Introducing the PEOPLE Food Awards 2019!
Grocery shelves are packed with products promising great taste, easy preparation and healthy benefits—but do they really deliver? To find out, PEOPLE editors ate, drank and cooked more than 1,200 different items to find the most delicious new supermarket foods. Make room in your shopping cart this week because these winners—all featured in the July 15th issue of PEOPLE— are worth it.
WINNER: BEST PASTA
Rao’s Homemade Linguine
Slow-dried with a subtly bumpy texture, the noodles cook up perfectly al dente—firm, chewy, delicious—and absorb the ideal amount of sauce. “I added 20 bags to my wedding registry,” raved one tester.
Buy It! $3; raos.com
WINNER: BEST SOUP
Campbell’s Well Yes! Sweet Corn & Roasted Poblano
Slightly sweet and smoky, it heats up in 2 minutes in the microwave and has a sippable spout. “Stash it in your desk—it’s the best work lunch,” said a tester.
Buy It! $2 each; amazon.com
WINNER: BEST MEAL KIT
Food Network Kitchen Inspirations Korean-Style BBQ Kit
Just add steak (or chicken or tofu)—the flavorful rice, kimchi and sauce are included. “You can’t mess this up,” promised a tester.
Buy It! $4; foodnetworkkitcheninspirations.com
WINNER: BEST PASTA SAUCE
Barilla Vero Gusto Calabrian Marinara
The Italian peppers add a natural sweetness—not the sugary kind you find in some other jarred sauces—and a hint of heat.
Buy It! $6 for 20 oz.; publix.com
WINNER: BEST PLANT-BASED
RightRice Garlic Herb
The fast-cooking kernels—made with lentils, chickpeas and green peas—won’t turn mushy when cooked or reheated the next day. Plus each serving has 10g of protein.
Buy It! $4 for 7 oz.; amazon.com
WINNER: BEST CANNED BEANS
S&W Indian Style Savory Sides
“I could’ve eaten this out of the can by itself!” a staffer gushed about these flavorful garbanzo beans stewed with peppers, onions and curry.
Buy It! $1.59; fredmeyer.com
WINNER: BEST WRAP
Angelic Bakehouse Garden Wraps: Turmeric Sweet Potato
Made with sprouted whole grains and packed with protein and fiber, they’ll add great flavor to lunch or weeknight enchiladas.
Buy It! $4.49 for 6; angelicbakehouse.com
WINNER: BEST RICE KIT
Rice, seasoning and seafood—it’s all in the box! Testers raved about the easy-to-follow directions (it’s ready in three steps!) and flavorful results. “It brought me back to my days in Barcelona,” said one staffer.
Buy It! $7; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST COOKIES
Fudge Covered Oreo
Cloaked in a layer of chocolate, the sandwich cookies are “sweet but not too sweet,” said a staffer. “The fudge shell also helps keep the wafers crispy when you dunk them in milk.”
Buy It! $3.29 for 12; target.com
WINNER: BEST CANDY BAR
M&M’s Crispy Milk Chocolate Bar
It’s like two treats in one: Each chunky square of this bar is generously studded with colorful, crispy candies.
Buy It! $1.68; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST CAKE MIX
Trader Joe’s Mochi Cake Mix
A cross between traditional cake and Japanese mochi (a sweet, rice-based dough), the results are delightfully custardy and bouncy with chewy, browned edges.
Buy It! $4; traderjoes.com
WINNER: BEST GUMMY CANDY
Black Forest Gummy Bears
“I didn’t know gummy bears could taste so good!” a tester said of these soft, chewy candies made with real fruit juice and plant-based colors.
Buy It! $3.49 for 8 oz.; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST POTATO CHIPS
Cape Cod Waves Sea Salt
Salty, crunchy and sturdy enough for dipping, this is the classic chip at its best. “I could polish off a bag in one sitting,” said one staffer.
Buy It! $3.79 for 7.5 oz.; target.com
WINNER: BEST POPCORN
SkinnyPop Sweet & Salty Kettle Popcorn
Every fluffy kernel is lightly sweet, slightly salty and super-crunchy. Gobble them up by the handful—it clocks in at only 140 calories for a 2½ cup serving.
