All Entries For supermarket food
How much attention do you pay to the cans, boxes and bottles you buy at the supermarket? If you pay close attention, you might have noticed your favorite products--even healthier ones--shrinking. If, like most consumers, you just grab an item and toss it in your cart, you might not have observed the change--and that's what food manufacturers and marketers hope.
From a NYT story:
“Whole wheat pasta had gone from 16 ounces to 13.25 ounces,” she said. “I bought three boxes and it wasn’t enough — that was a little embarrassing. I bought the same amount I always buy, I just didn’t realize it, because who reads the sizes all the time?”
Ms. Stauber, 33, said she began inspecting her other purchases, aisle by aisle. Many canned vegetables dropped to 13 or 14 ounces from 16; boxes of baby wipes went to 72 from 80; and sugar was stacked in 4-pound, not 5-pound, bags, she said.
Five or so years ago, Ms. Stauber bought 16-ounce cans of corn. Then they were 15.5 ounces, then 14.5 ounces, and the size is still dropping. “The first time I’ve ever seen an 11-ounce can of corn at the store was about three weeks ago, and I was just floored,” she said. “It’s sneaky, because they figure people won’t know.”
Commodity prices are rising; there's no arguing that. What guests on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show debated this week was whether it's deceptive to charge the same amount for products when consumers are getting less--without knowledge. They used examples such as tuna fish that's now sold in 5-ounce cans instead of 6-ounce cans, 64-ounce bottles of OJ that now have just 59 ounces, and potato chips with 20% fewer chips.
That's the bad news. But there's good news: You can still save on groceries, despite shrinking products. Here's how. Read More ›
A new study about beverages sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is making headlines. Published in the journal Obesity (see the full article here), researchers found that random samples of HFCS-sweetened drinks actually contained far more fructose than expected.
"I told you so," is what all the opponents of the corn-based sweetener are saying, using this study as proof that corn syrup is worse than sugar and should be avoided. I was taken aback myself. While I don't believe that high fructose corn syrup is any worse for us than other types of sugar, I avoid it sometimes but won't shun every food made with it. (After all, I would be very cranky without the occasional HFCS-containing Twizzler in my life.)
While this study seems to be about corn syrup being worse for us than we thought, it's actually about something else entirely: whether food manufacturers are telling us the truth about what's in their products. Allow me to explain. Read More ›
Last week I shared a few ways grocery stores are changing to better inform their patrons. More and more stores are including NuVal Nutritional Scoring information on item shelf tags. The system is intended to reduce consumers confusion related to food package marketing labels and claims. The scientifically based NuVal measuring system can help people make nutritionally informed food choices. However, that can only happen if you understand the system.
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People purchase food from a variety of grocery options. Some prefer the convenience of one stop shopping that supercenters offer. Others focus on the benefits of buying in bulk through warehouse clubs. More and more people are visiting dollar stores and extreme-value outlets to get the most for their food dollar. We have provided guidelines to help our readers save money by planning ahead. We have shared ideas suggesting shopping the perimeter as well as tips to make over your meals. Now it seems grocery stores are getting in the act too by providing new opportunities to share information at the point of purchase.
To help stores develop strategies that reach shoppers in their target markets, The National Grocers Association conducted a consumer survey earlier this year. Some of the results were interesting. For instance, 76 percent of the respondents said accurate shelf tags were very important. The majority of respondents felt low prices were very important as well and 84 percent believed product freshness on the shelf was of high importance. Where do consumers get information about nutrition issues on a regular basis? Seventy-five percent in this survey relied on the internet and 64 percent used information they found in magazines. Only 33 percent were getting nutrition related information at the grocery store. It appears stores are beginning to expand their services to make a shift in this area.
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Studies over the last two decades have revealed ways to chemically alter naturally digestible starches. The chemical modifications introduce bonds that make them non-digestible by human enzymes in the digestive tract. Benefits of the newly manufactured starch fiber additives are largely unknown.
We have talked about the new manufactured fibers known as stealth fiber. We have mentioned there is a new fiber category in the midst of the FDA rulemaking process apparently with the full backing of industry. New products are finding a place at the manufacturing table. New fiber enhancement products are being added so baked goods, snack foods, breakfast cereals, and nutrition bars can meet "good source of fiber" or "excellent source of fiber" labeling claims. Now we need to talk about how you can use this information.
