2005 Innovation Awards: Works of Art

Our editors, readers and advisors pick the masterpieces of 2005 (and a couple of potboilers) with an eye toward healthier eating.

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Sargento Bistro Blends
Salsa, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes – they’re all in the cheese

What a simple and terrific idea: shredded cheese flavored with real, fresh herbs and spices. Sargento’s Bistro Blends turn out to be excellently executed, as well.

Now cooking enthusiasts can infuse their favorite dishes with bold and varied flavors out of a single package, and without breaking the bank. Bistro Blends (which could just as easily be named Tasty Time-Savers) come in three varieties: Mozzarella with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Basil, Cheddar Salsa with Tomato & Jalapeno Peppers, and Mozzarella & Asiago with Roasted Garlic. They add interest, color and flavor to omelettes, frittatas, pasta dishes, chicken dishes, salads, sandwiches and bagels. Sargento also has a web site full of recipes to try out (www.sargentocheese.com/recipe-box_main.html). –Heidi Parsons


7-Up Plus
Do we really want calcium in our soda?

We’re all for fortification around here; we even have a magazine (Wellness Foods) devoted in large part to the subject. But a mere “10 percent of your RDA of calcium per 8-oz. serving” is not a compelling enough argument for a fortified food, especially a carbonated soft drink.

Still, that alone is no reason to call 7-Up Plus a mistake. But most people who have tasted this concoction found additional reasons to write it off. Simply put, it fails the taste test. “Poorly executed flavors and sweetener” says one of our Editorial Advisory Board members, a product developer.

Why calcium? Why not at least some vitamin C? That would seem to be a natural for a fruit-flavored drink. Why even add fruit flavors to 7-Up? Maybe this launch required a whole different brand as its carrier. The addition of Splenda sucralose in this case doesn’t help the taste any. Surprisingly, neither does the 5 percent apple juice component.

And this is not a zero-calorie product: 10 calories and 2g or carbs should not scare any dieters away, but they’re not assets either. Nevertheless, Cadbury Schweppes added cherry and island fruit to the original mixed berry flavor.

Even the one bright spot could have been done better. The new TV ads for the product use “Desperate Housewives” stars Nicollette Sheridan and Marcia Cross fighting over the stuff in a grocery store. Neither would be our first picks. Now, if they had Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria cat-fighting in, say, a vat of 7-Up Plus, I might have a better opinion of this product. –Dave Fusaro

Solo GI low glycemic bar
Bad dietary science
in a tasty form

In advancing the low glycemic index theory of dieting, Solo GI Nutrition Inc. encourages consumers to “move from low carbs to slow carbs.” It’s the advance strike in what may be described as a new assault on the consumer with nothing more in mind than filling the vacuum of misdirection and fad nutrition created by the collapse of the Atkins craze.

It’s not that the resulting Solo GI Nutrition Bar tastes bad – it tastes exactly like any other chocolate-coated meal replacement bar on the market. But it’s little more than a hyped-up candy bar with the majority of its “energy” coming from fructose and other sugars plus 10g soy protein. Capitalizing on public confusion of nutrition and carbs, via misrepresenting the purpose of the Glycemic Index system, it smacks of rifling through the pockets of the victimized consumers already mowed down by the Atkins bus. –David Feder

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