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Retro sighting: Heinz Baked Beans with Pork Sausages/ Hoops 'n Hotdogs etc
Posted: 21:05 Thu 29-May-2008. Location: "At the back of Blackpool hoteliers' pantries".
"Mark Boulton" reports: When Heinz began to launch their "diddy keystone" labels with the lower-case Heinz logo, I started to take steps to archive the remaining examples of the more "classic" style - which of course has returned to the Soup range, Mean Beanz and any newly launched products. I guess it was as much of a mistake as replacing the copperplate lettering on the standard Beans with some flimsy looking font sometime in the early '90s (and early '80s IIRC). Here's a comparison of the old [above] and almost-new [below]. Note this was after the rebrand but with the CORRECT spelling of the word "Beans"!!!
...Something of a specialist sighting this week, even by our standards - just leave a comment if you'd like me to post the hi-res scans of Heinz Ravioli, Spaghetti, or Macaroni Cheese cans that "Mark" also thoughtfully provided. In other unbelievable heatables: neither Burger King's Angus 6-Pack Meal nor KFC's latest attempt at offering a non-chicken based breakfast appear to be the hoaxes I originally assumed; sorry it's a bit late to link to the eBay Harrods' Posh Pot Noodle sent in by "George Thompson"; and "I hadn't noticed the previous posting about them," admitted "Zeddy" regarding the McCoy's Limited Edition Takeaway 6-pack he paid £1.53 for in Somerfield, Larkhall, concluding: "The Sweet and Sour are indeed with a taste of Chinese Five spice in them. A good edition to the range, limited or otherwise."
Confirmed sighting: Burger King Warm Apple Pie/ Strawberry Cheesecake/ Double Chocolate Twist
Posted: 22:07 Tue 01-Apr-2008. Price: £0.99-£2.29. Location: Wigan. Sub-flavours: With or without ice cream (Warm Pie only), with or without hot drink (Chocolate Twist).
"Wes Jones" reports: Burger King's new desserts menu. Aside from the ice cream desserts and rather bland Diddy Donuts (with their ever decreasing choice of sauce list - used to be three, now only one), BK have discovered that they needed more dessert choices after all. Let's kick things off with the Apple Pie. If you're expecting anything like Mr. Kipling's, think again. This is a segment of Bramley apple pie, with large chunks of apple covered with a lattice pastry. This is served either hot or cold (unlike McDonald's, this is microwaved rather than deep fried). The hot variety can also be served with a generous helping of ice cream for an extra 30p.
The Strawberry Cheesecake is basically the creamy part of the cheesecake, infused with swirls of strawberry sauce on a biscuit base. The overall texture is quite dry though, so you may need a drink to accompany this. Finally, the Double Chocolate Twist. With a flaky pastry similar to that found on a Fray Bentos tin pie, and melted chocolate injected into the grooves, the overall effect of this dessert is sweet AND savoury. Rather bland on its own, but accompanied with either Cappuccino or Hot Chocolate it is delicious. The prices, even though they seem high, are reasonable considering Burger King's recent price uppage. Keep your eyes on me for any new Burger King products as well.
...I'm kind of assuming this is the same "Wes Jones" here, with Burger King's own version of what "third base" is like. Elsewhere, Ginsters are getting into microwavable ready meals, and I haven't yet got up early enough to confirm the non-April-Fool-status of the McDonald's Breakfast Wrap which "DM" claims: "Seems to have appeared in Manc over the last 2 weeks - noticed it initially as a friend was at a cash point and I was NOT looking at his PIN, there was a poster in the Mac window (2pm by then) ...then an ad in my partner's free paper this week - seems to be a tortilla wrap containing a split in 2 'patty', plus egg AND hash brown!! It's got me anyway - I'm getting one."
