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EGG WHITES

Provided you keep the fillings light, omelets make for a healthful, satisfying breakfast. But what about those of us who can't handle all the cholesterol from eggs? Who wants to waste all those eggs when separating the whites from the yolks? We asked our panelists to taste egg whites from cartons sold in the refrigerators of local grocery stores. Some get their eggy yellow color from added beta-carotene and also contain other vitamins and minerals added to make them more nutritionally comparable to whole eggs, but with less fat and cholesterol. Using a nonstick pan and no added fat, we scrambled one serving each of five products.

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Product/serving Hannaford 3 tablespoons Organic Valley Organic 4 tablespoons Egg Beaters 3 tablespoons
Calories/Fat/Fiber Sugar/Sodium/Carbs/Protein 25 / 0g / 0g / 0g 0g / 75mg / 0g / 5g 25 / 0g / 0g 0g / 95mg / 1g / 6g 25 / 0g / 0g 0g / 90mg / 0g / 5g
Judges' comments Light, fluffy and a hint of yellow color made this egg product the most appealing to our panelists. They enjoyed the smooth, nonrubbery texture and a "pleasant" taste. "These have nice, real egg taste - a real winner," said one judge. "They actually taste like fresh, real egg whites," said another. "I would use these for omelets or in other recipes for a great shortcut." "I like these for the texture," said one judge. His comment was echoed by the others, who described the egg whites as "fluffy and tender." They had a mild taste, no apparent extra coloring and scrambled into eggs that didn't look like they were poured from a carton. "I like the moistness," said a panelist who also liked the shiny appearance of the cooked product. The rich yellow color was a plus for some judges, who said they felt like they were eating whole eggs. Others thought they were too bright to be believed. "These look like a yolk or a pile of scrambled eggs," said another. "Actually, with a little hot sauce or ketchup, I could be fooled into thinking I was at Skyway Jack's for breakfast."
Would they buy? All four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information $4.29 for a 32-ounce carton from Sweetbay. $5.29 for a 16-ounce carton from Publix. $2.78 for a 16-ounce carton from Walmart.

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ALSO SAMPLED: Great Value ($2.36 for a 16-ounce carton from Walmart) and All Whites ($2.48 for a 16-ounce carton from Walmart).

PANELISTS: Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Clinique of Plastic Surgery in St. Petersburg; Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, manager of the R Bar in Treasure Island; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

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