Buy It! $4.29 for 5.3 oz.; shop.skinnypop.com
WINNER: BEST TORTILLA CHIPS
Doritos Flamin’ Hot Nacho
They start with a subtle nacho flavor but follow with a heat that continues to build. They had testers reaching for water and coming back to crunch some more.
Buy It! $4.29 for 9.75 oz.; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST CRACKERS
Stacy’s Cheese Petites: Romano with Garlic & Pepper
Baked with real cheese, these bite-size crackers are perfectly salty, crispy and poppable.
Buy It! $5 for 4 oz.; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST SNACK BAR
KIND Dark Chocolate Almond & Coconut
Both crunchy and chewy, each bar is full of roasted almonds and chunky coconut chips and drizzled with dark chocolate.
Buy It! $15 for 12 bars; kindsnacks.com
WINNER: BEST NUTS
Whole Foods Market Kettle-Cooked Cacao Nib Cashews
“They taste like candy!” a tester raved about these plump, candied nuts studded with bitter, chocolatey nibs.
Buy It! $6 for 8 oz.; wholefoodsmarket.com
WINNER: BEST HOT DOG
Nathan’s Famous Jalapeño & Cheddar Beef Franks
Stuffed with cheese and chiles, the sausages impressed staffers who liked the “meaty flavor that wasn’t too salty or spicy.”
Buy It! $5 for 5; heb.com
WINNER: BEST BACON
Pure Farmland Applewood Smoked Bacon
Thick and marbled, the strips crisped up perfectly in the pan: “I see a lot of BLTs in my future,” said a taster.
Buy It! $5 for 10 oz.; target.com, Walmart stores
WINNER: BEST TURKEY BURGER
Applegate Organics “The Great Organic Blend Burger”: Turkey
No dry burgers here! Organic mushrooms are mixed into the patties, helping the turkey meat stay juicy and flavorful.
Buy It! $10 for 4; applegate.com
WINNER: BEST FROZEN CHICKEN
Perdue SimplySmart Organics: Lightly Breaded Chicken Breast Strips
Fully cooked and frozen, the lightly breaded strips take minutes to heat up—and come out plump, crispy and juicy.
Buy It! $10 for 24 oz.; target.com
WINNER: BEST TUNA
Chicken of the Sea Infusions: Basil
Whether served over salad or eaten on its own (there’s a fork in the lid!), this wild-caught tuna with olive oil and sweet basil was a lunchtime favorite.
Buy It! $2.29 for 2.8 oz; amazon.com
WINNER: BEST JERKY
Krave Cracked Peppercorn Gourmet Beef Cuts
Tasters gave high marks for “the perfect jerky texture” (not stringy or chewy like others we tried) and bold pepper flavor.
Buy It! $6 for 2.7 oz.; cvs.com
WINNER: BEST FROZEN MEAL
Amy’s Mac & Cheese Meatless Pepperoni Bowl
The creamy, cheddar-smothered pasta cooks up remarkably firm and chewy—even in the microwave.
Buy It! $4.49; target.com
WINNER: BEST PIZZA CRUST
Green Giant Cauliflower Pizza Crust: Tuscan
While other veggie crusts got soggy and fell apart, the “wheaty” texture (it’s packed with 80 percent cauliflower), Italian spices and cornmeal-crusted base had tasters raving.
Buy It! $5; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST BISCUIT
Pillsbury Grands! Sweet Hawaiian Biscuits
They bake up fluffy, flaky and buttery with just the right amount of pineapple sweetness. “Hello, biscuit of my dreams!” said a tester.
Buy It! $2; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST SALAD DRESSING
Newman’s Own White Balsamic Vinaigrette
Staffers raved about its versatility—as a dressing and a marinade—and light, sweet-sour flavor. “It tastes homemade,” one said. Bonus: All of the profits from its sale go to charity.
Buy It! $4 for 16 oz.; newmansown.com
WINNER: BEST SANDWICH SPREAD
Hellmann’s Classic Burger Sauce
It’s a condiment supergroup: Imagine the best of ketchup, mayo, mustard and relish coming together in one special sauce.