Year in review: Product picks of 2007
Posted: 23:10 Tue 01-Jan-2008.
reports: And with a happy New Year and (belated) Merry Christmas to all our readers, here are some of my favourite products of
the last 12 months - even if they weren't all as innovative as last year's. Sadly, it's probably too late to catch McDonald's alarmingly impressive Big Cheese With Bacon (pictured here), part of a Festive line-up that also included Cheese Melt Dippers with a piquant Caramelised Onion Dip, and which was only really let down by the Cranberry Chutney Festive Chicken Wrap. Coca Cola with Orange might have been more of a hit if they'd done a diet version, though over-18s could always make up for it with the likes of Becks Green Lemon. But if there's one new brand which I find myself buying regularly, it's Cadbury's Strawberry And Lime Trident Splash - I don't know if I could go back to Wrigley's mint Extras now if I tried.
...Still, obviously this list isn't intended to be exhaustive, so let's hear your nominations for anything you think is the best thing since Reduced Salt Chicken and Mushroom Pot Noodle. And the same goes for any top post-Christmas price reductions, especially on goods as unexpectedly delicious as Asda's (possibly Snackspot-inspired?) Extra Special Chocolate Christmas Pudding (almost worth it at £4.98 full price).
Confirmed sighting: Barry Norman Pickled Onions
Posted: 21:14 Fri 30-Nov-2007. Price: £1.99/ 560g. Location: Tesco. Nutritional unusualness: Contains Mustard - "Barry Norman never buys pickled onions [...] Using a 19th century recipe handed down from grandmother to mother to son he makes them himself".
I thought these were actually a bit too "Hot and Spicy!" myself but, as Barry's Spitting Image puppet used to put it, "And why not - and that, in a sense, is what it's there for". Anyway, over to "Andy", who reports: Just tried Barry Norman (yes, that Barry Norman...) Pickled Onions and they're superb - lovely spicy pickle. Definitely the best on the market, although Branston Pickled onions in Branston vinegar come a close second.
...In other heated exchanges: remarkably for a Heinz product, the controversially named Heinz Farmers' Market Tomato And Red Pepper Soup I tried hardly tasted of tomato at all, while "TalkShowHost" thought there was in fact more to add regarding Heinz Snap Pots (£1.48 for 4, ASDA, Great Bridge), elaborating: "I saw these featured in a newspaper article a while ago but then couldn't find them anywhere. The article in question was about how people are getting lazier when it comes to food preparation. So a ready serve pack of beans or hoops fits the lazy nation idea exactly."
"When I finally did see them the other day I purchased the Beanz variety as I hate Hoops (they remind me of the nasty Tomato Skips) and must say that my expectations weren't too high. Right I was too - they are nasty! They look like normal Heinz Beanz but when you taste them there is something wrong - as if they had been left to go cold and then reheated a few times. I gave the other three pots to various members of my family and they totally agreed with me - my grandad actually said they tasted exactly like the cheapest beans in Lidl. Since I don't go into Lidl very often this is impossible for me to confirm, but if it is true it would be a blow for Heinz (4 pots for £1.48 is a bit steeper than the Lidl rate of around 8 pence a can)."
Confirmed sighting: Heinz Hidden Veg Hoops/ Heinz Beanz With Balls
Posted: 22:51 Tue 30-Oct-2007. Price: 57p/ 69p per can. Location: Morrisons, Yeovil/ Netto, Leicester.
"tasha" reports: "Carrot, parsnip, red pepper and courgette blended into the sauce... sneaky!", while here's a full-size pic of the Heinz Beanz with Balls which "Nick T" describes as: "Made with the finest abattoir sweepings, the meatballs do at least have one point of difference in that they're made of lamb, and not just another burger-bite wannabee. Quite salty, but I'd be happy to see these as a permanent line, and would probably buy again. Nice 'newspaper headline' theme to the labelling. The same branch also had Beanz with Big Saucy Bangers also at 69p, but I didn't buy them so I can't supply a photo."
...To be honest, there isn't much to be said about Heinz's microwaveable plastic Snap Pots (£1.49 for 4x 200g) so, in other hot products: the most infuriating thing about Burger King's Angry Whopper is that it sometimes seems like they've just given you an ordinary Whopper until you find one of the well-concealed "Angry Onion Strips" or "Hot-Headed Jalapenos", so my vote currently goes to McDonald's surprisingly sophisticated-tasting Chicken Legend, despite some of the results you'll get if you Google the name of this particular product.