You will not find "stealth fiber" listed on the food label. You may see or hear "modified natural fibers" used in marketing campaigns. Strange derivative terms for natural portions of wheat, potato, or corn are more likely to appear on labels. It will be important for consumers to have an understanding of such terms as an indicator of modification. Here are some specifics to help you decipher food labels as you interpret product fiber sources.
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The familiar orange box and 'breakfast of champions' slogan has been an American icon for generations. For many athletes, being featured on the box is a goal and dream come true when it happens. In 1921, Wheaties was discovered by accident and because of wise marketing decisions, an association with sports started a decade later. Since that time, Wheaties has been associated with many accomplished athletes such as Mary Lou Retton and Michael Jordan as well as other well-known icons such as Ronald Regan, The Lone Ranger, and Mickey Mouse. The tie with sports and fitness has helped Wheaties remained 'The Breakfast of Champions'.
Now there is a new cereal, 'By Champions, For Champions'. Will Wheaties FUEL with its distinctive black box accomplish the same iconic status? Is it something you should consider including in your healthy diet?
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Last month, Coach Dean blogged about the Smart Choices program, which puts little green checkmark on "healthier" foods in the supermarket. Products like… Froot Loops, Cracker Jack and frozen meals that contain up to 25% of your daily sodium recommendation.
Dean had doubts about the program, which is sponsored by a group of 10 major food producers, including Kellogg’s, General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Tyson Foods, and PepsiCo. As it turns out, he wasn't the only one.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is examining issues with the front-of-package labeling system, has halted the program, according to an Associated Press report. Read More ›
We're continuing a popular new feature on the dailySpark: food reviews written by you, our loyal readers!
Jessica Dudley aka MRSDUDLEY first wrote about the food that gave bread the boot in her house! Now's she's back to write about how she's adding more fruit to her day.
By Jessica Dudley
What is the product called? Fruit2Day
Where did you buy it? Shop-n-Save, Collinsville, IL; it is located in the refrigerated case in the produce aisle.
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Stacks of boxes sit behind my desk most days. What's in them? Foods, usually snack foods. Sometimes we ask companies to send us these foods, and sometimes they send them out of the blue.
Sometimes we get sent foods that are little odd. Those never make it onto the blog. (Some of you have asked why we never do "bad" or negative reviews. It's because we like to be positive and share with you foods you want to eat. We only review products that our tasters would eat again.)
Other times, the surprises that land on my desk knock our socks off! And this is one of those cases.
A few weeks ago, the Sahale Cashews with Pomegranates and Vanilla were delivered to my desk. They were gone in no time flat!
What They Say:
"We think we've found a perfect combination of sublime flavors: pomegranate, vanilla and cashews. Our whole roasted cashews are teamed with pomegranate and apple, and balanced with pure vanilla bean. Our light glaze adds just the right amount of sweetness." Read More ›
Yoplait recently contacted us about a new product they've just launched: the Yoplait Delights Parfait. These parfaits are marketed as a 100-calorie treat that is ideal for the times when your sweet tooth acts up. We asked a reader to try these and tell us what she thought. We also gave them a try!
What they say:
"In a recent study, nearly nine out of 10 women stated they were interested in 100-calorie foods that could help them tame afternoon cravings. Helping to make mid-day snacking satisfying and guilt-free, General Mills introduces new Yoplait Delights, a rich and creamy layered yogurt parfait with 100 calories per serving. Yoplait Delights’ unique flavor combinations include Chocolate Raspberry, Triple Berry Crème, Lemon Torte and Crème Caramel. (NOTE: Get a $1 off coupon at the website!)
New Yoplait Delights have two luscious layers, giving a taste experience unlike any other. Each cup will satisfy cravings with 100 calories per serving and 1.5 g of fat. Yoplait Delights is available nationwide at a suggested retail price of $2.99 for a package of four-4 oz cups."
Also, Yoplait has said: "As of August 2009, General Mills has made the commitment to eliminate milk sourced from cows treated with rBST (recombinant bovine somatotropin), a synthetic hormone also referred to as rBGH, in the production of its category-leading Yoplait yogurts."
