Perfect pasta
Perfect PastaGarofalo is an Italian pasta company that supplies pasta ranges to the Italian and overseas markets, including the UK. The company prides itself on creating only high quality products, and every aspect of production process is carefully controlled so that the final result is what they consider the absolute best. The range includes five signature pasta options: Traditional Pasta, Organic Traditional Pasta, Organic Whole Wheat Pasta, Gluten Free Pasta and La Giostra dei Bambini for children.

“The quality of this is evident just from the packaging,” said the tester for these products. “I love that it’s clear so I can see the pasta isn’t broken, and the black text is very classy.”

“The quality from the outside is definitely echoed inside – when cooked the pasta retained its shape, and had high quality taste and texture. I also was very impressed with the gluten free option – it was delicious and means a gluten intolerant member of the family is now much keener for me to make carbonara!”

Say cheese!
Say cheeseA modern twist on the classic salmon and cream cheese combination, the new Primula Cheese and Smoked Salmon flavour option offers a rich and creamy snack. Launched in November 2015 in time for Christmas, the flavour is in fact going to remain on shelves for several more months, enabling consumers to enjoy it long after the festive season.

The new Primula tube is the sixth flavour in Primula’s collection alongside Original Cheese, Cheese with Chives, Cheese with Ham, Cheese with Prawn and Light Cheese. Primula Cheese is made with real cheese and real chopped salmon, chives, ham or prawn to give cheese lovers their daily hit.

“The FoodChain Tasters tried the new smoked salmon variety alongside all the others in the range and the total enjoyment they experienced from those squeezy tubes is hard to describe. Several lunch times were brightened while colleagues gathered together brandishing more crackers! “Primula is such a nostalgic food for me as we always used to have a tube in the fridge when I was little,” said one reviewer. “I absolutely loved every flavour we tried, but I have to say the ham one is still my go to choice – I was sad when that tube was empty!”

The time is POW
The time is powUsing natural ingredients, the POW energy drink combines the rehydrating qualities of water with the functionality of energy in a low sugar, low calorie sparkling fruit flavoured energy water.

Alongside sparkling water, natural fruit flavours, natural plant extracts and energy from guarana, ginseng root and vitamin B, POW also contains mineral salts to aid rehydration. It’s the first sparkling energy water to offer the benefits of an energy drink in a low-sugar, low-calorie drink, which makes it an ideal pick-me-up during the day whilst hydrating you and tasting great.

Unlike traditional energy drink allowing consumers to actually see what they’re buying. It is currently available in three fruit flavours:

  • Citrus & Zest –flavoured with natural grapefruit and lemon
  • Coconut & Lime – flavoured with natural coconut and kaffir lime
  • Cranberry & Apple – flavoured with natural cranberries and apples

“I was expecting this to taste like fizzy squash, but in fact I found it much more sophisticated than that,” said our reviewer. “The fruit flavours were subtle, more in the background and while I drank it at my desk and so hardly was using much energy, I did like the idea of a water that included plant extracts and mineral salts. I find plain water so utterly boring, so I felt I was being healthy as well as being hydrated – bonus!”

Quicker quinoa
Quicker quinoaFor those wanting to eat more healthily but also want a quick and convenient option, Quinola’s ready-to-eat Express Quinoa offers an easy way to eat Peru’s organic, Fairtrade quinoa. Packed full of nutrients and gluten-free, each 250g pouch is ready to eat cold, as part of a salad, or hot as an alternative to rice or pasta. To heat, simply pop in the microwave for two minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Express Quinoa has a no-junk promise, containing only three ingredients: Fairtrade organic quinoa, sunflower oil and sea salt from the marshes of Guérande, France. Organically and sustainably grown by a farming co-operative near Lake Titicaca, Express Quinoa is not only delicious and easy but contains protein, iron, fibre, magnesium and all essential amino acids.

The flavours available are Pearl and Black Quinoa, Pearl and Red Quinoa, Quinoa and split pea and Spicy Mexican Quinoa – in April 2015 the Express Split Pea scooped the ‘Store Cupboard’ Award at the prestigious Free From Awards and a highly commended for the Spicy Mexican flavour.

“I have to admit to having a fear of preparing quinoa, I’ve heard all sorts of stories from friends and so I’ve shied away from it,” said our tester. “But I do try to eat healthily and so many recipes are out there now for quinoa so to find this product where all the hard work done for me is a real bonus. I loved the Spicy Mexican one and I am much more inspired now to find ways to use quinoa where I wouldn’t have bothered before!”

Groovy pops
Groovy popsFor those soft drink fans who are looking for their own craft variants of traditional favourites, Karma Cola has launched products that are not only Fairtrade and organic but also taste amazing.

The Karma Cola is a craft cola made with real cola nut, and its authentic cola flavour is completely natural. The real cola nut gives the drink its delicious dark cola colour and flavour, which is balanced perfectly with some organic malt, natural spices and vanilla. Real ingredients eliminate the need for the artificial ones – there’s no burnt sugar or caramel colouring, no preservatives or phosphoric acid.

Adding to the range, Lemony Lemon is perfectly tangy and Gingerella ginger beer adds a bit of grown up glamour to a soft drink repertoire.

Not only do these pops pack a punch but they do good for the world too. TasteTestNamed ‘The World’s Fairest Trader’ in 2014 by Fairtrade International, Karma Cola not only tastes good, it’s doing good, making a big difference for a small village in Sierra Leone, rebuilding itself in the aftermath of war and benefitting the farmers of the sacred cola nut directly.

“Before I even taste these, I just adored the packaging!” said one tester. “The illustrations are the perfect mix of funky and fun and really elevated these from just ordinary soft drinks.”

While all flavours went down well, it was the sharp and tangy Lemony Lemon that came out as the Team’s favourite. “I do like a lemonade that tastes (and looks like) it’s from a proper, fresh lemon,” was one comment. “I could sit and enjoy this chilled anytime, but particularly at a nice picnic, or summer BBQ – I think it would also mix well with some alcohol!”

A more exciting breakfast
more exciting breakfastBuilding on its popular range of premium mueslis, Dorset Cereals is trying to rejuvenate the muesli category with the launch of two new delicious Bircher mueslis.

Bircher muesli is a breakfast dish that originates in Switzerland and is traditionally made by soaking raw oats and grated apple overnight in juice and yoghurt, creating a cool & creamy kind of muesli.

Dorset Cereals Marketing Manager Virginie Lenfant says: “Bircher muesli is growing fast in popularity in both the chilled and ambient grocery market as well as out of home, and is also widely featured in recipes across consumer press. As leaders of premium muesli, we are perfectly placed to offer a way for consumers to create their own Bircher muesli at home, in as little as 30 minutes or overnight if preferred.”

Dorset Cereals Bircher Muesli Mix is made from a blend of fine cut oats and barley which is designed to be soaked in yoghurt and fruit juice and is ready to eat in just 30 minutes. The new range is available in two flavour combinations – Raspberry & Blackcurrant and Almonds & Honey, both containing sliced apple – a traditional element of Bircher recipes.

Our tester found the Bircher option a refreshing change, as mixing the muesli with apple juice and yogurt created not just a different taste but also a new texture to experience at breakfast time.

“It was intensely apple-y as well, thanks to the muesli itself and the addition of apple juice – overall I found it to be very tasty and also easier to digest, as the soaking of the muesli meant it wasn’t dry when I ate it.”