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.
HITSHahn's Yogurt and Cream Cheese Bar If you love cream cheese but shy away from it because of the fat and calories, here’s an alternative to consider. Most regular cream cheeses contain about 100 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 30 grams of cholesterol for a serving size of 2 tablespoons. This cream cheese is made with yogurt, and for the same serving size, it only contains 80 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 25 milligrams of cholesterol. The active cultures in Hahn’s also aids in digestion, reduces the risk of intestinal infection due to improved immune function, and reduces risk of certain cancers by helping to maintain a healthy balance between the 200-plus kinds of bacteria that live in the gastrointestinal tract. But how does it taste? The big bonus is that this cream cheese is creamier and tastier than the typical cream cheese. Retails for $1.99 for a 8-ounce bar.www.hahnscheese.com/
Nectar Organic Fruit and Nut Bar While the energy bar section in the supermarket seems to be expanding on a daily basis, very few of the offerings are ones we actually can recommend. Here’s an exception. This latest entry from Clif Bar contains two servings of fruit, is USDA-certified organic, and contains no trans fats, which raises cholesterol levels if consumed in excess. A simple, healthy and great-tasting snack bar that you can feel good about as you read the ingredients. Retails for $1.79.www.clifbar.com/
Snyder’s of Hanover Carb-Fix Pretzel Sticks
Here’s what Bonnie D. from Essex Junction, Vt., had to say about this product: “Talk about TASTE! With 120 calories per serving (14 sticks) there are no saturated fats or sugars added AND has 9 grams of fiber per serving! The taste is crispy and fresh. If you are watching your carbs this is a great crunch to add. Love them!” Retails for $3.99. Thanks, Bonnie! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.
MISSESThis is a strange product. The first thing you’ll notice is that when you shake the package you hear something moving around inside. After doing some investigating, we found out that the object inside is part of new technology called the FreshCan Wedge, which actually stores vitamin and mineral supplements (holding them in a dry state as to avoid contact with the actual beverage until the tab on the can is pulled). The beverage starts to fizz as the minerals mix. Interesting idea, but we can’t put our stamp of approval on products that still use high fructose corn syrup, especially when they are marketed as a “health” product. Retails for $2.49 for a 14-ounce can.
CONSUMER-NOMINATED MISS: Percara Herbal Extracts Shampoo Here’s what Tay from Manchester, Conn., had to say about this product: “This is a very inefficient shampoo. It does not lather well. I need literally half a bottle of Percara shampoo before it even starts to get through my hair, even then I can't tell because of the lack of suds. And then, within less than 12 hours, my hair already feels weighed down.” Retails for $1.00. Thanks, Tay! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.www.percara.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