Confirmed sighting: Unilever Pot Noodle, new "50% less salt" flavours
Posted: 20:24 Thu 13-Sep-2007. Price: 3 for £2. Location: Tesco, Drum Brae, Edinburgh. Sub-flavours: Chicken Satay; Lamb Hot Pot; Tikka Masala. Nutritional unusualness: Now down to about 1.5g salt (or less) per pot, all varieties still suitable for vegetarians.
Undaunted by negative reactions to the lower-sodium versions of existing flavours, "Phill" reports: "Found these whilst shopping for the 'ingredients' needed for Long Island Iced Tea.
I always like trying new Pot Noodle flavours, so these new ones caught my eye easily."
...Sadly, "Phill" didn't say which went best with his cocktail, so the question remains: what if you tried to eat them *without* a strong drink to take the taste away? If you ask me, Tikka Masala is the most traditionally Pot-Noodle-like of the trio (despite including a sachet of "sweet mango chutney"), Chicken Satay is convincingly nutty (and comes with additional chilli sauce), but Lamb Hotpot is perhaps the most "Shouldn't Work, But It Does" surprising, complete with its very own sachet of mint sauce.
Anyway, in other heatable eatables: the makers of Rustlers microwavable sandwiches are targeting "women aged 25 to 35" with their
UGO's Deli Cafe Paninis (in Chargrilled Chicken with Mozzarella Cheese and Pesto, or Bacon, Cheese and Mustard Mayonnaise, £2.29); and Heinz aren't being left behind, launching microwaveable Snap Pots (of Hoops or Beanz) for the "light meal occasion", and cans of
Beanz with Balls, Big Saucy Bangers or Red Hot Balls for more substantial situations.
Confirmed sighting: Unilever Original Beef Bovril
Posted: 23:05 Tue 28-Aug-2007. Price: £2-ish. Location: Costcutter, Basildon. Nutritional unusualness: Contains Beef Extract again.
In accordance with the official announcement, "Paul Bines" reports: Back in 2004, Bovril was reformulated to a vegetarian ingredients list as a result of the BSE scare causing a ban on the exportation of products containing Beef from the UK. Vegetarian Bovril was little more than Marmite really.
Now the ban has been lifted, and the Beef extract has been restored to the Bovril recipe as of August 2007 - it smells and tastes much as it used to before the change.
Stocks are only now getting into shops, and some of the Vegetarian recipe might still be on shelves - the difference between the two is that the "Beef" version has "Beef" prominently printed on the label, and the seal around the lid also states "Beef" - the vegetarian version does not.
...In other meaty reminiscences: "What's this?
Heinz Beanz with Cumberland Sausages (95p, Morrisons, Leicester), with the label flashed 'New'?" demands "Nick T". "They may have been away, but as Stephen Craig's fine report of 2005 attests, new they ain't. Nevertheless, a welcome return of an old favourite for my gasping, beleaguered arteries." Plus, I personally consider the Burger King Smokey Blue Angus (from £3.79) to be a substantial improvement on the likes of 2003's KFC Smokey Blue Tower Burger, though sadly their
"posh" advertising campaign doesn't go as far as the endearingly throne-based packaging of KFC's "King's Feast" Boneless Banquet For One (seen in Edinburgh, £4.69).
Confirmed sighting: Heinz Baked Beanz with HP Sauce
Posted: 23:17 Thu 02-Aug-2007. Price: 49p. Location: Tesco Silverburn, Glasgow. Nutritional unusualness: 6% HP Sauce.
the naysayers, "Stephen Craig" reports: Yes, Snackspot, you're right. They've done it. They've
actually done it. Ignoring the potentially calamitous consequences, Heinz have thrown caution to the wind and produced this newest Brown Sauce Bean variant to add to their recent experiments. The only difference from the original prediction is they've stuck the branding on the Heinz beans rather than HP. You'd think the latter would be something of an obvious tie-up, but then, what do I know about marketing, eh?
