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Taste test: new snack bars

I'm pretty sure I could find new snack bars on the grocery store shelves every time I go food shopping. Food manufacturers know we appreciate the convenience, and they must spend a lot of time thinking of new ways to incorporate our favorite flavors into the individually wrapped bars. This week, our tasters tried ones filled with fruit, chocolate, peanut butter and even cheesecake. They found a couple of lunch box-worthy options.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductKellogg's

Nutri-Grain

Fruit & Nut bars
Fiber One

Key Lime Cheesecake bars
Quaker Chewy Snackwich Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip bars Nature Valley Nut & Seed Honey Pecan Crunch Granola bars
Judges'

comments
In our house, all snack bars are called "Nutri-Grains." These were loaded with bits of fruit and nuts, reminding one judge of the crunchy granola of the 1970s. "They look healthy, and I can taste the light blueberry flavor, a hint of coconut and the added rosemary extract for flavor," she said. "They are surprisingly moist and tasty." Another said they were robustly crunchy. The only caution from judges was the chewy texture of the bars. "This might take an entire lunch period to eat," said one taster.One judge raved about these bars, saying they were light, sweet and appealing. "They are very fresh and truly taste of lemon and lime," the judge added. "I love the chewy texture, too." But the other three were less impressed. They complained that the flavor was artificial and the texture was "gelatinous." One said they look appealing with strips of icing and they had a pleasing and subtle key lime taste. But, she said, "They are gummy and probably wouldn't appeal to kids." Another taster said they were gritty.Panelists described these as healthy Rice Krispies treats. "The peanut butter and chocolate is a classic kid combination and the tastes are pronounced," said one judge. "It's a great size for little hands." Another said, "This would be a great addition to any lunch box." A judge who would buy the bar said it had a nice, pleasant cinnamon taste.Despite their disapproval of the look of these bars, judges liked the taste. Another said they were very plain and uninteresting. But they tasted sweet and crunchy "with a good nut-to-seed balance," said one judge, adding, "They almost taste homemade." One taster said these would be an excellent snack before a sports practice or "maybe an ideal snack for the ride home from school."
Would

they buy?
Three of the four judges said yes.One of the four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$3.80 for a box of five 1.2-ounce bars from Winn-Dixie.$3.65 for a box of five 1.35-ounce bars from Winn-Dixie.$3.49 for a box of five 1.41-ounce bars from Winn-Dixie.$4.20 for a box of five 1.49-ounce bars from Winn-Dixie.


Panelists: Steve Sims, theology teacher at Tampa Catholic High School; Kay Hodnett, personal chef; Sophie Wiltshire, high school senior; and Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

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

tampabay.com/things-to-do/food/tastetest.

Serving sizeOne barOne barOne barTwo bars
Calories150150170210
Fat/Fiber6g / 3g7g / 5g6g / 3g11g / 2g
Sugars/Sodium11g / 50mg 8g / 130mg10g / 135mg10g / 150mg
Carbs/Protein20g / 4g23g / 2g28g / 3g24g / 4g

Taste test: new snack bars 08/29/16 [Last modified: Monday, August 29, 2016 10:08am]
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