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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

Taste Kitchen

Raising the bar for frozen fruit treats

A good quality frozen fruit bar is a refreshing and low-fat snack and the world has discovered this. On a steamy summer afternoon, nine tasters were delighted to sample seven brands of frozen strawberry fruit bars, ranging in hue from light pink to deep red (due in part to some help from beet juice concentrate). All of the bars contain strawberries, water, sugar, stabilizers (guar gum, carrageenan) and citric acid, in varying amounts. Some have more than one type of sugar. Strawberries have a vitamin C content that rivals that of citrus fruit, and all but one of our bars have a recommended dietary allowance between 20 to 35 percent of vitamin C in a serving. Sunkist Strawberry Frozen Strawberry Fruit Sorbet Bars come in inexplicably low at 6 percent. Whole Foods Market 365 Strawberry Fruit Bars and Trader Joe’s Strawberry Fruit Floes are the only ones to list strawberries as the first ingredient.

The 365 brand was the winner, the favorite for five tasters and second favorite for two. “Fresh fruit taste and little strawberry seeds visible,” said one taster. “The only real contender,” said another. As it happens, Trader Joe’s Strawberry Fruit Floes contain exactly the same ingredients as the 365 brand, listed in the same order at the same weight, and sell at the same $1.99 price for the same number of bars. It wasn’t a surprise that tasters offered similar comments to describe both bars. (We called Trader Joe’s and they do not give out information on their vendors.) Edy’s Outshine (“unappealing and tasteless”) and Fruttare (“Pale color and unknown aftertaste”) tied for least favorite.

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