Nevertheless, despite it sounding odd, this concoction was approached with an open mind. I've always been a fan of a good brown sauce and was prepared to give these disconcertingly brown-coloured, Frankenstein-style beans a chance to work their way into my affections. Sadly, they've taken the same half-hearted approach to these as they've done with the Lea and Perrins beans - and the result is similarly anaemic. The - at first apparently generous - 6% of HP Sauce is engulfed by the 26% of tomatoes, resulting once again in a product that tastes only vaguely of the guest condiment. I still remain to be convinced that these would work as a genuine standalone flavour, but for now - unless Heinz actually up the percentage - you'd once again be better off chucking a load of sauce into the pan yourself and finding out. They'd really better not do Salad Cream Beans next. I don't think even I'd have the stomach for that.
Confirmed sighting: KFC Wrapstar
Posted: 22:57 Thu 21-Jun-2007. Price: £2.99 by itself, or "meal it" for £3.99. Location: KFC, London's Leicester Square. Nutritional unusualness: No info available.
reports: I'm not sure I could detect all 8 distinct ingredients ("Two crispy strips, slice of cheese, crunchy tostada, pepper mayo, mild tomato salsa, crisp lettuce, diced tomato, warm flour tortilla"), but this delivered in 2 important areas - a) it didn't take long to make (in fact, they probably had a load all ready to go for lunchtime), and b) it didn't fall apart while I was trying to eat it. As such, it instantly jumps to number 3 in my personal "wrap" chart, ahead of the efforts of London and Croydon's Doughmasters, but just behind Pret A Manger's Mama Marguerita and the Wrap It Up place
across the road from Liverpool Street station.
...In other meaty mouthfuls, McDonald's appear to be simultaneously battling Subway (with their £1.99 Deli of The Day deal) *and* KFC, with the arrival of their Chicken Fajita wrap, as well as the resurrected Mexican Quarter Pounder from summer 2003. And Ginsters are possibly misrepresenting a largely non-cow-eating subcontinent with their Indian Style Spicy Beef Pasty (introductory price £1), part of a "Pasties Of The World" range that includes Mexican Spicy Chicken and a rather tasty Italian Meat Feast.
Confirmed sighting: Heinz Baked Beanz with Lea and Perrins Worcester Sauce
Posted: 15:02 Thu 07-Jun-2007. Price: 44p. Location: Somerfield, Glasgow. Nutritional unusualness: "Anchovies" - presumably from the Lea and Perrins.
"Stephen Craig" reports: The at-the-time maligned merger of condiment giants HP and Heinz has failed to cause the problems that were feared when the takeover was first announced. HP and Heinz beans exist side by side in supermarkets - united against the Branston menace. HP Sauce remains in its reassuringly square bottle. And most importantly of all - Daddies Tomato Sauce remains on the shelves, smugly superior to its more popular Heinz equivalent. But the boffins at Heinz's labs haven't been idle. Finally blessed with the secrets of HP's entire range of sauces, they've gone mad with innovation and, er, chucked a load of Lea and Perrins in some beans and bunged out this special edition.
..."Stephen" returns with something of an epic here - don't hesitate to View comments for his final verdict. Elsewhere, Branston are jumping on the dubiously beneficial Omega 3 bandwagon with Branstein Baked Beans (55p/ 420g), while "Are these new or just relaunched with new labels?", wondered "Zeddy" regarding the Heinz Meanz Beanz Smokey BBQ previously praised here. "I tried the Smokey BBQ ones," "Zeddy" continues, "and they were fab (toxic fumes to follow... :)"
Raspberry Cheesecake/ Coconut/ Rum and Raisin Carte D'Or
Dormen luxury handmade crisps
Betty Bassett's Red Liquorice Allsorts
Wrigley's Extra Ice Mint tins
Mr Kipling's Big French Fancy
Smarties Party Ice Cream/ Calippo Fizz
Jelly Belly Sport Beans
Ginsters microwavable ready meals
Carte D'Or sorbets/ Raspberries and Meringue Haagen-Dazs
Minara Micro Meals in a jar
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Super Size Me (DVD)
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Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World
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The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookiee Cookies and Other Galactic Recipes
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