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Confirmed sighting: Alpen Porridge
Posted: 18:29 Sun 18-Dec-2011. Price: Introductory offer of £2 for box of 8x 40g sachets. Location: Tescos all over London. Sub-flavours: Fruit and Nut; Cranberry, Blueberry and Nuts; Raspberry, Apple and Raisin.
reports: "We know you know how good it will be," mutters the packet, threateningly, but who'd have thought that the Weetabix Corporation would bring something revolutionary to the microwaveable just-add-milk market? That thing is of course raisins, which work remarkably well with the recognisably Alpen-ish mix of oats and muesli - the Raspberry And Apple one tasted a bit too fruity for my liking but that's not going to put me off trying the Cranberry And Blueberry next. Plus, it's also the ideal way to celebrate the discovery of yet another planet in the "Goldilocks" zone - so called because its surface temperature may allow the existence of porridge in its liquid form, believed to be one of the essential prerequisites for organic life.
...Anyway, in other cereal offenders: Jim's Chocolate Mission has been drawn into the campaign forcing consumers to choose between the Totally Chocolatey or Chocolate Caramel varieties of Kellogg's Krave - I actually preferred the Choc and Original versions of Kellogg's Mini Max, though Foodstuff Finds seems a bit less convinced. That said, one of my surprise contenders for Best Products Of 2011 has turned out to be Kellogg's All Bran Golden Crunch - pictured here with one of Quaker Oats' replacements for their Paw Ridge range, the latter axed after being hailed on Snackspot as one of the worst-named products of 2009.
Confirmed sighting: Nestle Lion White/ Tesco White Chocolate and Strawberry Filled Muffins
Posted: 16:40 Sun 11-Dec-2011. Location: See below.
"Already one of my favourites," summarises "James Moyle" regarding the (possibly imported?) White Lion bar he saw for 50p-80p in The Corner Shop, Hythe, Kent - but
"Marc" has more detail on the muffin front, reporting: "While on my trip to Tesco (who had a delightful Buy 1 Get 2 Free offer on Frijj milkshakes), I spotted these muffins from their bakery aisle. Like many, I like muffins, and thought White Chocolate may balance out the usual overpowering Chocolate Muffin."
"The white chocolate bits are small and sweet, not much white chocolate taste but otherwise a great combination with the strawberry filling in the middle. Pick 'em up and let me know what you think..."
...Thanks guys - in other Christmas-ish cakes: Foodstuff Finds seemed unconvinced by Heston Blumenthal's Waitrose-exclusive Puff Pastry Mince Pies With Pine Sugar Dusting, compared to Tesco's "totally different to anything else on the market" Mince Pie Flavour Crisps; and I thought that Burger King's Hot Chocolate Brownie, while resembling KFC's 2008 Molten Chocolate Pud, is maybe even as good as Ambrosia's Chocolate Brownie Custard Pudding (I couldn't identify the vaguely biscuity pieces in BK's Jaffa Cake Fusions Ice Cream but it's an effective variation on the likes of the Jaffa Dreamcake Krispy Kreme.)
Confirmed sighting: Rockstar XDurance Performance Energy
Posted: 11:31 Sun 04-Dec-2011. Price: £1.30/500ml or 2 for £2 offer. Location: Asda, Folkestone. Nutritional unusualness: 68.5g sugar per can; "100% Vegetarian and Vegan. The Taurine contained in Rockstar is synthetic and not derived from animals".
I tried the sugar-free, but otherwise unremarkable, Rockstar Pink a couple of months ago, but top serving-suggestion photography here from first-time spotter
"James Moyle", who reports: Best Rockstar yet, I love how they've added extra caffeine. It has three different flavors; blueberry, pomegranate and acai. The liquid is actually maroon.
...In other fizzy business: Global Brands' Kick energy drink is being rolled out to 250 Asda stores
after trials at various UK gaming events; Sicilian Lemon and Elderflower, Italian Red Grape and Pomegranate, or Chilean Plum and Raspberry are among a new range of Vimto-manufactured soft drinks "containing zero WeightWatcher ProPoints per 250ml"; or, if you need something stronger to see you through the winter, this Chocolate Shop Chocolate Lover's Wine (£5.99/Sainsbury's) works surprisingly well, compared to the slightly bitter Biscotti Baileys also shown in the picture and the unexpectedly Fanta-flavoured Crabbies Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer.
Confirmed sighting: Golden Wonder Rough Cuts
Posted: 11:03 Sun 27-Nov-2011. Price: 50p. Location: News Shop, Leicester. Sub-flavours: Bang Bang Spicy Thai [tested], presumably other Tayto Rough Cuts Flavours (ie, Cheese and Onion, Salt and Vinegar, Chargrilled Steak).
