Supermarket Sampler: BelVita Biscuits are better than a sugary doughnut

Published: Tuesday, March 13 2012 5:00 p.m. MDT

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BelVita Breakfast Biscuits. Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, and Golden Oat. $3.69 per 8.8-ounce box of five packets containing four biscuits.

Bonnie: There are those times when you're late, dashing out the door with no time to eat, but you're hungry. What to grab?

Nabisco is hoping it will be its new-to-America BelVita Breakfast Biscuits. These biscuits have been available in France for more than a decade and were just recently introduced here via the corny pre-Super Bowl ad showing two energized small-town cops chasing a bunny and timing a Little League pitcher with a speed gun.

BelVita is being touted as "sustained energy," as its 18 to 20 grams of whole grain and 3 grams of fiber are metabolized more slowly than simple carbohydrates. But these biscuits are also quite sugary. In fact, their 11 to 13 grams sugar per serving rivals Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks.

But BelVita is better than a sugary doughnut, especially if eaten as the company suggests, along with fruit and yogurt. Just make sure that yogurt is unsweetened.

Carolyn: What country does Kraft, the owner of Nabisco, think we're living in? Between the Gevalia coffee introduced to U.S. supermarkets last month and these new BelVita Breakfast Biscuits the company hopes you'll eat with it, I'd say Sweden. Both the "biscuits" in this product's name and their austerity scream Europe — where, in fact, Kraft has been selling BelVita for about a decade.

These are like animal crackers (i.e., the least indulgent cookie sold in the U.S.) crossed with Newtons Fruit Thins, an odd little oaty, fruity cookie that Nabisco introduced here last summer. Fruit Thins have a limited audience and so too, I think, will BelVita.

Memo to Kraft: We are the same people who keep your company afloat with our vast purchases of bland, sweet foods like Cheez Whiz, Jell-O and Oreos. I'm not sure we're ready for this.

Jolly Rancher Crunch 'N Chew Candy. $1 per 1.55-ounce, $2.19 per 6.5-ounce, and $2.99 per 13-ounce bag.

Bonnie: Bill and Dorothy Harmsen started selling hand-made hard candies in their Jolly Rancher candy store in Golden, Colo., in 1949. Hershey took over the brand in 1996. Today, the company is trying to please fans of both the hard and soft fruit-flavored candies with the new Jolly Rancher Crunch 'N Chew. In this new version, a hard, crunchy shell surrounds a soft, chewy center in four bold flavors: cherry, green apple, watermelon and blue raspberry.

Like the other Jolly Ranchers sold today, these are loaded with artificial colors and flavors. My Jolly Rancher experience began with an unmistakable artificial odor and ended with a lingering aftertaste, and so they are not for me. But if you don't mind that and the all-sugar calories, you might give these a try.

Carolyn: For more than half a century, Jolly Rancher meant hard candy in bold fruit flavors. In 2001, the candy also became Starburst-like fruit chews. Now Hershey's is bringing both forms of Jolly Rancher together in these new Crunch 'N Chew candies. They're hard Jolly Rancher candies surrounding a soft, chewy center.

This candy's multi-dimensions make it as good a personality test as food treat. The target buyer is either indecisive or wants it all. Patient types will suck until the candy shell gives way; the more aggressive will break through and start chewing right away. (Aggressive types will perhaps mellow out as they age, lest their teeth confront Crunch 'N Chew's quite thick, hard-shell test.)

The best thing about Jolly Rancher, in whatever form, are the strong flavors. Fortunately, these new Crunch 'N Chews uphold that bold tradition.

Lean Cuisine Culinary Collection Chef's Pick Frozen Entrees. Chicken Makhani, Chile Lime Chicken, Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli, and Ranchero Braised Beef. $3.59 per 8.25- to 9-ounce box.

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