Buy It! $3.49 for 11 oz.; hellmanns.com
WINNER: BEST RANCH
Twisted Ranch Black Peppered Parmesan
Get all the satisfaction of tangy ranch dressing with a cheesy, spicy kick. “Eat it with pizza—trust me on this,” urged a taster.
Buy It! $3.29 for 13 oz.; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST SALSA
Pace Pineapple Serrano Chunky Texas Salsa
The hearty tomato salsa starts out sweet (that’s the pineapple) and builds to a medium-level heat (that’s the serrano chile).
Buy It! $2.47 for 15 oz.; heb.com
WINNER: BEST NUT BUTTER
Justin’s Maple Cashew Butter
Salty, sweet, creamy, crunchy . . . check, check, check and check! This maple sugar-infused spread is the ultimate craving buster.
Buy It! $13 for 12 oz.; shop.justins.com
WINNER: BEST CEREAL
It’s the classic Cheerios flavor but with a pop of sweet berries (the O’s get that purple tint from a blueberry puree). “I now carry a bag of these in my purse—they’re my favorite on-the-go snack,” said a staffer.
Buy It! $4.79 for 19.5 oz.; target.com
WINNER: BEST BREAD
Trader Joe’s Pancake Bread
Designed to taste like a stack of buttermilk pancakes, the maple-syrup-infused loaf is so buttery and tender it melts in the mouth. “I had to hide it in the garage because my husband and I couldn’t stop eating it!” said one tester.
Buy It! $4; traderjoes.com
WINNER: BEST BAGEL
Silver Hills Bakery Organic Sprouted Power Bagels: Cinnamon Raisin
Chewy yet tender with a sweet, slightly malty flavor, they led one tester to declare these “the best grocery-store bagels I’ve ever had.”
Buy It! $6 for 5; silverhillsbakery.ca
WINNER: BEST FROZEN WAFFLES
Eggo Thick & Fluffy Belgian Style Waffles: Double Chocolatey
They’re the ultimate morning treat: Our testers said these chocolate-chip-stuffed waffles were “perfectly moist and fluffy” right out of the toaster.
Buy It! $3 for 6; walmart.com
WINNER: BEST OATMEAL
ThinkThin Protein & Probiotics Hot Oatmeal: Cinnamon Almond
Described as “yummy, healthy and convenient,” by one tester, the single-serve, protein-packed cups cook up thick and quick in the microwave.
Buy It! $2.29 each; amazon.com
WINNER: BEST GREEK YOGURT
Chobani Savor Greek Yogurt: Whole Milk Plain
“Why didn’t someone think of this before?!” asked a staffer, who loved the squeezable, resealable package and tangy-tart flavor.
Buy It! $3 for 14 oz.; chobani.com
WINNER: BEST SLICED CHEESE
Kerrygold Savory Cheddar Slices
A tasty middle ground between sharp and mild cheddar, the buttery, easy-melting cheese is “just begging to be slapped on a grilled cheese.”
Buy It! $3.89 for 12 slices; kerrygoldusa.com
WINNER: BEST SHREDDED CHEESE
Sargento Reserve Series: Aged Gouda
Whether served on salad, in tacos or on their own, these buttery shreds got high marks for taste and “easy gooey melting.”
Buy It! $3 for 6 oz.; sargento.com
WINNER: BEST FLAVORED YOGURT
Noosa Mates Lemon Tart
Lusciously tart and topped with shortbread crumbles and toasted almonds, the combo was dubbed “better than pie”—and many came back for seconds.
Buy It! $2.49 each; meijer.com
WINNER: BEST CREAMER
Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Toasted Coconut Creamer
Rich and thick with a sweet coconut aroma, it had a staffer describing it best: “You can transform a crappy cup of coffee with one pour.”
Buy It! $2.79 for 16 oz.; target.com
WINNER: BEST GHEE
4th & Heart Turmeric Ghee
Testers praised the clarified butter for its “crazy-good” turmeric flavor, high smoke point and lactose-free properties. Said one: “I can imagine using it in so many different dishes.”
Buy It! $12.49 for 9 oz.; amazon.com