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Taste test: smoothie mixes

Serving size 8 ounces 8 ounces 8 ounces
Calories 110 170 110
Fat/fiber 1.5g/2g 0g/0g 0g/2g
Sugar/sodium 10g/20mg 31g/35mg 10g/15mg
Carbs/protein 14g/1g 46g/4g 14g/2g


I have been hooked on smoothies ever since my son's baseball coach asked a local maker to sponsor some of the school's games. But, after spending a fortune on the frozen treats, I figured there had to be a way to duplicate the fast-food versions at home. I experimented a couple of times with fruit, frozen yogurt and crushed ice. Then we started seeing smoothie mixes in local grocery store freezers. Taster's Choice found three and tried them all. One received close to a perfect score from our panelists. Another was almost as good. And the third wasn't bad either.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score

(out of 100)
Yoplait Triple Berry: 97Edy's Mixed Berry

and Tropical flavors: 87
Jamba Razzmatazz: 61
Judges'

comments
This popular maker of yogurt sells the base of its Triple Berry smoothie in a frozen pouch. We followed the manufacturer's directions and added 8 ounces of fat-free milk in the blender, along with the mix. The result was a deep purple concoction of fresh-tasting berries in a creamy drink. "There are way more berries than filler," said one judge. A couple said the drink wasn't as sweet as some smoothies and had pleasant, icy bits with specks of raspberry. "I like the refreshing, granular chunks of fruit," said one. Another said he would like to have a bedroom painted the color of the drink. "And the taste is very authentic for a mix," he added.Edy's smoothie blended into more of an ice cream texture than the others, although judges had no complaints. Like the Yoplait mix, Edy's called for adding fat-free milk to the little frozen cups. After stirring for about a minute, the milk melted the base and created a smooth, tasty treat. We tried the Mixed Berry and Tropical flavors. The berry drink reminded a couple of judges of raspberry sherbet. The color was bright pink, similar to Pepto-Bismol. "This would be great for a morning start or a sweet, in-between meal snack," said one panelist who especially liked the creamy texture. They also liked the portability of the single-serving smoothies in individual cups. "They are very easy to blend," said one judge. "I think kids would really have fun with these, but the mess potential is pretty high." Also comes in Strawberry Banana flavor and several others.This smoothie mix required the addition of a cup of apple juice, instead of milk. A couple of panelists said the juice overpowered the flavor with a tart and tangy taste. The fruit flavor was strong in this pink drink. Two judges said the fruit tasted fresh, but the berries could have used a bit longer time to ripen. One said she might add water to cut the juice.
Would

they buy?
All five judges said yes.All five judges said yes.Two of the five judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.50 for a 7.6-ounce package of two servings from Walmart.$1.50 for a 7.6-ounce container from Walmart.$2.48 for an 8-ounce package of two servings from Walmart.


Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute in St. Petersburg; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Cindy Seletos, an Apple education account executive; and Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island. 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 jkeeler@sptimes.com. Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to food.tampabay.com.

Taste test: smoothie mixes 03/15/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5:30am]

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