On the Shelf February 2007

February's On the Shelf features a product review of T Bar Green Tea Nutrition Bars, and information on FlaxPlus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, Kashi Toasted Graham and Vanilla Vive cereal, and teas from The Republic of Tea and Snapple.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Bag This Tea

A review by the Wellness Foods staff

T Bar Green Tea Nutrition Bar; Tzu Thé Intl. Inc. (www.tzu-the.com), Marietta, Ga.; Suggested retail price for a 1.23-oz. bar is $1.99.
T Bar Green Tea Nutrition Bar; Tzu Thé Intl. Inc. (www.tzu-the.com), Marietta, Ga.; Suggested retail price for a 1.23-oz. bar is $1.99.

"I think 'tea bar' is a misprint; perhaps they meant 'tea bag,' as the taste and texture is similar to chewing on a teabag only to have it break open in your mouth." So wrote the first reviewer of this line of "raw, whole-food, green-tea nutrition bars" and subsequent assessments weren't much different. The bars, available in three flavors -- Green Tea, Natural Rice and Tropical Fruit -- are vegan-friendly and replete with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)-rich tea leaves as well as brewers yeast. They're also rich in protein, cellulose, Vitamin B, zinc, selenium, chromium and "14 other vitamins and minerals and 9 essential amino acids."

So many manufacturers of healthy foods and beverages have done such an exemplary job of incorporating tea into products it amazes us to see this one fail so badly. Here's what some of our other reviewers had to say:

  • "The large chunks of tea are not appealing and the taste is nasty. It's like eating tea bags."
  • "I once ate a paperback novel that tasted like this."
  • "Tastes like a Rice Krispies treat with grass clippings. Maybe the cows would like this, but not I."

One anonymous reviewer opined that the bars taste like marijuana-laced Rice Krispies treats she sampled in her college days. The best comments we heard were, "Delicious … if you haven't eaten all day," and "Barring any other alternatives, a coating of chocolate would be a great improvement."

The T-Bar may be nutritious, but it lacks appeal in three vital categories for a new launch: taste, aroma and texture. According to company literature, the bars are the brainchild of S. T. Liao, "the father of EGCG." If Tzu Thé is basing its entire line of bars on this important polyphenolic compound, they might do better to consider using the extract.


Shelf-Stable Probiotics Cereal

Kashi Co., La Jolla, Calif., launches Kashi Toasted Graham and Vanilla Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal, the only shelf-stable probiotic food on the market. Kashi Vive, lightly toasted flakes, crunchy graham twigs and vanilla-dipped rice crisps, contain Lactobacillus probiotics one billion probiotics per serving, which can be tolerated by all ages. It also contains: ginger (for both flavor and to help ease digestive ailments), 20 percent of the DRV each for calcium and vitamin D and 46 percent of the DV for fiber per serving. It's important to understand that the sooner this product is consumed from the date of purchase, the more effective the bacteria will be.

Suggested retail price for a 12-oz. box is $4.49 - $5.00.

 


Snapple To It

Rye Brook,N.Y.-based Snapple rolls out Snapple Red Teas, a line of naturally caffeine-free teas containing protective antioxidants and vitamin C for a healthy immune system. Made from rooibos (see "Nutrition Beyond the Trends: South Africa's Red Rocker,"), the teas have fewer than 100 calories per bottle. Snapple Red Teas are available in unique flavors that complement the rooibos taste, including Açai Mixed Berry, Peach Pomegranate and Mandarin Tangerine.

Suggested retail price for a 17.5 oz. bottle is $1.39.

 


Be Well Red

Novato, Calif.-based The Republic of Tea introduces Be Well Red Teas, nine wellness herb teas based on organic, South African rooibos plus selected botanicals. Although the teas are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, each blend is tailored to specific needs: clear skin, regularity, energy, PMS/menopause, rest, weight control, detoxification, scratchy throat and digestion. Rooibos, or Red Tea, a naturally caffeine-free, anti-allergenic herb, is recognized for remarkable antioxidant properties and aid to the immune system. Varieties include: Herb Tea for Clear Skin -- with chamomile (rich in anti-inflammatory azulene), orange peel, hibiscus, chaste berry and burdock root; Herb Tea for Regularity -- with senna leaf, ginger, anise, honey and lemon myrtle; Herb Tea for Energy -- with Siberian ginseng, ashwaganda root (the ginseng of India), Panax ginseng root, blueberries and gotu kola leaf; Herb Tea for PMS/Menopause -- with chaste berry, black cohosh, dong quai, parsley, chicory root and natural honey; Herb Tea for Rest -- with chamomile, passionflower and valerian root extract; Herb Tea for Weight Control -- with carob, cinnamon, banaba extract and gymnema leaves (all shown to reduce insulin resistance by helping cells take in blood sugar), known for their blood sugar balancing abilities. Gymnema has the added benefit of reducing the absorption of carbohydrates and may even reduce sweet cravings by interfering with the ability of taste buds to register sweetness; Herb Tea for Detoxing -- with milk thistle, dandelion, burdock, chicory root, Indian sarsaparilla and red clover; Herb Tea for Scratchy Throats -- with marshmallow root, licorice root, ginger, sage root and lemon myrtle; Herb Tea for Digestion -- with cinnamon, anise and peppermint.

Suggested retail price is $9.50 for a 1.65-oz. tin containing 36 tea bags.


Along the Pumpkin Path

Nature's Path Foods Inc. introduces FlaxPlus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch, its newest kosher and USDA-certified-organic cereal. Combining its crispy Flax Plus Flakes with its award-winning crunchy Pumpkin Flax Plus Granola and adding organic raisins gives the Richmond, British Columbia company a product rich in omega-3 fatty acids (650 mg per serving) with 16 g whole grains. This new cereal is an excellent source of fiber (9 g   36 percent of the daily allowance). Each serving of FlaxPlus Pumpkin Raisin Crunch also provides up to 20 percent of the daily requirement for iron, and 340 mg of potassium.

Suggested retail price is $3.49 per 12.35-oz. box.

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