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Taste test: new burgers, cereals and desserts

New burgers, cereals, desserts and breakfast items are among the products making their debuts in local grocery stores this season. Our panelists are always eager to try the new offerings, but not always as excited to serve them to family and friends. We sampled the new offerings with mixed results, preferring sweets over healthier options and convenience.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductHoney Bunches of Oats Greek Cereal Ballpark Flame Grilled Beef PattyPepperidge Farm Milano Cookie CakeNature's Own Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Toasters

While judges enjoyed the honey and oat flavors in this new cereal, they didn't taste anything that resembled Greek yogurt. "It's not too sweet, nicely crunchy with different textures and elements," said one judge. "The 'yogurt' nuggets seem suspicious. I don't think it's really yogurt and there is absolutely nothing 'Greek' about it." Another thought labeling it 'Greek' unfairly suggested it was healthier. Another asked, with a nod to Tarpon Springs' Epiphany celebration, "If you plunge your hand to the bottom of the box, is there a cross inside? What's next, Japanese Honey Bunches with real chunks of tuna sushi?"We've always loved the Ballpark hot dogs, so we figured the frozen hamburgers of the same brand would be a big hit for grilling. Judges were split on their decision. A couple really liked the convenience of having frozen burgers on hand. Others were disappointed in the quality of the burgers. "Double up these patties and a layer of cheese in between and these would be good," said one judge. "I think they have a pretty authentic flame-broiled taste." Another said it tasted like a fast-food burger with lots of salt. "It has decent beef flavor," added a judge who said she would buy the grilled beef patties.This cake looked delicious on the package and in television commercials. Our judges love Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, so they figured the cake version would be a hit. "It's a very festive looking double-layer white cake with fudgy icing and crumbled Milanos on top," said one. "I like the densely chocolate icing, but the cake is a bit too dry and airy for me." Another said it looked homemade and would be a great dessert to pop out of the freezer when unexpected company shows up. Another said, "The icing is okay, but that's all there is to it — the cake just doesn't have enough flavor."Promoted as a mash-up of oatmeal, bagels and English muffins, these squares — that claim to be the enjoyment of healthy oatmeal in an easy-to-eat breakfast or snack — disappointed the judges. "It sounds healthy, but I would rather have a bowl of oatmeal with cranberries and oranges," said one. Panelists described the texture as too soft and doughy. "It's not really sweet and it's not really savory," said one. "It has an unappealing sour flavor." Another was even less impressed, saying, "Here's a food that's totally unrecognizable. It tastes kind of orange-y, looks like a rejected Pop-Tart and chews like a dog toy."

they buy?
One of the four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.98 for a 15.5-ounce box from Walmart.$7.99 for an 18-ounce pack of six patties from Sweetbay.$5.59 for an 18-ounce cake from Sweetbay.$3.39 for an 18-ounce bag of six from Publix.

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian; Wayne Conery, manager of the R-Bar on Treasure Island; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic.

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

Serving sizeOne cupOne pattyOne-eighth slice of cakeOne square
Fat/Fiber3.5g / 4g19g / 0g15g / 2g1.5g / 4g
Sugars/Sodium13g / 160mg0g / 440mg20g / 135mg9g / 210mg
Carbs/Protein47g / 5g0g / 15g28g / 2g35g / 5g

Taste test: new burgers, cereals and desserts 02/05/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 12:12pm]
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