Old Home Light Yogurt Smoothies
Company: Old Home Foods, St. Paul, Minn.
Distribution: Upper Midwest.
Suggested Retail: $1.19 per 8-pounce bottle.
Varieties: Cherry, Mixed Berry, Raspberry, Strawberry and Strawberry-Banana.
Here’s a company that’s been around forever, content to serve its regional audience with great-quality cultured products and doing a great job at it. How perfect that such a small yet tenacious company on the grow could grab an upward trend so successfully. Sure, there’s a bunch of yogurt smoothies on the market. But while they’re all good for you, Old Home seems to have focused on taste first and “good for you” a close second, with great results. I’m a latecomer to yogurt and I tend to steer clear of the drinkable type. But a taste of Old Home’s smoothie during a recent visit to their headquarters made a convert out of me. Now, if I could only get this stuff in Chicago ... — J.D.
Sargento Cracker Snacks
Company: Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis.
Distribution: Select markets in the Midwest, Northeast and South.
Suggested Retail: $2.49 per 6-ounce package.
Varieties: Colby Jack, Medium Cheddar and Mild Cheddar & Monterey Jack.
From Wisconsin’s wizards of cheese comes a new product that gives consumers something they want — convenience — and something they need — portion control. It’s so simple, yet so perfect. The individual cheese slices, in a resealable zippered pouch, are just the right size for the top of a cracker, making it convenient for snacks and quick hors d’oeuvres. The slices are also the right size for folks trying to get a better handle on how much they’re eating, rather than taking a guess while cutting a chunk or having to mess with clunky food scales. It’s snacking made smart. — J.D.
Carb Countdown™ Dairy Beverages
Company: HP Hood LLC, Chelsea, Mass.
Distribution: National.
Suggested Retail: Varies by market.
Varieties: Homogenized, 2% Reduced Fat, Fat Free and 2% Reduced Fat Chocolate.
Among the avalanche of low-carb products that hit the market this past year, fluid offerings were few and far between. The definitive leader among them is Hood’s Carb Countdown. It’s a standout because it enjoys national distribution and the coveted Atkins stamp of approval. It tastes pretty good, too, especially the chocolate variety. While there’s data to suggest the low-carb trend has passed its peak, the strength of the Hood name and the niche that reduced-carbohydrate products fill for the diabetic community should keep Carb Countdown around for a while. — J.D.
Dreyer’s/Edy’s Grand Light®
Company: Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Oakland, Calif.
Distribution: National.
Suggested Retail: $5.50 per 56-ounce carton.
Varieties: Butter Pecan, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough, Cookies ’n Cream, French Silk, French Vanilla, Fudge Tracks, Mint Chocolate Chips, Mocha Almond Fudge (Dreyer’s only), Neapolitan, Rocky Road, Strawberry and Vanilla; seasonal flavors Eggnog and Pumpkin.
The frozen dessert industry certainly wasn’t slacking off during the low-carb stampede of the past year. In fact, everywhere you turned at your supermarket’s freezer case, it was low-carb this and low-carb that. Yet in the middle of it all, Dreyer’s had the audacity to launch its new Grand Light, made with a revolutionary new slow-churning process that yields a product with a third of the fat of superpremium ice cream but with the same taste. And that’s not an empty claim; I ran it by the folks here at Stagnito Communications, and they said they wouldn’t have guessed it was a light product had they not been told. So kudos to Dreyer’s — known as Edy’s in the eastern half of the United States — for bucking the low-carb trend (at least for a while) and coming up with a product that’s better for you and still tastes good — and really does. — J.D.
Silk® live!™
Company: White Wave Inc., Boulder, Colo.
Distribution: Natural food stores nationwide.
Suggested Retail: $1.69 per 10-ounce bottle.
Varieties: Raspberry, Peach, Strawberry and Mango.
Silk live! challenges yogurt giant Stonyfield Farm whose smoothies have set the pace in what was once called the drinkable yogurt category. With six active probiotic cultures and 19 vitamins and minerals, the fruit-flavored soy-based smoothie promotes digestive health and helps boost the immune system. Although I feel a bit like a traitor for loving this 100 percent lactose- and dairy-free product, it truly is a fabulous vehicle for soy. In a blind test, I wouldn’t have known it was soy-based. Although the product varieties are a great start, it would be nice to see twice as many flavor offerings in the future. My vote: vanilla! — P.A.S.
Purple Moon Cabernet Cheddar
Company: Fiscalini Cheese Co., Modesto, Calif.
Distribution: National.
Suggested Retail: $12 per pound.
OK, can it get any better than this — a product that combines both cheese and wine? Heaven, absolute heaven. Purple Moon is a young cheddar cheese aged no more than 60 days and soaked for 24 hours in a California cabernet sauvignon. The major growth in the cheese industry is happening within the specialty and artisan cheese category. With great products such as this one, I can see why. (Also worthy of note is another new Fiscalini offering, Horsefeathers Gourmet Cheese Spread.) — P.A.S.
YoBaby Plus Fruit & Cereal
Company: Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H.
Distribution: National.
Suggested Retail: $2.99 per package of six 4-ounce cups.
A huge hit in my household, YoBaby Plus Fruit & Cereal is the first yogurt to hit the market that contains both fruit puree and a mixture of cereal grains while also being fortified with iron, an essential mineral for babies. Talk about convenient; this product has it all — cereal, fruit and dairy — in one easy-to-open, “meal-in-one” container. And in my experience, this product is not just for babies and toddlers either. In fact, I often find myself dipping into my son’s supply. Originally introduced in 2000, YoBaby yogurt was the first whole-milk yogurt designed specifically to help meet the nutritional needs of babies and toddlers. — P.A.S.
Slender® Low-Fat Ice Cream Sandwiches
Company: Pierre’s French Ice Cream Co., Cleveland.
Distribution: A variety of stores throughout Ohio.
Suggested Retail: $4.59 to $4.99 per package of six 4-ounce sandwiches.
Varieties: Vanilla and Chocolate.
A huge Stagnito office favorite. Why? These ice cream sandwiches feature delicious-tasting lowfat ice cream with no added sugar. Among the flood of low-carb ice cream offerings, this dessert is one of the best available on the market. Each 4-ounce sandwich has only 2.5 grams of fat, offering consumers a delicious dessert solution without the guilt. I have found that this product is especially popular with women trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow a low-carb diet. — P.A.S.