New Product Reviews: Gluten-Free Meals, Cinnamon Crackers and More

pilaf Gluten Free Cafe Savory Chicken Pilaf

Taste 27
Value 16
Health 13
Ingredients 13
Prep 5
Appearance 5
Packaging 5
Sustainability 0
Total score 84

I have said it before, but gluten free products are taking over the supermarket. Gluten Free Café is a new line of frozen, microwaveable entrées. The Savory Chicken Pilaf is tasty with a good flavor. Be sure to follow the cooking directions carefully—they are designed for a 1000 watt microwave, if you have a newer microwave it’s probably more powerful and you’ll want to decrease the cooking time so the rice stays firm. If you are trying to avoid gluten, or just want a great tasting entrée, this is a terrific product. It is almost double the price of others that are gluten free and that’s one of my complaints. Another is the sodium is a bit high at 670mg for the serving.

Retails for $4.99 - $5.49.

Hain Celestial Group, Inc
Melville, NY
800 739 4838
www.myglutenfreecafe.com

crackers

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ritz

Taste 27
Value 18
Health 13
Ingredients 12
Prep 5
Appearance 5
Packaging 4
Sustainability 1
Total score 85

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ritz is a hit!

A lot of our viewers and readers share with me that they are bored with the same old, same old…Ritz to the rescue! Now I don’t know if you are a Ritz cracker devotee and if you are you might have mixed emotions about this new Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ritz—it actually tastes like a ‘lite’ graham cracker.

Retails for $3.79.

Kraft Foods Global, Inc
Northfield, IL
800 622 4726
www.ritzcrackers.com

 

energy mix

Sun Ridge Farms Omega 3 Men’s Energy Mix

Taste 26
Value 16
Health 13
Ingredients 13
Prep 5
Appearance 5
Packaging 5
Sustainability 1
Total score 84

If you are going to say Omega 3 Men’s Energy Mix, tell us on the package how many omega 3s. Besides that, this is a tasty trail mix that is loaded with raisins and a variety of seeds and nuts. I would like to see a few less raisins because that fruit really overpowers everything else. The great news is that there are no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives—and the disappointing news is that even with all the natural sugars from the fruit, they added dehydrated cane juice.

Retails for $4.39.

Sun Ridge Farms
Santa Cruz, CA
831 786 7000
www.sunridgefarms.com

salsa

Rosarita Hot Salsa Taquera

Taste 29
Value 18
Ingredients 13
Health 13
Prep 5
Appearance 5
Packaging 5
Sustainability 1
Total score 89

Hot Salsa Taquera is a hit!

Rosarita has been one of the leading brands of refried beans for ever. Now they bring us their Hot Salsa Taquera which is a perfect spicy condiment that goes well beyond tacos—think about using this on eggs, fish, or as a dip. It has a nice clean burn, there are no sugars added and there is a terrific smoky flavor and aroma. You can even see the peppers through the glass.

ConAgra Foods, Inc.

Omaha, NE
800 365 8300
www.rosarita.com

water

Avitae Energy Water

Taste 15
Value 15
Health 13
Ingredients 15
Prep 5
Appearance 5
Packaging 5
Sustainability 0
Total score 73

This is a very pretty bottle and as the bottled water category continues to decline in sales, companies are trying harder than ever to lure us in with design and what they can add. Avitae is purified water, not spring water and they’re adding about the same amount of caffeine as you would find in a can of Coke—which is about 1/4 of what you would get from the equivalent amount of coffee. But it is not a new idea; Water Joe which is still on the market tried the same thing over 10 years ago. Take my advice, have a cup of coffee and save the buck fifty by making it at home. And if you are wondering what it tastes like—it tastes like water.

Retails for $1.59.

Vitality Distributing
Dublin, OH
888 228 4823
www.avitae45.com

 

Phil taste-tests and judges each product based on the following 8 criteria:

1. Taste (30 points): the most important attribute of any food
2. Value (20 points): is it worth it?
3. Health (15 points): based off the nutritional information, is it nutritionally balanced?
4. Ingredients (15 points): what's in it, how natural is it?
5. Preparation (5 points): when applicable, how accurate or good are the directions *
6. Appearance (5 points): is it appetizing and does it resemble its photo or description
7. Packaging (5 points): Is it appropriate for the product and does it have any benefits such as resealability, added freshness, better storage, etc.
8. Sustainability (5 Points): is the packaging biodegradable, is it wasteful, is the company endeavoring to offset their carbon footprint?

 

*products that do not have any preparation will have the full value of these points included in their total score.

 

 

 

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