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Hit or Miss? Pasta sauce, soy drink 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.

Ragu Organic Garden Veggie Pasta SauceWhen one of America’s leading brands makes a nutritional correction we have to stand up and take notice — and take a taste. And we’re glad we did. Designed for kids, this pasta sauce is smooth in texture and certified organic (which means NO high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial ingredients, irradiation or GMO ingredients). We predict this will quickly become the number-one pasta sauce choice for parents. (In fact, this product evolved out of survey results that showed 68 percent of parents said they “wished more major food companies would offer organic selections.”) Retails for $2.79 for a 1-pound, 10-ounce jar. Also available in Traditional and Cheese varieties.

Lean Cuisine 100% Whole Grain Spa Cuisine Lemongrass Chicken with Brown Rice and VegetablesWe love this latest line from Lean Cuisine! A key to sticking to any diet, of course, is to have food that is tasty and satisfying — and this Spa Cuisine does just that. Like all the Lean Cuisine products, this is low in calories (240), has only 6 grams of fat and has two servings of whole grains. And it’s the last item that is most significant: Three daily servings of whole grains can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, Type II diabetes, digestive system cancers and hormone-related cancers. The Spa Cuisine line comes in several varieties. Retails for $3.99.

CONSUMER-NOMINATED HITSQuaker Fruit & Oatmeal Cereal Bites Here’s what Mary B. from Spring Valley, Ill., had to say about this product: “These are nutritious, delicious and filled with oatmeal. They’re loaded with a lot of fiber in addition to the other nutrition. They come in individual bags which contain square ‘bites.’ Plenty of fruit filling inside. They are great for on-the-go, lunch boxes and snacks for the kids to bring to school. The great taste and extra fiber make me justify paying the little extra price.” Thanks, Mary! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $3.89.

Silk Live! Here’s what Ann B. from Woodbridge, Va., had to say about this soy-and-fruit product: “This soy drink has a great taste and texture. It has probiotics added, which I love. And it fills a void for my dairy-allergic son.” Thanks, Ann! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $1.99.

MISSMoonstruck ChocolateThese candies are billed as “chocolate for the stars” a(they were included in celebs’ goodie bags at the most recent Oscars). And it maybe that only Hollywood types can afford them! The handmade truffles we tasted are indeed delicious, but for $36 for 15 pieces, we have to wonder if this company is seeing “stars.”

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 .