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:
Country Choice Organic Instant Oatmeal Plus (French Vanilla)Oatmeal is a nutritious little grain. It’s low in fat and provides a great source for water-soluble fiber that is known for reducing cholesterol. Add protein, isoflavones from soy, omega 3’s from flax, and calcium, and you’ve got a great food to start the day with! But wait … it gets better. This oatmeal is certified organic, which means no refined sweeteners, no high-fructose corn syrup, no genetically modified ingredients, no preservatives, and no trans fats. And if you don’t have a lot of time to prepare breakfast, this only takes about one minute and a half in your microwave. This product is also suitable for vegans. Retails for about $3.30.www.countrychoicenaturals.com
Pepperidge Farm Goldfish with CalciumThis is one of those products we applaud for making a nutritional correction. Traditionally snacked on by kids (or at bars!) Goldfish are now available in a version with zero grams of trans fat and an extra boost of calcium. Trans fats come from hydrogenated oils that are often used by food manufacturers to make their products more shelf-stable. However, trans fats have been linked to heart disease, and as of 2006, the FDA will be requiring that all labels include trans fats. In addition, these little fish contain about 20 percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium. So, it’s still not an apple or a carrot, but for a salty, fun, snack, this one just got better. Retails for $1.99.www.pfgoldfish.com
Breyer's Carb Smart Ice CreamHere’s what Nancy K. from Asbury, Conn., had to say about this product. “I am on a low-carb diet, but I love ice cream. This is a way for me to stick to my diet and still have my ice cream. The taste is not any different than regular ice cream.” Thanks, Nancy! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way! Retails for $5.39.www.breyers.com
Smucker’s Toppings Chocolate MochaSmucker's has added a new flavor to their line of chocolate sauces, and not only have they made it tasty, but it’s fat-free as well. Pour over your ice cream and wow! But, that’s where a product like this can steer you wrong. Remember, just because it’s fat-free, doesn’t mean you should eat the whole jar. There is 110 calories in one serving (2 Tbsp.), so be careful as not to overdo it. Also, this sauce contains high-fructose corn syrup! Fat free or not; it’s an ingredient we want to avoid. Retails for $1.99. www.smuckers.com
Betty Crocker Carb Monitor Roasted Garlic Mashed PotatoesHere’s what Glenda W. from Montgomery, Ala., had to say about this product. “My husband and I like garlic, and that is the main reason I purchased these potatoes. Also, because they are lower in carbohydrates. If you like garlic, or rather love garlic, this product is for you. We personally felt the garlic was a bit too much. They also had a heavy taste, and the butter that was suggested to add was like non-existent. Some may like these potatoes, but we prefer a more smoother and natural taste.” Thanks, Glenda! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way! www.generalmills.com
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 email@example.com. If he selects your nomination for publication, he’ll send you a SupermarketGuru.com Tote Bag! You can also visit his website at .