'Supermarket Guru' Phil Lempert names best, worst food products of 2010

With more than 17,000 new food products introduced to consumers annually (Mintel), Philip Lempert, known to both consumers and the food industry as the "Supermarket Guru(R)" announced his top 10 new product "Hits" and "Misses of 2010."

With more than 17,000 new food products introduced to consumers annually (Mintel), Philip Lempert, known to both consumers and the food industry as the "Supermarket Guru(R)" announced his top 10 new product "Hits" and "Misses of 2010."

A leading food trends, retailing and food safety expert, Lempert samples more than 5,000 new products annually. Lempert tests and judges each product based on eight specific criteria: taste, health, ingredients, appearance, sustainability, preparation, packaging, and value. Based on a 100 point scale, products scoring an 85 or above are considered a "Hit" and those scoring 75 and below are a "Miss."

"With more than 50,000 products on the shelves and so many new products annually, it's hard for shoppers to keep track and try every one," says Lempert. "That's what we're here for. The "Hit or Miss" section is one of the most popular on our site for both consumers and retail buyers who look to us to help them sort it out."

According to Lempert, the "Misses" this year really come down to taste and ingredients. "It's amazing to me that companies still think they can pull a fast one on consumers by adding horrible ingredients and creating unhealthful products. Consumers want "clean" labels and are much more sophisticated then they're being given credit for."

Phil's 2010 "Misses" Include:

  • Not Just Cereal Milk Chocolate Fruity Flavored O's
    (Score 57) "Sold in Wal-Mart, this cereal is a mixture of chocolate and Fruit Loops without any taste. In addition, a 1.58 ounce serving has 27 grams of sugar, 220 calories and 90 milligrams of sodium. What a way to start the day...not!"
  • Starbuck's Via Ready Brew
    (Score 64) "This is one of those products where the added convenience just does not make up for the taste. Inside one of these little packets is a secret recipe of instant and 'micro ground' coffee. But the first ingredient is not coffee—it is actually sugar. No aroma, no real coffee flavor, and for about a buck each—no sale!"
  • Innovasian Cuisine General Tso's Chicken
    (Score 65) "Innovasian's Entree Kit contains both the chicken and the sauce to make this Chinese delicacy. The sauce is way too sweet, which is no surprise, since sucrose is the first ingredient. The product is loaded with preservatives and additives. A six ounce portion is just 3.5 grams of fat, but 810mg of sodium and 67g of carbs."
  • City of Roses Mazama Infused Pepper Vodka Creamy Mustard
    Score 66) "This mustard has a powerful, yet strange aroma and all that I tasted were the eggs and the apple cider vinegar. This is one of those products that I would flat out never recommend to anyone who values their taste buds!"
  • Hijinks Energy Mixer
    (Score 67) "It's a make your own energy drink by adding a little bottle of Hijinks to your own beverage. A word of caution because this is classified as a supplement the complete nutritional facts do not have to be disclosed. What is disclosed is that it is only 10 calories, has 2g of sugars and has an energy blend of 1100mg of which 200 are from caffeine."
  • Minute Maid Enhanced Lemonade Pomegranate Lemonade
    (Score 67) "The product contains only 12% juice and the first ingredient is pure filtered water, the second ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, the third ingredient is lemon and pomegranate juices from concentrate. The aroma and flavor reminds me of the bug juice that they used to serve at camp. All I taste is sugar - no pomegranate and no lemon."
  • Wrigley's Extra Dessert Delights Sugarfree Gum Mint Chocolate Chip Gum
    (Score 68) "Although the aroma is nice, it's one of the dumbest ideas of the year—to produce chewing gum that supposedly tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream! Not only is it a lame idea, but the gum tastes bad and the flavor does not even last very long; maybe that's the good news?"
  • Alb-Gold Chocolate Pasta
    (Score 69) "When I saw this chocolate egg pasta I was excited. Especially since the ingredients included real cacao powder and confectioner's sugar. But after cooking it, there was no aroma and frankly no chocolate taste. It tasted just like any other egg noodle."
  • Sun Tropics Premium Nectars Calamansi Lime
    (Score 69)"Calamansi Lime is a little known lime that comes from the Philippines. However, this product only has 10% juice and 29 grams of added sugar in just eight ounces. The package clearly states that it's not from concentrate which frankly is misleading to many shoppers."
  • Ayala's Herbal Water Lemon Verbena Geranium
    (Score 69)"The aroma is perfume-y and the taste is a combination of perfume-y and soapy. I also find the USDA organic seal to be a cheap shot —yes they use organic extracts, but they're also using purified water instead of spring or naturally sourced water."

"The "Hits" this year are healthful products, but delicious and fun to eat," says Lempert. "These companies understand the consumer and I wish them great success."

Based on its 97 score, the best product for 2010 is Straus Family Creamery European Style Organic Cinnamon Whole Milk Yogurt. According to Lempert, "The cinnamon is not overpowering and complements the tangy yogurt flavor. Although it has billions of good bacteria with live and active cultures, it's the taste that makes it a hit. However, due to the 24 grams of sugars in one cup, we couldn't give it a perfect score."

Other 2010 "Hits" include: Wild Planet Wild Sardines Extra Virgin Olive Oil Flavor (Score 96), Truitt Brothers All Natural Cranberry Orchard Medley (Score 96), Olade Lemon Juice Beverage (Score 96), Fior di Frutta Organic Fruit Spread Strawberry Flavor (Score 96), Organic Valley Live Organic Lowfat Yogurt Drink Plain Flavor (Score, 96), Glacia Ice Box Pure Arctic Spring Water (Score 96), Lucini Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil EcoValue Box (Score 96), Tonnino Tuna Filets with Jalapeno in Olive Oil (Score 95); and Lundberg Roasted Brown Rice Couscous Savory Herb Flavor (Score 95).

Lempert reviews products on his weekly Wednesday video cast called "5 Products in 5 Minutes." The video cast also is posted on You Tube, Yahoo, Supermarket News, Food Institute, IGA, National Grocers Association, Brand Square, Trend Central, AOL video, My Space, MetaCafe, Revver, Break, Daily Motion, Blip.TV, Veoh, Bright Cove, Crackle, Sclipo, Viddler, Howcast, 5min, Vimeo, Graspr and on iTunes as a free download.

About Philip Lempert

Known as the Supermarket Guru(R), Phil Lempert publishes the trends publication The Lempert Report and Food Nutrition and Science. He is the author of several books and founded www.SupermarketGuru.com in 1994 that is a leading online resource providing consumers with food safety, products, trends and shopping tips. With more than six million visitors annually, consumers have access to breaking food industry news, health and nutrition tips and other food-related information. For more information, please visit www.SupermarketGuru.com.

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