The FoodChain team sample a selection of new and innovative foods and drink

Authentically Italian
Cirio has been the master of authentic Italian tomatoes for over 160 years. In 1856 Francesco Cirio was the first to preserve Italian tomatoes and vegetables. Since then, Cirio has been an essential ingredient in every Italian household, and its extensive range of tomato products is now a familiar sight in UK kitchens too.

The Cirio range covers tomatoes in a huge range of formats, from Cirio Pelati, naturally sweet whole plum tomatoes to La Classica Passata, which made from ripe, pure, Italian round tomatoes, peeled and passed through a fine sieve to obtain a velvety and perfectly smooth passata with a special sweet taste.

So many tomatoes to choose from! Every item we sampled from the Cirio range was top-notch, and many testers were already fans of the brand and were excited to try different items from the standard chopped tomatoes.

“I used the Cirio Datterini Baby Plum Tomatoes to make a Neapolitan sauce, and I loved the whole baby plum toms, which were definitely sweet tasting. They were very juicy and even after heating some still kept whole and with my pasta dish, they created a lovely burst of tomato when I spooned in a whole one!”

The Cirio SUPERRCIRIO Doppio Concentrato Coupelle was hailed as a top product: “The perfect amount of tomato puree, with no silly tube to squeeze! Nice and fresh tasting, it was a light puree, but had an excellent tomatoey flavour. I also loved the Cirio La Napoletana Flavoured Passata, which made it so easy to create a perfect pasta dish.”

Lemonade drinkers
R.White’s has been refreshing taste buds for 172 years with no real secret, just great-tasting lemonades. 2018 saw the launch of the company’s delicious premium flavours – Traditional Cloudy Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade and Pear & Elderflower Lemonade. All flavours are made with real lemons and delicious juices, and are available in 330ml can format, 1.25L bottle as well as premium 330ml glass bottles.

The arrival of the R.White’s premium flavours unleashed a wave of nostalgia for the ‘secret lemonade drinker’ advertising campaign (no doubt proving the longevity of a catchy jingle!) But these products are definitely a step away from a basic clear lemonade, raising the soft drinks game and with Christmas approaching, offering a tasty alternative for those avoiding alcohol.

The raspberry lemonade variety was hailed as ‘refreshing and the light’ with the combination of both fruits ‘delicious’. The Pear and Elderflower Lemonade was regarded as the most sophisticated of the three varieties, and was best served on the rocks. “The addition of pear is really interesting, it gives a softer aspect to the traditional sour edge of a lemonade, with the elderflower adding a perfumed sweetness.”

Moon of my life
Little Moons is a family-run gourmet dessert brand with its roots in Asian cuisine. The range is handmade in the UK, made by wrapping bite-sized balls of artisan gelato ice cream in a layer of soft, chewy mochi. There are six core flavours to choose from including Alphonso Mango, Uji Matcha, Sumatran Coconut, Madagascan Vanilla, Summer Raspberry and Toasted Sesame.

From 64 calories per ball, Little Moons mochi are gluten free, free from artificial flavourings, colours and preservatives and they are suitable for vegetarians. Their bite-sized shape makes them perfect for those looking for moderation, as an ideally portioned indulgent treat. Furthermore, Little Moons works hard on each flavour, using only the highest quality British milk and cream and fruit from around the world.

These were hailed as ‘little balls of delight!’ “Just from seeing the packaging I knew this was going to be a divine treat and I was right. I tried the Summer Raspberry, and the mochi around the ball kept its unique soft texture, then when I bit into the ball, I had a burst of sweet summer raspberry fruity ice cream. The raspberries tasted extremely fresh and almost straight from the garden!”

“I found the combination of a velvety outer and a creamy centre was really interesting, and I am not surprised the range has won five Great Taste Awards. Every flavour was great, but the coconut was my favourite – it was full of flavour and the coconut on the outside added some texture… I loved them!”

Weigh it up
For both the diet conscious and the gadget nut, the NutriTab kitchen scale from Terrallion offers a way to obtain a clear and precise monitoring of their daily energy intake. This nutritional kitchen scale connects to a smartphone by using the Wellness Coach mobile app and users can then calculate the nutritional value of every food item weighed (calories, carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, fibres and sodium). It also features a ‘Scan’ function which reads the nutritional information of ready-made meals which especially handy for those on diet (athletes, diabetics, or anyone simply trying to lead a healthier lifestyle).

The sleek NutriTab scales are an impressive bit of kit. Once the App is downloaded the scales pair automatically and then the weighing and measuring of food is very straightforward. For anyone dedicated to watching what they eat, this offers a high level of precision, and working in tandem with the app, the scales help to set and achieve goals.

Get your protein
For those looking for an easy way to up their protein intake, Jordan’s has created two delicious new recipes in its Country Crisp range that have added pea and wheat protein, combined with Jordan’s creamy British oats.

Available in two combinations, Nut Crunch and Berry Burst, more than 12 per cent of the energy in every 45g serving is provided from a source of protein. Protein contributes to growth in muscle mass and maintenance of normal bones when consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

The Nut Crunch combines crisp wholegrain clusters with sliced and whole almonds, chopped roasted hazelnuts and cashew nuts; while The Berry Burst recipe mixes crisp wholegrain cereal with dried tangy cranberries, blueberries and blackcurrants.

Our tester loved the Jordan’s Nut Crunch, which she described as ‘a great way to start the day,’. “This was a nice alternative to my usual porridge. The clusters are crunchy even when soaked in milk, and the almonds, cashews and hazelnuts give it extra bite. I loved the idea that there was pea and wheat protein added in, as it was a very tasty way to up my protein intake!” The Berry Burst was reported as ‘nice and fruity’ and also retained its crunch factor in milk, which was well regarded.

Get smart
The new Smart range from PhD Nutrition is addressing the nutritional needs of both men and women with its great tasting, high protein snacks and drinks in convenient formats, which have the added benefit of being low in carbs and calories.

The Smart range includes smart protein bars, powder, flapjacks, shakes and nut butters, with all products boasting both fantastic flavour and textures.

Jason Rickaby, one of the company’s founders, noted that customers ‘appreciate the Smart range as it suits people whose goal includes active weight loss as well as those who exercise regularly to get leaner or build muscle.’

The team loved the Smart Protein Shakes and the Smart Protein Powder, and were especially impressed with the range of flavours. The Salted Caramel protein powder was a particular favourite: “I had this after a gym session in the morning. I mixed it with water and the resulting shake was nice and creamy, without any grainy bits or lumps. The Salted Caramel flavour was sweet but not overpowering, and felt like a treat – a nice reward post-gym!”