St. Patrick's Day cookies
Irish or not, anyone would feel lucky to receive this box of St. Patrick's cookies from Divine Delights.

Product Reviews


Gourmet News & Views

March 2006

New Product Watch: Dagoba Organic Single Origin Bars. Dagoba will launch its Single Origin chocolate bars this month, introducing the first Certified Organic single origins to consumers nationwide. These organic chocolates were showcased at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California. Dagoba’s Single Origin line features:

  • Pacuare - From Costa Rica, the cacao’s flavor is mild with low acidity. It also yields bold raisin flavors, hints of caramel and earthy undertones. 
  • Los Rios - Grown in Ecuador, the Arriba cacao from this bar is flavor-forward, with notes of tangerine and red berry. The age-old cacao is said to be on the verge of extinction, and Dagoba is partnering with a small group of farmers to revive it. 
  • Milagros - Made from Peruvian cacao found in the Amazon and fed by the Monzon and Huallaga rivers, this bar offers nuances of banana and orchid. Its fruit blend consists of about 20 percent criollo, 60 percent trinitario and 20 percent forestero. 

Each bar is created with 68 percent cacao and comes in 2-ounce bars for $3.99 each. Nine-gram tasting squares in a box of 40 or a bag of 20 are also available. Click here to read our review of Dagoba Organic Chocolate.

New Flavor Watch: IZZE Sparkling Apple. IZZE, one of our favorite sparkling juice companies, introduced the eighth member, Sparkling Apple, to its family of fizzy fruit beverages at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, California, this past weekend. IZZE’s original flavor line includes Sparkling Blackberry, Sparkling Blueberry, Sparkling Clementine, Sparkling Grapefruit, Sparkling Lemon, Sparkling Pear and Sparkling Pomegranate. Everything in the line contains an all-natural blend of sparkling water and pure fruit juice, and is completely free of caffeine, preservatives, artificial ingredients, high-fructose corn syrup and refined sugars. IZZE drinks are available in 12-ounce glass bottles or 8.4-ounce cans. Click here to read our article, Fascinating Fizz, to learn more about our favorite specialty fruit sodas.

New Product Watch: Kettle™ Pretzel Chips. Pretzel Chips—thin, flat chips that offer a flavorful crunch—will join the growing line of Kettle brand Bakes in May. Made with organic flour and all-natural seasonings, these pretzels contain no trans fat and have between 110 to 120 calories and only 1 to 3 grams of fat per serving. The Kettle Bakes Pretzel Chips are available in Fully Loaded, a flavor that resembles an “everything” bagel with onion, garlic, sesame, poppy and caraway seeds; Honey Dijon, with a bold touch of sweet honey and spicy mustard; and Original, with salt. Kettle brand Bakes Pretzel Chips will be available in 7-ounce bags in supermarkets and natural food stores at a retail price of $3.29.


Health and Wellness Industry Grows. According to The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), retail sales within the health and wellness industry for U.S. consumer packaged goods reached $79 billion in 2005, a 15 percent jump from 2004. NMI’s annual Health & Wellness Trends Database™ also found that in 2005:

  • Functional/Fortified Beverages continue to be the market’s largest category, with retail sales of $29 billion, up 26% from 2004. This sector represents 37% of the total market.
  • Organic Foods/Beverages hit $12.8 billion at a 17% increase.
  • Vitamins, Minerals, Herbal & Dietary Supplements resulted in $19.6 billion at a 3% growth rate.
  • Natural Foods/Beverages raked in $12.4 billion with an 11% jump.

In its March 2006 issue, Specialty Food magazine profiles the Healthy Snacks Category and explains that with the increasing awareness of obesity and the advancement of food technologies that create healthy versions of traditional snacks, nutritious snacks will continue to gain popularity. Mintel, a market research firm, reported that the Healthy Snacks market will increase at .7 percent annually, with sales predicted to hit $16.3 billion in 2006.

THE NIBBLE™ staff tastes hundreds of healthy food products every year, and we pick our favorites to review. Click here to be taken to the index page of THE NIBBLE’s NutriNibbles section to read about our favorite healthy specialty foods.

New Flavor Watch: Sundia Watermelon Juice Blends. Sundia Corporation recently added three new juice blends to join their signature product, Watermelon Juice. The new flavors are Watermelon Pomegranate, Watermelon Blackberry and Watermelon Limeade. Made with 100 percent juice and containing no preservatives or additional sugar, each juice blend delivers a double punch of fruit health benefits for an antioxidant-rich beverage. Sundia’s watermelon juices enable watermelon-lovers to enjoy the flavor all year long, and provide another fruit juice choice. Click here to read our review of Sundia Watermelon Juice.

New Product Watch: Sweet Seasons™. The Lollipop Tree, a specialty food manufacturer that makes one of our favorite pumpkin muffins, will launch Sweet Seasons™, their new line of all-natural bread mixes, at the Natural Products Expo West on March 24th to 26th. Combined with seasonal fruits, berries and spices, the bread mixes are available in Banana Chocolate Chip, Caramel Apple, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Peppermint, Lemon, and Pumpkin & Strawberry. While Sweet Seasons™ products can currently be purchased at select grocery stores in the East Coast, The Lollipop Tree plans to distribute this line nationwide by the end of this year.


