SPOTTED ON SHELVES – 4/3/2012

New products are released all the time and here are some we found on our most recent shopping trips. We may or may not review them, but we’d like to let you know what new items are popping up on store shelves.

Jet-Puffed JUMBO EggMallows on shelf

With the right PVC tubing, these jumbo marshmallows would make wonderful ammunition for a double barreled marshmallow shotgun. Also, I want to buy a bag just so I can see how silly it would look to place one of them in a mug of hot cocoa.

Newman's Own Complete Skillet Meal for Two on shelf

I thought Tupac has released a lot of things posthumously, but Paul Newman has him beat. These Newman’s Own Complete Skillet Meals are meant for two and come in five flavors: Chicken Fettuccini Alfredo; Chicken Florentine & Farfalle; Chicken Parmigiana & Penne Garlic Chicken, Vegetables & Farfalle; and Italian Sausage & Rigatoni. Just pour the contents of the bag into a skillet, heat it up for 10 minutes, and enjoy.

Stouffer's Farmers Harvest Steam Bags on shelf

Newman’s Own isn’t the only company that recently put out bagged frozen meals. Stouffer’s Farmers Harvest line now comes in microwaveable steam bags. There are five varieties: Cheesy Southwest-Style Chicken, Chicken Florentine, Creamy Shrimp Scampi, Five Cheese Tortelloni, and Garlic Chicken. You provide the plate and utensils, and Stouffer’s will supply the food that will force you to wash the plate and utensils.

Ruffles Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins on shelf

I learned about these in February, thanks to a Fatguy Food Blog review, and I’ve been looking for them since. Recently, they popped up at my local Safeway. While I did buy a bag, a part of me doesn’t think it’s very creative to make a potato chip flavor that tastes like something else that’s made with potatoes.

Doritos Dinamita on shelf

Photo via Impulsive Buy reader Travis.

These have just started to roll out nationwide at Walmart stores, but were released in February in certain markets in the Midwest, Texas, and Western U.S. If only the Hispanic population here on these rocks in the middle of the Pacific Ocean made up more than nine percent of our total population, then we could’ve gotten Doritos Dinamita earlier. Here’s a review of the Nacho Picoso flavor from our friends over at Review Spew.

If you’re out shopping and see a new product on the shelf, snap a picture of it, email it to us at theimpulsivebuy@gmail.com, and you might see it in our next Spotted on Shelves post.

REVIEW: Glaceau VitaminWater Attention

VitaminWater Attention

When I first saw the new VitaminWater Attention bottle, I thought to myself, “Finally, a VitaminWater for horny men!”

The label is green, which everyone knows is the horny color, and if you’ve got a dirty mind, the word “attention” screams erection. And the red liquid represents the blood which…well, you boys and girls know how an erection works.

I thought a VitaminWater for sexual health was a logical next step since it seems there’s a VitaminWater for every situation. Need energy? There’s VitaminWater Energy. Need to focus? There’s VitaminWater Focus. Want healthy skin? There’s VitaminWater Zero Glow. Want the courage to face a tiger in a raw meat vest? There’s probably a VitaminWater for that too and it might be called VitaminWater Nerve or something like that.

And the list goes on and on until the break of dawn.

However, after reading the label, it turns out VitaminWater Attention isn’t liquid Viagra, instead it’s kind of a liquid Ritalin that helps one focus. Color me Viagra blue with disappointment.

So how does VitaminWater help one focus?

I was hoping they found a way to bottle YouTube cat videos because, my goodness, they’re really good at grabbing my attention and keeping it, but instead Glaceau does it with a 1-2 punch of 87 milligrams of caffeine and 15 grams of glucose.

With the amount of caffeine it has, I believe VitaminWater Attention is the most caffeinated VitaminWater on the market, and it has more of the good stuff than a skinny can of Red Bull. While this VitaminWater has a decent amount of caffeine, I’m not sure about the glucose. But I do know studies have shown glucose helps with mental performance.

VitaminWater Attention is Fuji apple and watermelon flavored, which explains the green label and red liquid much better than my reasoning (see 2nd paragraph). If you like watered down apple flavored products, that’s not like drinking severely watered down apple juice, you’ll enjoy this particular beverage. However, if you’re hoping for a watered down watermelon flavored product, VitaminWater Attention is probably not for you. There is a little bit of watermelon flavor, but it comes with the slight tartness at the end of each swig. Yes, tartness doesn’t happen with actual watermelon, but does with a particular watermelon hard candy I’m tired of naming that rhymes with Golly Blancher.

Although VitaminWater Attention doesn’t have a lot of watermelon flavor, I kind of like it. It’s pleasant and refreshing. As for helping me focus, I thought the caffeine did its job, but it’s hard for me to determine if the glucose did anything. With cocaine, 15 grams is a lot, but I have no idea if 15 grams of glucose is a lot or a little.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bottle – 120 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 31 grams of sugar, 0 grams of protein, 100% vitamin C, 100% vitamin B6, 100% vitamin B12, and 100% pantothenic acid.)

Other Glaceau VitaminWater Attention reviews:
Foodette Reviews (Really hated it)
Drink What (Enjoyed it)

Item: Glaceau VitaminWater Attention
Price: $1.00 (on sale)
Size: 20 ounces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant watered down apple flavor. 87 milligrams of caffeine. Awesome source of Vitamin C. Awesome source of B vitamins. VitaminWater for every situation. No bitterness from caffeine. It’s got electrolytes.
Cons: Not much watermelon flavor. 31 grams of sugar per bottle. Not sure if 15 grams of glucose is a lot or a little. Not a VitaminWater for sexual health.

REVIEW: Breyers Blasts! Limited Edition Oreo Birthday Blast!

