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.
HITSPillar Rock Extra Select Pink Alaskan Wild Salmon Packed in a “flavor savor” pouch — which for us has now become “the package of choice” — this product is skinless, boneless and requires no draining. It’s wild salmon that is frozen and shipped to Thailand for packaging. As many shoppers read labels and are gravitating towards “wild” vs. farmed seafood this product is a great addition to those already on the market. Naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids (each package contains 500mg), it is great for salads as well as using as an ingredient for pastas or tacos (recipes for both are on the package). There’s a nice fresh aroma when you open the package and we like the flavor better than some of the other commercial brands. A 7.1-ounce package retails for $2.59.www.oceanbeauty.com
Melissa's Flavor Your Tofu (Thai Peanut)Tofu is a very good source of protein, specifically soy protein, as well as providing numerous other nutrients necessary for good health. (People seem to be realizing that fact — according to the Soy Foods Association of North America, tofu sales have grown to $250 million in 2002.) On its own, though, tofu tends to be bland and unappealing; this sauce will change your mind. Certified by the USDA, this product is organic and has a tangy kick that takes tofu to a whole new level. Other flavors are Madras Curry, Smoky Chipotle and Ginger Teriyaki. Retails for around $5 to $6 for 8 fluid ounces.www.melissas.com
CONSUMER-NOMINATED HITMrs. May’s NaturalsHere’s what Joy W. from East Fallowfield, Pa., had to say about this product: “This line is a fabulous assortment of wholesome nut snacks. Premium ingredients: no artificial colors or flavors; cholesterol-free, dairy-free, GMO-free, wheat-free. But all that is meaningless if they don't satisfy. Almond Crunch is my favorite (so far). My husband favors Cashew Crunch.” Thanks, Joy! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $3.59 for 5.5 ounces.www.low-carb.com/mrmana.html
MISSLee's Caramel Truffle Swirl Ice CreamBased on a survey of supermarket sales of ice cream through February 2003 (Source: The NPD Group's National Eating Trends Services/USA Today) caramel/nut flavors ranked as the third top-selling individual flavors in terms of share of segment in the United States. So, not a bad move on this Baltimore-based company's part to come up with their own caramel flavor, which has caramel filled truffles in the ice cream. It's sweet, that's for sure, but, while they may be paying attention to flavor trends, Lee’s have ignored nutritional trends. With so many brands now offering ice creams that don't contain artificial ingredients, why bother with one that contains high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated palm oil? And pretty soon, they're going to have to list those trans-fats on the nutritional panel or re-work the recipe. Suggested retail price is $3.29 to $3.69 a pint.www.leesicecream.com
CONSUMER-NOMINATED MISSS.O.S Clean Rinse Scrub SpongeHere’s what Robbi K. from Naples, Fla., had to say about this product: “Although this sponge does not collect that metallic odor, the scrubbing side of the sponge gradually came unglued from the sponge side and therefore the sponge has a very short lifespan.” Thanks, Robbi! Your SupermarketGuru tote bag is on the way. Retails for $1.49 for one.http://www.clorox.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 . If he selects your nomination for publication, he’ll send you a SupermarketGuru.com Tote Bag! You can also visit his Web site at .