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Taste test: new products from Kashi, Emerald, Classico and Bird's Eye

Every so often, our judges enjoy trying some of the new foods being rolled out by manufacturers. This week, we tasted a range of options, from healthy snacks to new frozen vegetable offerings. Through the years, we have noticed some new products disappear quickly, while others remain staples for their companies. Judges picked a couple this week they think will be around for a while.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductKashi Organic Promise Sweet Potato Sunshine CerealEmerald Nutty Bites — Cinnamon and PecanClassico Four Cheese Tomato Cream SauceBird's Eye Protein Blends Southwest Style

The flakes in Kashi's latest offering looked a lot like overcooked Kellogg's Corn Flakes, but judges said they tasted anything but burnt. They liked the sweet potato flavor in each bite as well as the crunchy texture of the cereal. One described the cereal as "shades of Thanksgiving in a bowl." Two of the panelists said this cereal would be "a great start to the day," packed with taste, texture and healthy ingredients.These granolalike poppers were a big hit among our judges. They raved about the crunchiness of the mixture and the combination of nutty and spicy flavors. "I like the cubelike servings," said one judge, adding, "These would be great on a road trip." Another liked the healthy grains and nuts and the cinnamon undertones. "I could see these becoming addictive," said another taster, who called the bites "wonderful."Classico's new version of jarred pasta sauce reminded judges of traditional vodka sauce. "It's got a nice texture, lovely Parmesan flavor and proportional herbs," said one taster. "It's got a lot of flavor for a jarred sauce," said another. The sauce had the colors and consistency of tomato bisque with chunks of tomato and flecks of Italian herbs. "It has a great, creamy and cheesy flavor," said a judge who called this sauce "comfort food in a jar." She said, "It's sort of like a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup." Another said, "It really wakes up your taste buds."This vegetable blend infused with Southwestern flavors and beans had judges trying to come up with recipe ideas to serve alongside the mixture. "This would be a great side to Taco Tuesday or even a layer in a taco salad," said one panelist. "It's a good blend of veggies with a slight twang of spicy sauce." Another liked the pebbly texture along with "the nice contrast with yellow corn, red pepper and back beans." One judge said it was a little bland for his taste, but he liked the look and texture enough to buy it. "I would add more heat and it would be perfect," he said.

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.99 for a 10.5-ounce box from Target.$3.79 for a 3.25-ounce bag from Target.$1.97 for a 15-ounce jar from Target.$2.48 for a 12.7-ounce bag from Publix.

Panelists: Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Kay Hodnett, personal chef; John Bauer, area coordinator for Southeastern Guide Dogs Inc.; and Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association.

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 ounceTwo ouncesOne cup
Fat/Fiber1g / 4g10g / 2g2g / 0g4.5g / 17g
Sugars/Sodium7g / 160mg6g / 130mg2g / 230mg5g / 550mg
Carbs/Protein43g / 5g13g / 3g4g / 1g53g / 14g

Taste test: new products from Kashi, Emerald, Classico and Bird's Eye 11/09/15 [Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2015 10:23am]
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