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Taste Test: Frozen pepperoni pizzas

Students may be enjoying their last days of summer vacation, but many teachers are reporting back to work this week. Before they headed to school to set up their classrooms, Taster's Choice assembled a panel of teachers to test a lunch that probably will be heated up in many school microwave ovens: individual frozen pepperoni pizzas. We eliminated any pizzas that required a regular oven, choosing to try only pizzas that could be prepared quickly in any teacher's lounge or cafeteria microwave.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score (out of 100) Healthy Choice/ 67 DiGiorno Thin Crust/ 65 Red Baron Singles/ 60
How'd it look? French bread crust, lots of dark, rich sauce and flecks of spice. Most appealing of the choices. "Pizza parlor-looking with big pieces of pepperoni. Very colorful, with rich tomatoes and crusty cheese on the edges. The pepperoni was in little bits, which disturbed some judges.
Judges' comments Sauce is very sweet and meat is savory. Crust is robust. Red sauce is mild and the pepperoni is very spicy. The crust is crunchy and has a bit of a peppery aftertaste. Crust is buttery and a bit cakelike. "My teeth sink right in," said one judge. Another described the flavor as "tangy."
Would they buy? Three of the five judges said yes. Three of the five judges said yes. Four of the five judges said yes.
Shopping information Widely available. $1.50 for a 6-ounce pizza at Wal-Mart. Widely available. $2.38 for an 8.4-ounce pizza at Wal-Mart. Widely available. $3.25 for a package of eight individual pizzas.
Also sampled: Celeste ($1.29 for a 5.5-ounce pizza at Sweetbay, 21 points); South Beach ($3.69 for a 6.3-ounce pizza from Publix, 30 points); Great Value ($5.98 for a six-pack of pizzas at Wal-Mart, 23 points); Tombstone ($6.26 for a six-pack of pizzas at Wal-Mart, 46 points); Tony's Deep Dish ($1.48 for a 6.25-ounce pizza at Wal-Mart, 29 points); DiGiorno Traditional Crust ($2.38 for a 9.3-ounce pizza at Wal-Mart, 56 points); Stouffer's French Bread ($2.92 for two pizzas at Wal-Mart, 57 points); Lean Cuisine Traditional ($2.92 for a 6-ounce pizza at Wal-Mart, 47 points); and Lean Cuisine French Bread ($1.88 for a 5.25-ounce pizza at Wal-Wart, 59 points).

Panelists: Ron Heller, Western Civilization teacher at Shorecrest Preparatory School in St. Petersburg; Paula Cheshire, first-grade teacher at Oakhurst Elementary School in Largo; Kim Thomson, fifth-grade teacher at Pasadena Fundamental School in St. Petersburg; Jan Robison, Latin teacher at Shorecrest; and Steve Sims, theology teacher at Tampa Catholic High School in Tampa. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Taste Test: Frozen pepperoni pizzas 08/12/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 4:30am]
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