Foodstuff Finds has been "missing [the] burn" in
Levi's Caribbean Chilli Beef Grove Cut Crisps and UB/KP are replacing Pickled Onion in 6-packs of Nik Naks with our old friend, "stinky" Scampi'n'Lemon. But today's headliner is the ever-articulate "Nick T", who quips: "Everybody likes a little Thai, and everybody likes a little Bang Bang. Ladies and gentlemen, we are now entering the Benny Hill zone."
"I'm assuming Rough Cuts are a test product: well if there's space in the crowded adult end of the market for them, they may be onto a winner. For the past few years Golden Wonder have sadly lounged in the lunchbox/pocket-money snack space but maybe with the change of ownership - and I notice the contact address is Scunthorpe, often called The Athens Of The North - these ridged crisps are definitely moving into McCoy's territory, and 15p cheaper too."
"Taste-wise they're very, very similar to McCoy's recent excellent Ruck of Ribs, but not quite such a full-on flavour. There's a little more sourness and a lot more sweetness but still a very tasty crisp. The coating isn't very even though: occasionally you'll get one with hardly any seasoning at all, then you'll find the one with all the chilli. That could be seen as a big fail, but I just like to think of it as Thai Roulette. If you like a little Rough, these are well worth tracking down."
Confirmed sighting: GlaxoSmithKline Lucozade Black Edition Cola Energy Drink
Posted: 19:09 Sun 20-Nov-2011. Price: £1/500ml. Location: ASDA, Hounslow. Sub-flavours: 14.6g carbohydrate per 100ml, of which 11.3g sugars.
Yes, there was an earlier comment calling this "[an] odd one indeed... It's got that Rola Cola taste with a twang of the Original Luco at the end,", but it sounds like "Allan" was more inspired by their "Drink. Think. Do" on-bottle blurb about "Glucose. Your body takes it in. Fast. And turns it into energy to fuel your body and brain", as he reports: "Limited Edition. And tastes exactly like Coke."
...In other caffeinated cupfuls: Foodstuff Finds found
Espresso Rich Coffee Beer kind of "bitter" compared to, say, Britvic's Glitter Berry J20 - the latter containing "cherry and red grape, with a hint of seasonal spice" flavours, plus "edible gold glitter" which must add a decorative touch to any subsequent vomiting or diarrhoea. Oh and Burger King UK have at last responded to McDonald's perfectly-drinkable coffee offering with their own Freshly Ground range, which seemed a bit frothy but definitely better thought-out than their Cranberry Sauce Chicken Sandwich current Christmas tie-in.
Confirmed sighting: Walkers Doritos Ultimate Cheese Burger New Late Night Flavour
Posted: 09:18 Sun 13-Nov-2011. Price: £1.99. Location: Asda, Chatham. Sub-flavours: Meat Feast Pizza. Nutritional unusualness: Contains "Ultimate Cheeseburger Flavour" (natch), suitable for vegetarians.
I think I've since seen this gherkin-tasting Rihanna-tie-in in Asda at £3 for 2x 250g bags, but even full price didn't discourage first-time spotter "Pilch" from reporting: £1.99 a pack is a bit above my usual budget for Doritos but I liked the sound of these. Only tried the Cheese Burger ones - they're pretty bang-on, although you have to eat quite a few before you start really getting the flavour of them.
...In other South-Eastern feasting: I didn't get this much cheese when I tried Byron's Grizz-Mo Welsh rarebit burger, and "Pilch" provides further tantalising glimpses of those Macaroni Cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese, Steak and Onion Pie, or Mexican Fajita Pringles, ie: "Picked these up about a month or so ago - not got round to trying them yet though, I have a pretty substantial Pringles back-log. They all said 'Tea-time Favourites' on the tube, and are exclusive to Morrisons (according to their advert, which drew my attention to these)."
Stricter vegetarians have the option of these "chicken style" Quorn Light Bites I recently saw reduced to about a pound in Asda, while the Tesco in Orpington provided the Pom Bear Teddies Pizza Flavour that "Helen" declared: "Mmmm... [a] very yummy addition to the Pom Bear range. They come in a bright yellow packet so I thought they were going to be cheese flavour but they are lovely pizza flavour. The taste is reminiscent of Walkers' pizza crisps from back in the '80s."
Confirmed sighting: Pepsi Max Citrus Freeze
Posted: 22:30 Sun 06-Nov-2011. Price: £0.99. Location: WH Smith.
It's possible this stuff might have more flavour (or point) if you consume it with the other half of its current Doritos Jalapeno Fire double act , but for now I'm inclined to agree with first-time spotter "Ernest Worthing" - who seems to be consigning it to the same fate as 2007's Pepsi Max 3.0 "Chi", 2006's Pepsi Max Cino, or 2005's Pepsi Max Lemon and Lime Twist
and Pepsi Max Punch with Cinnamon and Ginger, with the words: "A lime version of Pepsi Max, didn't taste great to me."
