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Taste Test | Half-year wrapup

Twice a year, we like to give readers a list of the foods our tasters rated highly the previous six months. In honor of the 10th anniversary of the Taster's Choice column, we've retried a few of the foods we sampled in the column's earliest days. Frozen garlic bread, hot dogs and salsa were sampled the first summer the panel was formed. Since that time, we found many new brands on the market; for instance, we found 16 types of salsa in jars, compared to the seven we found 10 years ago. In the upcoming months, we will continue to sample healthy food items as well as popular ones. Have a suggestion for us to try? We'd love to hear it. Send it to and please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Here is a list of the top three picks per category from panelists for the first half of 2014. The numbers represent the score — from 1 to 100, with 100 being the best — each product received. We did not include the new foods we tried, only products that can be judged against one another.

Hot SauceProductScore
Texas Pete80
Frank's Red Hot Original76
Great Value68
Ready-made Rice PuddingProductScore
Kozy Shack73
El Viajero53

Fresh Gourmet Cranberries & Glazed Walnuts67
Wonderful Almond Accents Honey Roasted With Cranberries64
Marzetti's Asian Sesame Mix61

Frozen MealsProductScore
Lean Cuisine Chile Lime Chicken55
Healthy Choice Chicken & Rice Cheddar Bake44
Weight Watchers Smart Ones Chicken Oriental35

Cheddar Cheese PopcornProductScore
Popcorn Indiana58

Ready-made Rice PuddingProductScore
Kozy Shack73
El Viajero53


Fresh Gourmet Cranberries & Glazed Walnuts67
Wonderful Almond Accents Honey Roasted With Cranberries64
Marzetti's Asian Sesame Mix61

Pita ChipsProductScore
Jim Dandy76
Dixie Lily55

Swiss CheeseProductScore
Publix Reduced Fat67

Chai TeaProductScore
Simply Balanced53

Crispy OnionsProductScore
Fresh Gourmet77
Chef's Finest 61

Mango JuiceProductScore
V8 V-Fusion Peach Mango69
Tropicana Farmstand Peach Mango59
GoodBelly Mango54

Animal CrackersProductScore
Market Pantry65
Barbara's Vanilla Snackimals60

Rye BreadProductScore
Cobblestone Mill 78
Winn-Dixie Bakery74
Pepperidge Farm58

Mixed NutsProductScore
Great Value73
Market Pantry71

Instant GritsProductScore
Jim Dandy76
Dixie Lily55

Blueberry Pancake MixesProductScore
The Fresh Market 80
Archer Farms Wild Blueberries & Multigrain76
Vanilla Ice CreamProductScore
United Dairy Farmers89

Hot DogsProductScore
Applegate Natural 49

Blue Cheese CrumblesProductScore
Jeremiah's Amish67
Boar's Head 63

Green Mountain Gringo54
Archer Farms51
On the Border49

Frozen Garlic BreadProductScore
Pepperidge Farm62
Market Pantry60
Alexia 59

Taste Test | Half-year wrapup 07/28/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:25pm]
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