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Hit or Miss? Rum cake, pasta sauce 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.

Kashi Mighty BitesKashi has been a healthy cereal pioneer since 1984 when the company was founded. Their mission has always been to create products that are natural, minimally processed, and free of artificial additives and preservatives and highly refined sugars. This new addition to their line is one that your kids will love because they won’t miss the sweetness of cereals that contain high fructose corn syrup. Parents will like it because it contains seven whole grains! Other honey oat cereals won’t stand up to this one. And, the price is reasonable. Suggested retail price is $3.39.KashiLa Jolla, CA858-274-8870

A Taste of Florida Key Lime Tortuga Rum Cake
We’ve called Tortuga Rum Cakes a hit before, but now we like them even more! These delicious little cakes are found on board luxury cruise ships and are available throughout the Caribbean and Mexico and airport shops. Made with Tortuga five-year-old rum, you have to be a rum lover to enjoy these. But if the strong rum flavor is a little too much for you in the regular ones, it’s a little subtler in these key lime-flavored rum cakes.  They’re sooo good! We recommend them as a once-in-a-while indulgence, maybe when you’re on vacation at the beach, enjoying a slice of this cake with your favorite coffee for breakfast!  You’ll smile all day! Retails for $25 for a 16-ounce cake (includes shipping).Tortuga Rum CompanyGrand Cayman Islands, Cayman Islands, British West Indies800-444-0625

Dave's Gourmet Adjustable Heat Sauce
With this clever new product, you can actually adjust the heat level of your hot sauce. The top of the spray bottle rotates in order to change the mixture from the two compartment container to make it hotter or less hot. It's perfect for passing around the table to let everyone choose their own degree of hotness, but for a family who has the same taste for hot, it’s a bit overkill. The flavor of this hot sauce is that of an all American plate of buffalo wings, which is good, but not necessarily special. And, $9.99 is a lot to pay for 7.1 ounces, when for less than half of that you could buy two to three 5-ounce bottles of regular hot sauce.  Dave’s Gourmet, IncSan Francisco, CA800-758-0372

Oscar Mayer Louis Rich Turkey Bologna
Here's what Valerie C. from Monroe, N.C., had to say about this product. "Although it is lower fat than the beef or pork bologna, this turkey bologna does not have the "al dente" texture of bologna, nor a similar flavor. It was very mushy and bland." Retails for $3.49. Thanks, Valerie! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.Kraft Foods Global, Inc.Glenview, IL800-323-0768

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 .