Kettle Potato Chip Contest. To prepare for the launch of the new chip flavor in July 2006, Kettle Foods is offering a tasting kit that lets chip enthusiasts taste and compare the chip contenders in party mode. For $9.95 plus shipping, you get a 5-ounce bag of each of the five contenders: Buffalo Bleu, Creamy Caesar, Dirty Martini, Spicy Mary, and Tuscan Three Cheese. Also included are a tasting manual, rating ballots and a guide to hosting a tasting party.

chip tasting box

The deadline to vote is March 31st, and the winner will be announced online on April 1st. Click here to purchase the tasting kit, vote or share your experience. You don’t have to purchase or taste anything to vote: you can cast your ballot based on conceptual appeal rather than an “informed vote” from tasting these thick, crunchy, flavorful chips. Everyone who votes online will be entered to win one year’s supply of Kettle™ brand chips. If you want to learn more about potato chips, click here for our article, The History of the Potato Chip.

New Product Watch: Naked Juice All-Natural Energy Smoothies. Naked Juice’s Orange Mango Motion and Strawberry Kiwi Kick will debut at Natural Foods Expo West from March 24th to 26th. These newcomers will join the original line of Naked Juice as all-natural energy drinks. The 100-percent juice smoothies contain no sugar, preservatives or artificial flavors or colors and have:

  • Green tea extract as an antioxidant boost
  • Guarana as a natural source of caffeine
  • 1 pound of fruit in each 15.2-ounce bottle
  • Essential vitamins, including 100 percent daily servings of: niacin, riboflavin; and vitamins B5, B6, B12 and C
orange mango energy smoothie strawberry kiwi energy smoothie
Click here to read our review of the signature line of Naked Juice.

Soda Loses Fizz. Beverage Digest, the industry trade publication, recently released data that indicated that the number of soda cases sold in America declined for the first time in two decades. Even the once popular diet soda category has also taken a plunge. Beverage Digest research finds that last year, Diet Coke's case volume underwent little change, up only 0.1 percent, while diet Pepsi's case volume was down by 1.9 percent. Overall, in 2005, the case volume for soda dropped 0.7 percent, to 10.2 billion cases.

raspberry soda
Photo courtesy of Stock Xchng.

An article in the New York Times cites William Pecoriello, a beverage analyst at Morgan Stanley, who predicts that the soda sales will continue to decline 1 percent each year for the year to come because consumers are striving for healthier diets and staying away from artificial sweeteners. The article also explains that traditional soft drink companies like Coca Cola, down 2 percent in sales, and PepsiCo, down 3.2 percent, are being affected the most.

At The NIBBLE™, soda is still an essential accompaniment to our meals. We will never bid farewell to our bubbly beverages because we’ve discovered refreshing soft drinks that don’t contain an overload of sugars. Click here to read our article Fascinating Fizz for our list of exceptional adult sodas.


Prune Makeover. The first baby boomers are turning 60 this year, a sign that prunes will be making a comeback. what’s the link between baby boomers and prunes? According to an article in The Dallas News, boomers were the hipsters of the ’60s and will continue to define what being cool is all about. So when these aging hipsters need prunes, the shriveled fruit’s reputation will undergo a transformation. Most people assume that prunes refer to the dried food, but these sweet fruits are a type of plum that can also be eaten fresh.

Photo courtesy of California Prune Board.

Prune plums tend to be sold dried because of their ideal drying characteristics: they have more sugar, firmer flesh and a higher acid content than other plums. The sugar naturally enhances the sweetness of the fruit, while the meatiness makes prunes a substantial food. The acid content allows the fruit to keep its pit intact while drying without fermentation. When dried, these wrinkly fruits may not be the most attractive food, but their nutritional properties are believed to do wonders for health.

Marketers are catching on to the prune trend, and so are consumers. High in beta-carotene and fiber, these plump nuggets are already remaking their way into on-the-go snack bags, gourmet recipes for pork tenderloins or stuffed hors d’oeurves, and are even being hailed as “better than fresh fruit.”* You will also find many more prunes with flavor essences, like lemon or cherry. Prune-lovers no longer have to covertly enjoy these purple fruits; they just may be the next superfood.

*This endorsement is found on the package of Sunsweet prunes.

Pinot Noir Celebration. Pinot Noir lovers can register for the hottest wine event in America: the twentieth annual International Pinot Noir Celebration. From July 27th to 29th, the event will take place on the Linfield College campus, located in the heart of Oregon wine country. The three-day affair will include seminars, tastings, tours and meals with sixty international Pinot Noir winemakers. For those who can only spare one day for the wine event, Passport to Pinot will be held in the afternoon on July 30. This will be a condensed version of the three-day weekend celebration. Guests will also be able to taste different wines, meet the winemakers and enjoy a number of culinary delights prepared by guest chefs.

pinot noir celebration
Sixty different wines will be showcased by sixty winemakers at the Pinot Noir celebration.

New Product Watch: Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops. Yummy Earth will be launching organic lollipops at Expo West in Anaheim, California, from March 23rd to the 24th. Produced in an organic plant, these lollipops are made with all organic ingredients, right down to the coloring. Created for the purpose of offering a lollipop that’s eco-friendly and safe for kids to enjoy (free of any pesticides or genetically modified organisms), Yummy Earth lollipops are available in five fun flavors: Wet-face Watermelon, Apple Juicy Sour, Razzmatazz Berry, Licky Lemon and Orange Squeeze.

yummy earth organic loliipops
Each lollipop flavor is handcrafted
and may contain up to 30 different
organic ingredients.

These sweets on a stick will soon be offered in healthfood stores nationwide, including Whole Foods and Wild Oats. As a special to NIBBLE readers, Yummy Earth will be sending free lollipops to readers who request samples. To receive your free organic lollipops, e-mail and mention that you read about them in THE NIBBLE™ online magazine. Available while supplies last.

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