On the Shelf: April 2007

April's On the Shelf features a product review of Mr. Krisper's Baked Rice Krisps, and information on Attune Yogurt and Granola Wellness Bars, restaurant-quality salad dressings by Sisters ad Brothers, Inc., Extra Virgin Tea Seed Oil, organic whole grain cake mix by Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, and Funster's Mashed Potato Letters.

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PRODUCT REVIEW: Rice Crisp Snack Bats .500

A review by the Wellness Foods staff

In a crowded field of crispy snacks, one editor had the following to say about Mr. Krisper's Baked Rice Krisps: "Usually, such products -- low-fat, low-sugar, gluten-free, all natural -- fail on several levels: taste, texture and legitimate healthfulness. These are in the rarified stratum of being able to deliver on all three. The only quibbles I have are that both could use less onion and garlic and more of the flavor featured (the Nacho cheese especially). But the texture is dead-on what it should be -- crispy, without being fragile or tough, yet overall not dry, especially for a 1g fiber/oz. product. Healthwise, although not at the new 'gold standard' of 100 calories per serving, they sure are close at 110 to 120. I'd give 'em a 'thumbs-up,' but my hand's still in the bag."

Another editor remarked, "I liked both the Nacho and Barbecue flavors. They're not quite as indulgent as a potato chip, but the flavoring was good, and the overall experience mildly satisfying. They're certainly better than a rice cake." Our least health-oriented editor says, "Not being a fan of rice cakes, Mr. Krisper's baked rice crisps were a pleasant surprise. I liked the thin oval shape and the texture, which has little air bubbles and provides a crisp chew. Although not indulgent or buttery, they have enough character to satisfy your snack craving. Subtle flavors, important if one wishes to use a dip and not feel overwhelmed."

Photo 1
Mr. Krisper's Baked Rice Krisps
TH Foods (www.thfoods.com), Loves Park, Ill.
Suggested retail price for a 4.2-oz. bag is $2.29

Other reviewers had this to say:

Nacho: "Mellow version of Ritz cheese; good!"; "Perfect saltiness. How well does it work with dip?"; "Nice flavor."; "Good! I would eat more of this."; "Very good!"; "Good -- and I'm not usually a fan of nacho-flavored snacks. Would buy these if reasonably priced."; and "Like them; very addictive."

Barbecue: "A bit flat, not bad but needs more spice."; "Odd aftertaste."; "Needs more flavor."; "Don't like them. Typical artificial barbecue taste."; "Too much spice, not enough sweet and tangy elements."; and "Initial taste was like plain rice crisp. Then the spice kicked in."


Fun With ABC's

London, Ontario-based Funster Natural Foods encourages children to play with their food with the U.S. launch of gluten-free Funster's Mashed Potato Letters, a healthier alternative to French fries. Manufactured in Funster's dedicated gluten-free facility, Mashed Potato Letters are made from U.S.-grown russet potatoes and are available in three flavors: Original (lightly seasoned with sea salt), Cheddar (plus a hint of blue cheese), and BBQ Lite. Free of GMOs, preservatives, trans fat, saturated fat, artificial colors and flavors, and additives, the frozen letters are served oven-baked, not fried, making them even healthier. Don't tell the kids, but they are educational as well.

Suggested retail price for an 18-oz. bag (about 80 letters) is $2.99 to $3.49.


Sassy Sauce

In January 1988, twin sisters Carol and Lauri Raymond began producing, marketing and distributing Sesame-Garlic SASS, a fresh restaurant quality refrigerated salad dressing/sauce/marinade, locally. SASS, which stands for "Season All Stuff Sauce," because it is more than just a salad dressing, is made with no artificial preservatives, colorings, cane sugar or MSG. After years hovering locally while winning numerous awards, the Austin, Texas-based Sisters & Brothers Inc. has expanded and gone national, with nine more varieties -- Lemon Song, Creamy Miso, Balsamic Vinaigrette, Bleu Cheese, Calamata Feta, Classic Caesar, Tamari Vinaigrette, Smoky Ranch and Wasabi Ginger are available nationally.

Suggested retail price is $4.79 to $4.99 for a 12-oz. bottle.


Attune to Digestive Health

San Francisco-based Attune Foods introduces Attune Yogurt and Granola Wellness Bars, all-natural, 180-calorie daily wellness bars featuring more than five times the beneficial probiotics found in yogurt. First in a new category of wellness products packed with powerful probiotics in a portable package, Attune granola bars combine whole grains, nuts and dried fruit with a light yogurt coating. Each 40g bar is a good source of protein, has 2g of fiber and is an excellent source of calcium. Flavors include Wild Berry, Strawberry Bliss and Lemon Crème. And for the chocolate lovers there are Attune Probiotic Wellness Bars in three 100-calorie varieties -- Chocolate Crisp, Cool Mint Chocolate and Blueberry Vanilla. Each contains more than 10 billion probiotics, an amount shown to help promote health and wellness, balance the digestive system and support a strong immune system. The bars contain three specially formulated LAFTI (a registered trademark of DSM Food Specialties Inc.) probiotic strains that are part of the natural flora in our digestive systems. They also include the prebiotic inulin, a natural dietary fiber that supports healthy digestive function and works in harmony with probiotics.

Suggested retail price is $1.29 to $1.69. www.attunefoods.com


Selling Like Hotcakes

Recognizing consumers want more ways to get whole grains into their diets, Portland, Ore.-based Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, launches its certified organic whole grain cake mix line. Each mix is more than 70 percent organic. Varieties include: Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Spice Apple Cake Mix, Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Chocolate Cake Mix, Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Mix and Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Gingerbread Cake Mix. The company is also rolling out a full line of organic pancake mixes this spring.

Suggested retail price for an 18-oz. mix is $4.99.


Tea Oil

Emerald Harvest Inc., Vancouver, Canada, introduces a new cooking oil from tea. This USDA-certified organic Extra Virgin Tea Seed Oil has one of the highest smoking points (486°F) of any cooking oil. It also contains one of the lowest levels of saturated fats, has no trans fats and is one of the richest in healthy monounsaturated fats. Tea seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the Camellia oleifera plant, a cousin of the common Camellia sinensis tea family. Tea seed oil is free of odor and has a light, pleasant taste. Due to the oil's low viscosity, even greasy fried food comes out tasting light. A source of vital Vitamin E antioxidants, the unique oil provides a number of advantages over traditional cooking oils without compromising taste or cost.

Suggested retail price is $9.99 for a 500ml bottle.

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