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We recently chatted with Hungry Girl, aka Lisa Lillien, the queen of guilt-free food. (Read the interview here.) One of the perks of her job is seeing her animated likeness on various food products that she endorses.
She and Fiber One have a long history. She has pulverized their breakfast cereal and used it to fake fry everything but the kitchen sink, and she's a big fan of other Fiber One products, too. Fiber One offered us some samples of their newly reformulated and lower-calorie yogurt. They sent us the strawberry and key lime pie flavors, and with Lisa's assurance that we'd like them, we asked some SparkPeople employees to try them. (Learn how to buy the best yogurt!) Read More ›
When the mercury started rising, we hit the supermarkets, scouring the freezer section for the tastiest low-calorie ice cream treats. We tried a few, and we selected three 100-calorie treats to share with you. (There were a few higher-calorie runner-ups, too!)
Read on to find out what we thought!
Skinny Cow Chocolate Truffle bars
They say: "My divinely decadent chocolate ice cream bar, drizzled with chocolatey ribbons, is surprisingly skinny."
We say: "The Skinny Cow Truffle Bars are delicious, amazing, fantastic. Seriously, I love these. They're creamy and chocolatey."
"I tried the truffle and it was very good for 100 calories. I would consider buying them.
I usually buy Skinny Cow at home. This would just be another lighter ice cream option."
"One word: Ahhh…"
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Until now, the dailySpark has been reviewing foods one at a time. We're trying something different. We'll review several varieties of one food, then share the pros and cons with you. We won't pick a "winner," because taste is subjective. We will share our comments and opinions in the new series Supermarket Survey.
How often do you buy a food at the grocery store, only to get it home and try it--and dislike it. It's too sweet, not flavorful, too thick, not filling enough, etc.? It's disappointing--and expensive! That's why we're we're doing these large-scale reviews.
We started with yogurt: fat-free vanilla and low-fat strawberry. We tried them all: organic and conventional, creamy and chunky, thick and thin. We even tried a soy yogurt.
Take a peek at our evaluation and our comments!
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When we heard that the pomegranate juice purveyor POM was selling coffee, we were intrigued and slightly perplexed. Pomegranate isn't a fruit flavor that we thought would mix well with coffee. What would it taste like? Why mix coffee and pomegranates? Would it be fruity?
We were proven wrong. The coffee is made by POM, and it does contain the antioxidant power of pomegranates, but it does not taste like the Persephone's forbidden fruit in the least! It's only available in a few markets for now, but we wanted to be ahead of the trend.
We've got plenty of java junkies around the office who jumped at the chance to try a cool new coffee.
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The weather at SparkPeople headquarters is finally getting warm. We're saying sayonara to winter with lunch-time pickup basketball games, open windows in the office--and ice cream taste-tests.
Blue Bunny recently unveiled some new ice cream treats that feature probiotics and granola. They come in flavors like double chocolate and double strawberry, so we were excited when Blue Bunny sent us some to try. If it's cold, sweet and creamy, chances are we'll like it--or at least try it.
What they say:
Aspen Snack Bar and Sedona Sandwich: frozen novelties that combine creamy probiotic frozen yogurt and honey oat granola:
Aspen Snack Bars – These snack bars combine creamy, probiotic frozen yogurt with a layer of fruit filling topped with crunchy granola crumbles and enrobed in a yogurt coating. This better-for-you snack will be available in two flavors:
- Raspberry Vanilla: Raspberry low fat frozen yogurt with a layer of raspberry fruit filling topped with crunchy granola crumbles and enrobed in a vanilla-flavored coating.
- Double Strawberry: Strawberry low fat frozen yogurt with a layer of strawberry fruit filling topped with crunchy granola crumbles and enrobed in a vanilla-flavored coating.
Sedona Sandwiches – These healthier ice cream sandwiches feature creamy, probiotic frozen yogurt with thick swirls of fruit or fudge, sandwiched between two chewy honey oat granola wafers. Sedona Sandwiches will be available in two flavors:
- Double Strawberry: Strawberry low fat frozen yogurt with a thick swirl of strawberry fruit flavor, sandwiched between two honey oat granola wafers.
- Double Chocolate:
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