...At the other end of the temperature scale, "Christmas in a mug" was Foodstuff Finds' assessment of PepsiCo/ Copella's "Enjoy Hot" Winter Warmer spiced apple juice, though apparently you'll be able to do something similar with Bottle Green's Ginger and Lemongrass, Apple and Plum or Spiced Berry cordials. Or, if you're above legal drinking age, you may be able to track down Crabbie's Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer, which should hopefully taste more interesting than their 6% ABV Crabbie's Black, pictured here with a new kind of Malibu that has coconut flakes floating in it like a beautiful seasonal snowglobe that you can get drunk on when you tire of its decorative function.
Confirmed sighting: Nestle Kit Kat White
Posted: 22:12 Sun 30-Oct-2011. Price: 55p. Location: Londis, Eastcote .
"Conor Martin" reports: White KitKat is back! I enjoyed this when I was in Spain last year by the pool. I also remember it from around 2004 (as well as the lemon cheesecake variant they had) while going down to Loftus Road to see the mighty Queens Park Rangers. Thankfully I can do this again seeing the Rangers battle it out against the big guns of the Premier League!
...Cheers "Conor", I haven't been following QPR's fortunes myself so thanks for putting them in context of previous Kit Kat highlights of the decade. Slightly more topically, Gobble Monkey and Foodstuff Finds have been "trick or treating" the hordes of Halloween products that will probably all be reduced tomorrow, including these Vampire Mallows that supports my theory that some confectioners still can't bring themselves to say "blood-coloured" on their packaging.
Confirmed sighting: McDonald's Shake 'n' Taste Chicken
Posted: 18:37 Sun 23-Oct-2011. Price: £1.89. Sub-flavours: Just the Smoky BBQ Chicken so far. Nutritional unusualness: Basically, they are Chicken Selects with a 'shake to taste' Smokey BBQ Powder.
"Marc" reports: If you like chicken (by the way, Mr Snackspot, do you like chicken?), then McDonald's are selling 2 pieces of their Chicken Selects (maybe our local restaurant is quite efficient, but each piece is very big!) in a bag, with some powder to... "shake to taste". I love chicken and I love the BBQ Sauce that comes free with the Chicken Selects but it's salty (not so bad if you involve fries too!) The powder makes them messier to eat, but less salty, a different kick, a better taste I would say.
Anyway for under £2 a pop and a little mess, (wash down with a milkshake to avoid the slight saltiness), these are much improved over the saltiness of the BBQ Sauce. Tuck in to 'em soon as yer can mate, and let me know what yer thought! Condiments is another subject, an important one - even in the fast food world. Perhaps you should bring it up (although a experiment with Chippy chips and KFC gravy went terrible with me once!)
...Plenty to think about there from "Marc" - I did think these were a decent innovation, at least compared to Micky D's dismal Grilled Chicken Salad Wrap and the All in One Breakfast Wrap that's rebranded history's Hash Brown as a "Potato Rosti". My personal philosophy of "bad" vegetarianism makes me assume that it's grass-fed free-range chickens that go into these bizarre 24 Deli Chicken wrapped around Stuffing rolls seen in Sainsbury's, while I have the excellent Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! podcast to thank for alerting me to both the USA's Land, Sea, and Air Burger and Popeye's Dip'n Chick'n, "chicken extruded into a spoon-like shape for easier capture of dip".
Confirmed sighting: Tayto Today's Special Ulster Fry flavour crisps
Posted: 18:24 Sun 16-Oct-2011. Price: 20p. Location: B and M Bargains, East Kilbride.
Zeddy reports: B and M and their
bargain European acquisitions! What the heck is Ulster Fry? Well,
"A traditional Ulster Fry consists of bacon rashers, eggs, sausages (either pork or beef), vegetable roll, white pudding, black pudding or lamb's kidney, fried tomato, the farl form of soda bread (the farl is split in half crossways to expose the inner bread and then fried with the exposed side down), boxty or potato bread and wheaten farl. Other common components include mushrooms, baked beans or pancake."
Thanks Wiki - so, anyhow, these are reminiscent of Golden and Wonder's Sausage and Tomato variety. Good old-fashioned crisps with a traditional flavour from the UK's one-time crisp manufacturer. Oh, and STILL no Pringle Pickled onion flavour.
...And speaking of traditional flavours, Tyrrell's Proper Popcorn includes a Sour Cream and Jalapeno Chilli variety - you know, just like your local fleapit cinema used to sell in the "good old days". That said, the chilli isn't that prominent in the mix compared to, say, Mackie's Scotch Bonnet crisps ("Weren't as hot as Barry Norman's Hot and Spicy Pickled Onions" - Foodstuff Finds), and
Seabrook's Hot and Spicy Desi Curry ("Good crisps, and I would be totally raving about them if I didnít have the prior knowledge that the 2 Chilli ones are superior" - ibid.)
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)
Inconspicuous Consumption: An Obsessive Look at the Stuff We Take for Granted, from the Everyday to the Obscure
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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
Star Wars Cookbook II: Darth Malt and More
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