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Taste test: a scorecard for the first half of 2012

When the Taster's Choice column was launched in the summer of 2004, we sampled hot dogs, popcorn and peanut butters. While we still compare those types of mainstays, we have also taken on the healthier and more adventurous foods local grocery stores are stocking to satisfy changing eating habits. This year, we have tasted almond-flavored milks and buttery spreads with truffles or caramel and sea salt. Here is a list of the top picks from our panelists for the foods tasted in the first half of 2012. While we do not score new products (that have no comparables), those listed here are ones we liked.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

January
Frozen chicken alfredo mealsProductScore
Lean Cuisine61
Michelina56
Healthy Choice46
Weight Watchers35
Ready-Made

Pizza Crusts
ProductScore
Rustic Crust49
Freschetta Artisan Pizza Crust44
Boboli41
Mama Mary's36
Canned-Salmon BurgersProductScore
Winn-Dixie69
Great Value56
Wild Planet56
Royal Pink53
Chicken of the Sea53


Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to jkeeler@tampabay.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

February
Cinnamon raisin breadProductScore
Sun-Maid81
Pepperidge Farm69
Wonder41
Chili sauce mix

packets
ProductScore
Lawry's59
McCormick56
Publix53
New FoodsProduct
Kellogg's Krave
Lazzaroni Bruschette
Triple Double Neapolitan Oreos
Duncan Hines Simple Mornings
Vanilla-flavored almond milkProductScore
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze69
Nature's Place All Natural58
Silk52
New

Breakfast foods
Product
Cheerios Multi Grain Peanut Butter
Cheerioes Dulce de Leche
BelVita Golden Breakfast Biscuits
Quaker Whole Hearts
Raisin Bran Cinnamon Almond
Chili sauce mix

packets
ProductScore
Lawry's59
McCormick56
Publix53


March
New

desserts
Product
Temptations By Jell-O Key Lime Pie
Hershey's Pieces Milk Chocolate with Almonds
Pepperidge Farm Mint Chocolate Creme Milano Melts
Sara Lee Chocolate Cheesecake
Grocery store

italian subs
ProductScore
Publix99
Winn-Dixie73
Sweetbay52
Walmart41
Salsa VerdeProductScore
Archer Farms68
La Preferida62
Ortega58
New cheese productsProduct
Kraft Fresh Take
Cheez-It
Philadelphia Indulgence
Sorrento Home Style Wide Shred Mozzarella
Grocery store

italian subs
ProductScore
Publix99
Winn-Dixie73
Sweetbay52
Walmart41


April
Salted chocolateProductScore
Salazon Chocolate Co. Organic Dark Chocolate with Natural Sea Salt74
Ghirardelli Intense Dark Sea Salt Soiree with Seat Salt62
Lindt with "A Touch of Sea Salt"45
New treatsProduct
International Delight York Peppermint Pattie coffee creamer
Duncan Hines Frosting Creations
Cadbury Caramello and Double Chocolate frozen ice cream bars
Birthday Cake Oreo cookies
New FoodsProduct
Swanson Flavor Boost
Tazo Iced Black Tea
Kraft Sizzling Salads Tuscan Chicken Dinner Kit
Sara Lee Iron Kids Bread
new

Chocolate / Peanut butters
Product
Cracker Creations Granola Bars
Jif to Go
Ritz Cracker Fuls
Fiber One Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies
New treatsProduct
International Delight York Peppermint Pattie coffee creamer
Duncan Hines Frosting Creations
Cadbury Caramello and Double Chocolate frozen ice cream bars
Birthday Cake Oreo cookies


May
Frozen flanProductScore
Goya83
Raymundo's60
Luisa's56
Kozy Shack43
Baked BeansProductScore
KC Masterpiece79
Winn-Dixie58
Bush's Grillin' Beans with Bourbon and Brown Sugar52
Buttery spreadsProductScore
Country Crock Cinnamon Spread73
Aux Delices des Bois Black Truffle Butter73
Land O'Lakes Honey Butter Spread65
Epicurean Caramel Sea Salt Butter Spread55
Bloody Mary mixesProductScore
Major Peters78
Fat and Juicy61
Hannaford45
New foodsProduct
Silk Fruit & Protein Juice Blend
Pepperidge Farm Strawberry Banana Swirl Bread
Welch's Fruit Fizz Concord Grape Blast
Sweet Cinnamon Super-Pretzel
Baked BeansProductScore
KC Masterpiece79
Winn-Dixie58
Bush's Grillin' Beans with Bourbon and Brown Sugar52
Buttery spreadsProductScore
Country Crock Cinnamon Spread73
Aux Delices des Bois Black Truffle Butter73
Land O'Lakes Honey Butter Spread65
Epicurean Caramel Sea Salt Butter Spread55


July
New

Ricotta Cheese
ProductScore
Polly-O75
Sorrento63
Great Value59
Imitation CrabProductScore
Kanimi50
Trans Ocean46
Ocean Master37
New FoodsProduct
Doritos Jacked
The Laughing Cow Cinnamon Cream Cheese
Planter's Natural Peanut Butter
International Delight Iced Coffee


June
New SnacksProduct
Chocolate Creme Twinkies
Chewy Smashbar Graham Pretzel
Spicy Buffalo Wheat Thins
Peanut Honey Pretzel
New treatsProduct
Jolly Rancher Crunch N Chew
Pillsbury Special Edition Cinnamon Rolls With Chocolate Icing
Teddy Grahams Soft Paws
Lipton Instant Iced Tea & Honey
Barbecue SaucesProductScore
Bone Suckin' Sauce80
Bull's-Eye80
Kraft64
Stubb's58
Jack Daniel's56
Weber55

Taste test: a scorecard for the first half of 2012 07/24/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 11:29am]

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