn’t make a big deal out of it being “diet” ice cream, and it wasn’t until after several bites that we realized it was a reduced-fat and low-carb product. Sure doesn’t taste like it! So how does it measure up to regular ice cream as far as the nutritionals? One serving of regular butter pecan ice cream (1/2 cup) contains about 190 calories, 13g of fat, 16g of carbs, 15g of sugars, and 130 mg of sodium.  Il Dolce Futuro’s contains 110 calories, 8g of fat, 11g of carbs, 4g of sugars, and 40 mg of sodium. Not bad at all.

CONSUMER-NOMINATED HITThe Natural BarHere’s what Doug F. from Oceanside, Calif., had to say about this product: “This is a vegan protein bar, which I have never seen before. It is gluten free, with no GMOs, no wheat, no trans fat and no cholesterol (I am reading from the label)!  It tastes terrific and they are selling like hot cakes at the front desk of the YMCA where I work. Four cases gone in less than a week! The other bars at the counter are still sitting there! Members are asking us to get more.” Flavors are Crunchy Peanut, Crunchy Cashew, Crunchy Almond, Crunchy Walnut and Soyberry Crunch.  Thanks, Doug!  Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.

Musselman’s Cherry Apple Sauce
It’s just about that time to send the kids back to school, and many food companies will be competing for the attention of parents and children as they roll out their lunchbox products.  Here’s one that may catch the attention of both. This flavored applesauce is colorfully packaged with a Sesame Street character’s smiling face, and the applesauce itself is colorful — bright red in the case of this cherry flavored applesauce.  And, parents may be attracted to the fact that it has 25 percent less sugar than other sweetened, flavored applesauces.  However, as much as we’d like to, we can’t call this a hit because it contains high fructose corn syrup.  Hey Musselmans! Here’s your chance to make our nutritional correction honor roll.  Take out the high fructose corn syrup, and we’ll make this product a hit.  Other flavors are green apple and grape.  Suggested retail price is $2.29.

CONSUMER-NOMINATED MISSAvon Foaming Back BrushHere’s what Teresa R. from Richmond, Ind., had to say about this product: “This does not work as advertised. The lather only comes out of a small hole in the middle of the brush and does not work through the rest of the brush.”  Retails for $9.99.  Thanks, Teresa!  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