Friday, September 24, 2010

The basket

While waiting for coffee at Starbucks with my son, we entertained ourselves by checking out the basket of "goodies" in front of the espresso counter. It's nice to see baskets (kid height) filled with healthy looking snacks. Gavin and I had fun identifying each snack. It was a great opportunity to get "ooohs and ahhhs" about dried fruit and raw granola snacks from the kiddo.

Of course I was instantly inspired to research the offerings. I jotted down the items and here's what I came up with:

Two Moms in the Raw: These granola mixes are made with no added oils or added sugar. The story behind this product is one of a mom that was inspired to create satisfying on-the-go snacks that fit into her raw food lifestyle. So she experimented and came up with a line of granolas and crackers. Blueberry Granola ingredients: Millet, buckwheat, coconut, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pecans, almonds, pepitas, apples, agave, cinnamon, sea salt and blueberries.

Annie’s Snacks: These are alternatives to traditional snacks like Chex Mix or Cheez-It crackers. They are decent and better than mentioned brands for sure. Check out the ingredient lists for two similar snacks. The second one leaves me speechless. Even if you cut out the redundancy of the ingredients for the Cheez-It mix, the list still contains way too many things.

Annie's (cheddar snack mix): Organic wheat flour, organic expeller pressed vegetable oil (sunflower, canola and/or safflower), salt, Organic Valley ® Organic Cheddar Cheese (organic pasteurized milk, cheese culture, salt, non-animal enzymes), organic evaporated cane juice, organic barley malt, organic butter, yeast extract, organic whey, yeast, annatto and paprika extract for natural color, natural flavor, baking soda, organic paprika, organic onion, organic garlic, citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, organic celery seed.  

Sunshine (Cheez-It snack mix): CHEESE CRACKERS (Enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], soybean and palm oil with TBHQ for freshness, skim milk cheese [skim milk, whey protein, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes, annatto extract for color], white cheddar cheese [milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes], salt, whey, maltodextrin, leavening [baking soda, yeast], monosodium glutamate, whey protein concentrate, butter [cream, salt], natural and artificial flavor, paprika, paprika oleoresin, turmeric for color, lactic acid, calcium lactate, disodium phosphate, citric acid, soy lecithin), PRETZEL STICKS (Enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], salt, vegetable oil [corn, canola, and/or soybean oil], corn syrup, yeast, baking soda), CHEESE CURLS (degerminated yellow corn meal, vegetable oil [corn, canola, and/or soybean oil], whey, salt, maltodextrin, cheddar cheese [pasteurized milk, cheese culture culture, salt, enzymes], monosodium glutamate, torula yeast, disodium phosphate, sour cream [cream, nonfat milk, cultures], autolyzed yeast extract, yellow #6, sunflower oil, natural and artificial flavors, yellow #5, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, butter, oil), BREAD SLICES (Enriched flour [wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), folic acid], vegetable oil [corn, canola, and/or soybean oil], salt, whey, nonfat milk, corn syrup, yeast, citric acid), soybean oil with TBHQ for freshness, contains two percent less of cheddar cheese (pasteurized milk, cheese culture culture, salt, enzymes), salt, whey, butter (cream, salt), buttermilk powder, onion, monosodium glutamate, maltodextrin, nonfat dry milk, disodium phosphate, garlic, citric acid, natural and artificial flavors, sunflower oil, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, yeast, soy lecithin, yellow #5, yellow #6.

What's TBHQ? What's torula yeast? And...? You get my point. Moving on.

FoodShouldTasteGood: As far as chips go, these are a decent choice. Sweet Potato chips ingredients: Stone ground corn, high oleic sunflower oil and/or safflower oil, sweet potato, corn bran, evaporated cane juice, sea salt.

Pete Lescoe, Founder of Food Should Taste Good, Inc. makes this statement on the company web site: "I love food.  I’ve been working in restaurants and grocery stores my whole life, and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that food tastes best when it’s made with real ingredients.  That’s why I started my own company, dedicated to making wholesome, healthy snacks.  As for the name, Food Should Taste Good, it kind of wrote itself."

KIND Bars: You can pretty much see everything these are made of just by looking at the bar. I like that and after reading about the company behind the bar, I like them even more! Read about them here. Fruit & Nut Delight ingredients: Mixed nuts, dried nuts, honey, chicory fiber, Non GMO Glucose, puffed rice, flax seeds, soy lecithin.

Lucy’s Cookies: Lucy's cookies are gluten free and made without milk, eggs, peanuts or tree nuts. Dr. Lucy is a mom to a child with food allergies; Her inspiration for developing an alternative cookie. Oatmeal cookie ingredients: Dr. Lucy’s Flour Blend (gluten-free oat, garbanzo, potato starch, tapioca, sorghum and fava flours), evaporated cane juice*, gluten-free rolled oats, soy milk*, brown sugar*, soybean oil*, palm fruit oil*, canola oil*, olive oil*, filtered water, flavoring and citric acid from corn, crushed soy beans*, soy lecithin*, non-dairy lactic acid, beta carotene, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract*, salt, xanthan gum, calcium carbonate, annatto extract color, sodium carboxymethylcellulose, methylcellulose. *Indicates organic.

Peeled Snacks: Dried fruit, can't really go wrong with that. Apple-2-the-core ingredients: Organic apples. Nothing added. (They also have fruit & nut mixes but we only saw the dried fruit varieties.)

Peter Rabbit Organics: Made from pure, organic fruit in convenient BPA-free pouches with no added sugar or preservatives. Apple and Grape ingredients: Organic apple 86%, organic grape juice concentrate 13.9%, organic lemon juice concentrate.

Sahale Snacks: Snacks made with whole ingredients. Cashews with pomegranate & vanilla ingredients: Cashews, organic evaporated cane juice, dried apples (unsulfured apples, sugar, natural pomegranate flavor, citric acid, fruit & vegetable juice (for color)), organic tapioca syrup, brown sugar, natural vanilla extract, sea salt, dried pomegranate, pomegranate juice concentrate, dried peel, pure ground vanilla beans.

Stretch Island Fruit Company: These are my favorite fruit leathers. Each is equal to half a serving of fruit. Abundant Apricot ingredients: Apple puree concentrate, apricot puree concentrate, pear puree concentrate, lemon juice concentrate. 

And for fun here's the ingredients of a Strawberry Fruit Roll-up: Pears from concentrate, corn syrup, dried corn syrup, sugar, partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, citric acid, sodium citrate, acetylated mono and diglycerides, pectin, malic acid, vitamin C (ascorbic acid), natural flavor, color (yellow 5&6, red 40, blue 1).


I'd say Starbucks is truly taking the time to pick quality items from good companies with similar philosophies. Some of these snacks are exclusive to Starbucks (sizes and flavors). I do my best not to buy individually packaged snacks but every once in a while the need arises and I can feel good about letting the family enjoy these. Snacks from the basket are all reasonably priced, starting at .75¢.

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