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Taste test: new snacks for summer

It's almost summer, when our children keep busy with outdoor activities, summer reading and other enriching pastimes. Ha. While that may be true for some children, many of us know that summer also is when children spend way too much time opening the refrigerator and pantry door in search of snacks. Our panelists found a few new offerings on local grocery store shelves this week and surprised themselves by enjoying almost all of the them.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

ProductNabisco Good Thins Planters Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Mix Quaker Quinoa Granola Bars Snyder's Fudge Brownie Pretzel Sandwiches

We sampled these sweet potato chips and appreciated their light and crispy texture and salty flavor. "I'm so excited about these," said one judge. Another said they had a pleasing hint of smokiness. "Light and puffy and the flavors dance well together," said another panelist. "If the labeling is correct on the box, this is a healthy snack indeed." A judge who liked the "clean and crisp sweet potato taste" said he would enjoy these in front of a good TV show.All four judges deemed this snack mix a winner. "Ingenious," said one judge. "I love the concept, a deconstructed oatmeal raisin cookie in a bag." All of the panelists said the pecans were especially fresh tasting and the raisins were nice and plump. "These are so yummy they are almost addictive," said another taster, adding that she liked the sweet and cinnamon notes in the blend and the slight saltiness. Another said, "Wow! A cookie in a trail mix. The flavor combo takes my breath away."These snack bars reminded judges of Rice Krispies treats with a layer of chocolate on top. "It's a nice combination of sweet and quinoa," said one judge. "It's a snack that makes you feel good to eat." Another said she loved "the nice, thick layer of milk chocolate and the ratio of nuts." The look of these snack bars also appealed to panelists. "They are not too sweet and they have a great crunch," said one.While a couple of judges raved about these snacks, others complained that the now popular blending of sweet and savory didn't quite work in this pretzel option. "It has a nice, crispy exterior and soft, chocolate innards," said one. "It would be good with butter and a little more salt added." Another judge also liked the texture but said the pretzel overpowered the chocolate. "It satisfies a salty-sweet craving," said another taster. "But I would probably be limited to only eating a few as the flavors wear out their welcome early on."

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$2.54 for a 3.7-ounce box from Target.$3 for a 6-ounce pouch from Publix.$3.14 for a box of five 1.23-ounce bars from Target.$3.69 for an 8-ounce bag from Winn-Dixie.

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Kay Hodnett, personal chef.

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 size23 piecesThree tablespoonsOne barOne ounce
Fat/Fiber4g / 2g7g / 1g6g / 1g4.5g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium4g / 190mg14g / 35mg9g / 95mg6g / 75mg
Carbs/Protein22g / 2g17g / 2g24g / 2g20g / 2g

Taste test: new snacks for summer 05/30/16 [Last modified: Monday, May 30, 2016 3:13pm]
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