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Taste test: A look back at all the products we've sampled so far

The Taster's Choice judges are resting their taste buds this week and, boy, do they deserve it. From taco shells and polish sausage to pomegranate juice and ice cream cones, they've put their stomachs on the line for us.

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We're a little past the halfway point of 2008, so it's a good time to assess the year's tasted products. As usual, store brands have done well and still surprise us when they fare better than the big-name brands we associate with certain foods. For instance, Sweetbay, Publix and Wal-Mart bested Pillsbury in the crescent roll tasting.

For Taster's Choice, we shop at Publix, Sweetbay, Albertsons, Wal-Mart and, occasionally, Sam's Club, Target and Gordon Food Service Marketplace, a discount bulk food store with locations in Clearwater and St. Petersburg, and health food stores.

As you go through the list, remember that most major brands are available at multiple grocery stores. Store brands that do not have the same name as the store are noted.

We appreciate tips to improve the column and also suggestions about grocery store foods to try. If you have suggestions, please e-mail them to Kathy Saunders at subkat@aol.com. Put SUGGESTIONS in the subject line.

Suggestions also may be mailed to Taster's Choice, Newsfeatures, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731.

Pancake mixes

1. GFS (Gordon Food Service) Marketplace

2. Betty Crocker

3. Pioneer (Albertsons)

Pancake syrup

1. Shady Maple Farms Organic

2. Essensia (Albertsons)

3. Cary's maple syrup

Cocktail sauce

1. Crosse & Blackwell

2. Albertsons

3. Bookbinder's

Canned asparagus

1. Hannaford (Sweetbay)

2. Albertsons

3. Libby's

Pound cake

1. Sara Lee

2. Wal-Mart

3. Buttery Baker

Almonds

1. Emerald

2. Blue Diamond

3. GreenWise (Publix)

Graham cracker crusts

1. Nabisco

2. Keebler

3. Albertsons

Frozen key lime pies

1. Edwards

2. GFS Marketplace

3. Marie Callender

Chicken noodle soup

1. Albertsons

2. Great Value (Wal-Mart)

3. Hannaford (Sweetbay)

Polish sausage

1. Healthy Ones Skinless Kielbasa

2. Eckrich Polish Kielbasa

3. Hillshire Farm Polska Kielbasa

Powder water flavoring, lemon

1. Sturm Foods

2. Replenish Free

3. True Lemon

Taco shells

1. Ortega

2. Great Value, Old El Paso (tie)

3. Albertsons

Onion dip

1. Market Pantry (Target)

2. Albertsons

3. Great Value (Wal-Mart)

Cola

1. Sam's Club

2. Albertsons

3. Publix

Cupcakes

1. Publix

2. Super Target

3. Sweetbay

Eggs

1. Egg Innovations

2. Hillandale Farms

3. Sweetbay

Sugar cones

1. Joy

2. Keebler

3. Comet

Frozen chicken nuggets

1. Market Pantry (Target)

2. Milford Valley Farms

3. Tyson

Pomegranate juice

1. POM

2. Albertsons

3. Apple & Eve Organics

Ginger ale

1. Albertsons

2. Hannaford (Sweetbay)

3. Seagram's

Vanilla extract

1. Great Value (Wal-Mart)

2. Albertsons

3. McCormick Gourmet Collection Organic

Crescent rolls

1. Hannaford (Sweetbay)

2. Publix

3. Great Value (Wal-Mart)

Spreadable cheese

1. Kaukauna

2. Rondele Pub Cheese

3. Owl's News Vermont White Cheddar

Cheese puffs

1. Herr's

2. Cheetos Puffs

3. Cheetos Naturals

Instant white rice

1. Hannaford (Sweetbay)

2. Albertsons

3. Great Value (Wal-Mart)

Pesto

1. Sauces n' Love (Sam's Club)

2. Buitoni Pesto Basil Sauce

3. Classico

Tiramisu

1. GFS Marketplace

2. Publix

3. Mazarro's Italian Market (St. Petersburg)

4. Albertsons

Taste test: A look back at all the products we've sampled so far 08/05/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 4:30am]

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