Breyers Limited Edition Oreo Birthday Blast

It seems like many longstanding companies don’t know quite how to feel about their own longevity.  Staying in business for a long time is, of course, something to celebrate — the company I work for recently hit a major milestone and celebrated with both a family picnic and a black-tie dinner, which was cool.  But a lot of companies seem to want to downplay their past in an effort to appear cutting-edge and in touch with today’s consumers.  You understandably see it a lot with tech companies, but also in some industries you wouldn’t expect.  DC Comics has the richest history of any comic company on Earth, but when it comes to their original characters from the 1940s, the powers that be generally alternate between killing them off, writing them out of stories, and pretending they don’t exist.  (Because characters created in the ’50s and ’60s are so much more relevant, presumably.)

The food industry seems to play both sides of the fence.  You’ll see plenty of brands where the companies seem to constantly try new flavors or fillings or variations on the original — coat it in chocolate, fill it with berries, age it ten years and throw some parsley on top — but at the same time, there are a number of products that have really stood the test of time, and their makers rarely miss an opportunity to point that out.  The fact that they often do so while simultaneously introducing the “new and improved version!” of the product that’s lasted forever in its original form is an irony not lost on me, and Nabisco provides us with a fantastic example of what we’re talking about.  As you probably know, Oreos are celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2012, and I’ll bet you cash money Nabisco has rolled out more variants on the Oreo in the past ten years than they did in the ninety preceding it — Double Stufs, Triple Doubles, Neapolitan flavor, Berry Burst, Strawberry Milkshake Creme, Cakesters… the list is endless.  Celebrate the past, just so long as no one thinks you’re afraid to make changes to keep with the times appears to be the credo.

Breyers Limited Edition Oreo Birthday Blast Closeup

Be that as it may, part of any good birthday celebration is ice cream, so Nabisco has teamed up with Breyer’s to bring us… almost ice cream.  “Frozen dairy dessert,” if you want to get technical.  I don’t tend to notice the difference until it’s pointed out to me, but I know some of you (like my wife) do, and once she mentioned it, I definitely could detect the slight aftertaste that smacks of “almost but not quite ice cream.”  Like blinking your eyes or breathing, it’s the sort of thing you don’t consciously think about, but then once it’s brought to your attention, you can’t stop noticing it.  It didn’t totally ruin my enjoyment, but it definitely diminished it slightly; naturally, your mileage may vary.

Oreos, of course, have a proud tradition of partnering with ice cream as the classic cookies n’ cream flavor, or the slightly less classic “creme (with cookie chunks)” by stores afraid of violating copyright laws.  By appearances, the anniversary ice cream looked to be exactly that, just with rainbow sprinkles added, so that’s what I was expecting.  It’s also basically what I got, so here’s to judging a book by its cover!  But I was pleasantly surprised to note that along with the rainbow sprinkles came a bit of cake batter flavor too.  It’s not overwhelming, but it pairs with the Oreo cookie chunks pretty well.  The dessert is fairly creamy — not Ben & Jerry’s quality, but still, not bad.

Overall, you pretty much know what to expect from this frozen dairy dessert if you’ve had cookies n’ cream before, as that’s the dominant base.  I’d love to tell you it’s more exciting than that, but this is just a decent but not outstanding flavor that loses a point or two for the aftertaste.  It’s not bad by any stretch, but it doesn’t really live up to the monumental milestone it was designed to commemorate either.  As it stands, I don’t think you’d find anyone arguing Oreo Birthday Blast was worth waiting 100 years for.

(Nutrition Facts — 1/2 cup — 130 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 13 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Breyers Blasts! Limited Edition Oreo Birthday Blast!
Price: $3.79
Size: 1.5 quarts
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Visually appealing rainbow sprinkles.  Most Oreos don’t look a day over 70.  Tasty cookie chunks.  Hard to be TOO disappointed with what is, essentially, cookies n’ cream.  Certainly not healthy, but could be a lot worse.  If you make a wish before digging in your spoon, it stands as good a chance of coming true as if you were wishing on a candle.
Cons: Can’t un-notice the aftertaste after it’s been pointed out to you.  (Sorry.)  Not real ice cream.  Companies that want to celebrate their longevity when convenient while ignoring it the other 99% of the time.  Not exactly overflowing in creativity.  Could be slightly creamier.

WEEK IN REVIEWS – 3/31/2012

A small portion of the cereal aisle

Here’s a product review posted this week from another blog we follow.

There were many reviews I could’ve highlighted in this week’s post, like one for McDonald’s Strawberry and Creme pies or another one about bacon jelly beans, but they all pale in comparison to what our friend, and newest TIB contributor, Steve tried over at his review blog, Food Junk. What he reviewed was quite possibly one of the craziest things one could review. While it’s not as crazy as purchasing a bottle of Crystal Pepsi on eBay, drinking it, waiting for some illness to hit, and then writing a review, in my book it’s quite close. So without further ado, here’s the review. (via Food Junk)

NEWS: Mountain Dew Dark Berry To Rise Alongside The Upcoming Batman Movie

Most expensive Pepsi, now most expensive Mountain Dew

Update: Click here to read our Mountain Dew Dark Berry review

According to a post over at BevReview, Mountain Dew is planning to release a new flavor this summer, Dark Berry. The new flavor is a movie tie-in for the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, which is scheduled to be released July 20, 2012. ComicBookMovie.com has images of the packaging.

According to BevReview, the caffeinated beverage will be mixed berry flavored and isn’t a renamed version of any previous Mountain Dew flavors. It will be available sometime in June and hang around for eight weeks.

I’m excited about this Dark Berry flavor, but Mountain Dew would excite me even more if they held another DEWmocracy election this year. They did one in 2008 and 2010, so if my math is correct, it’s about time for another.