Getting children to eat before school is a struggle in many households. That may be why food manufacturers constantly produce new breakfast items marketed for young consumers, some healthful, others not as much. To judge on taste alone, we asked a guest panel of teachers to try child-friendly items found recently at local grocery stores. Next, we tackle breakfast bars with more fruit and fiber. Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent
Taste test: New breakfast foods
|Product/Score||How'd it Look?||judgeS' comments||would they buy?||shopping info|
|The newly designed, old-fashioned-shaped bottle for Log Cabin's "natural" syrup was a big hit with our teacher panelists. The absence of high-fructose corn syrup in the new blend was less impressive than the pleasing maple flavor and smooth consistency. Without the corn syrup, this natural syrup had a thinner texture than the original Log Cabin. It was sweet enough without being too sugary.||Three of the five judges said yes.||$5.99 for a 22-ounce bottle from Sweetbay.|
|Aunt Jemima Confetti Pancakes||Fun||Aunt Jemima's newest pancakes were filled with flecks of color, almost like sprinkles. They tasted like other pancakes from our favorite pancake-making aunt. A couple of panelists even said they tasted homemade. These transitioned easily from the freezer to the microwave and plumped up nicely, although a bit spongy. Though the "confetti" didn't add anything to the flavor of the pancakes, judges allowed that the colors might impress children enough to get them to eat. One judge described them as "birthday pancakes."||Two of the five judges said yes.||$2.19 for a box of 12 from Sweetbay.|
|Eggo Real Fruit Pizza||Healthy||Judges were divided on their opinions about Eggo's new frozen breakfast pizzas. We tried the strawberry granola pizza and liked the look of the crumbled oats on top and the sweet strawberry smell. The granola and pieces of strawberry were combined with yogurt to complete the pizza. After being warmed in the oven, the flavors ran together and the granola bits and fruit bubbled nicely on top. At first bite, a couple of panelists compared the crust to cardboard. But the aftertaste was more appealing, described as "real" and "almost fruity enough." One judge, whose plate was clean, said, "It's got true strawberry taste and texture on a sweet, whole wheat crust with tasty granola."||Two of the five judges said yes.||$2.79 for a 5.3-ounce pizza from Publix.|
|Post Cupcake Pebbles||Colorful||Three of the newest cereals on the market could make grocery shopping with children even more miserable than usual, judges figured. The colorful cookies and cupcakes almost leap off the boxes. First, Post gave us Fruity Pebbles. But that cereal, apparently, wasn't sweet enough. Now, the "pebbles" are supposed to taste like cupcakes. Our judges didn't taste cake or frosting, but they did detect a hint of vanilla. They compared the cereal bits with Rice Krispies.||Two of the five judges said yes.||$2.99 for an 11-ounce |
box from Sweetbay.
|General Mills Sprinkles Cookie Crisp||Candylike||Compared with the Cupcake Pebbles, the Cookie Crisp got higher marks for texture. Judges figured the cookie-shaped pieces would hold up well in milk. They also liked the crunch of the cookie-flavored morsels. "My kid would love this," said one panelist. Another said he might buy the cereal to eat in front of the television as a late-night snack.||Two of the five judges said yes.||$3.19 for a 12.2-ounce box from Sweetbay.|
|Simply Cinnamon Corn Flakes||Familiar||Panelists said the cinnamon corn flakes would please adults as much as children. They described the cereal as shiny and crisp with a taste that was sweet "with just enough cinnamon to flavor the flakes without being overpowering."||Three of the five judges said yes.||$2.48 for a 12-ounce box from Walmart.|
Panelists: Mindy Artze, fifth-grade English teacher at Shorecrest Preparatory School; Beth Griffin, teacher of gifted education at Lakeview Fundamental Elementary; Erin and Mark Nelson, fifth-grade teachers at Lutheran Church of the Cross Day School; and Steve Sims, theology teacher at Tampa Catholic High School. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.