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Hit or Miss? Sauces, cheddar bunnies and more

Every Wednesday, "Today" Food Editor Phil Lempert reviews some of  the new items hitting a supermarket near you. This week: Grilling sauce, cheddar bunnies and more.

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:

HITS

San-J Cracked Pepper Grilling SauceOutdoor grilling season is just around the corner, and if you are looking to add some unique spices to your beef, pork and seafood, San-J has some great options.  This new flavor, made with soy sauce, organic sugar, black and white peppercorns and red bell pepper, this sauce has will add a bold flavor that combines Asian and American tastes.   Made with all-natural ingredients, you won’t find high fructose corn syrup, MSG or preservatives on the label (a standout feature – just look at the other BBQ sauce ingredients the next time you are in the supermarket for a shock and surprise!). Another benefit is that there are only 25 calories per (2 Tbsp) serving. One drawback: Sodium is high at 560 mg. Suggested retail price is $3.29 - $3.49. Other new flavor is Sweet & Hot Chili Sauce.www.san-j.com

After facing two rounds of breast cancer, Suzanne Locklear started developing her products in Boise, Idaho, as a way to raise money for breast cancer research. Her new line of chocolate sauces is designed to be used on both desserts and on meats and is made with all-natural ingredients.  Although you probably don’t think of Idaho when you think of chocolate, in Suzanne’s kitchen they know how to make it right. It’s a little on the pricey side, so savor for a special occasion.  Flavors are Chocolate Chutney Orange, Spicy Chocolate Cherry, and Spicy Chocolate Raspberry. Retails for $7.00/8.5 oz.www.suzannesfoods.comCONSUMER-NOMINATED HIT

Annie's Cheddar BunniesHere’s what Julie Dumford from Mooresville, North Carolina, had to say about this product: “There are no hydrogenated oils or artificial flavors.  It has organic wheat flour (and is) vegetarian. Kids love them and the cute bunny shape is a great replacement for those other small cheese crackers!” Thanks, Julie! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way.  Retails for around $4.00 for a 7.5 oz box.www.annies.com

MISS

Carb Fit Cool Ranch TwirlsHere’s a new soy snack made for the low-carb dieter. Unfortunately, like a lot of the new low-carb products, this one has a couple of issues.  Without any official guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration, many companies make claims on the packaging about carb count using terms such as “net carbs” or “impact carbs.”   On the front of the package, this one says “5g net carbs.”  However, this product only has 8 grams of total carbs – which makes us wonder why they just don’t be up front and say so. The biggest problem, though, is the taste, which is both bland and stale-tasting. In today’s world there is no reason that we have to give up taste for health. Retails for about $3.59 for a 4-oz pack.www.carbfit.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 phil.lempert@nbc.com. If he selects your nomination for publication, he’ll send you a SupermarketGuru.com Tote Bag! You can also visit his website at www.supermarketguru.com.