Preview New Products with Reviews from Supermarket Sampler


If you are among the dying breed who still subscribe to a daily newspaper, you may be familiar with the weekly syndicated column "Supermarket Sampler." If not, read on to learn about one of my favorite sources of info on new products hitting the grocery store shelves.

I have a lot of sources for product info. Hungry Girl devotes every Monday newsletter to new low-cal foods, and I do check manufacturer web sites from time to time. And of course, the advertising I see on TV, in magazines, and in my Sunday paper keeps me pretty up to date.

Still, Supermarket Sampler is the only resource I've found regularly offering detailed, critical takes on new products. Importantly, they publish reviews even when they don't like the product, so they don't come off as PR shills.

The best part, though, and the reason why the column may interest you if you're here reading this web site, is that co-author Bonnie Tandy Leblang is a registered dietitian. She looks at all these (mostly processed) products through the eyes of someone who dislikes artificial ingredients and flavor enhancers and who prefers products to offer good nutrition with less fat, sodium, and calories.

Her advice can guide you to convenience products that are worth your time and won't wreck your healthy diet. At the same time, her partner Carolyn Wyman, as the junk-food fan, can tell you honestly whether your perhaps less health-oriented family members will be willing to stomach a low-sodium or "natural" branded product.

If your local paper does not carry the column (or you don't subscribe), you can read each week's edition online for free at uExpress.

If you like what you see, you can also check out the authors' other work. Leblang, along with her sons, keeps a blog at Bite of the, and Wyman has published several books about America's favorite convenience foods. I've read her book Better Than Homemade: Amazing Food That Changed the Way We Eat, and if you like shows like Food Network's Unwrapped, you'll really enjoy this easy read.

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