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Hit or Miss? Fish sauce, cookies 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.

Mose’s Fish Sauce The recipe for this tartar sauce comes from the late Alphonse "Mose" Bambenek, owner of the nationally known Hot Fish Shop restaurant in southeastern Minnesota. The eatery opened in 1931 and closed in 1999, four years after his death. Bamenek's daughter brought the recipe back to life when her children urged her to make the sauce. She only knew how to make the recipe in large batches, so she distributed 30 pints to relatives to test it out. She and her husband now have sold over 5,000 pounds of tartar sauce. We tried the special recipe, which is simply mayonnaise, turnip greens, capers, sugar and dill weed, and it is nothing less than delicious. A must try! The Tartar Sauce is for sale in 16 oz. jars for $3.99 each, two for $7.75, four for $15.00 or a case of 12 jars for $45.00.

Celestial Seasonings Decaf China Pearl White TeaCelestial Seasonings has added a new variety to their extensive line of herbal teas. White tea is packed with powerful health benefits, boasting the same polyphenols (plant nutrients) and antioxidants as green tea but in even greater amounts.  White tea is the least processed of tea leaves. Great tasting and healthy!  Retails for $6.

Pepperidge Farm Sugar Free Milano Cookies
Here’s what Elaine A. from Northfield, Mass., had to say about this product: “My Grandmother has diabetes but still craves a cookie once in a while. For years she has been restricted to the few flavors and brands on the market without sugar (and frankly they taste funny). She and I give sugar-free Milano cookies two thumbs up!” Thanks, Elaine! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $3.19.

Michael Angelo's Vegetable Lasagna Here’s what Ruth S. had to say about this product: “This is excellent frozen lasagna. Best done in the oven rather than the microwave. Our family loves it!”  Thanks, Ruth! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $12.99.

Honey Maid Oatmeal Cookies
Honey Maid is making more than graham crackers these days. And although they have been busy creating new products, they haven’t been improving the ingredients. These cookies contain high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil, which leaves little to be excited about. The packaging says “goodness of whole grain” and “lightly sweet” in an attempt to make the consumer feel like they are buying something that is good for them. But until they take out those bad ingredients, it’s still just a cut above junk food. Oatmeal raisin also available. Retails for $3.79.

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 site at .