Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spartan Brand "Take The Challenge" Peaches

I love a good challenge -- especially when I get a good deal.

You may not have Spartan brand products in your area.  They occasionally run a challenge where you buy the brand-name item and then receive a similar Spartan brand product free.  Their hope is that you will enjoy the Spartan brand product enough to make the switch on future purchases.

Usually the challenge focuses on junk stuff that I wouldn't purchase regardless of brand, but this week included sliced peaches in a plastic container -- specifically Dole vs. Spartan.  Here are my findings:

The Dole brand ($2.99 -- less the $.75 coupon I had):

Pros:  Packed in 100% fruit juice (White grape and lemon juice from concentrate -- not peach juice as one might think), the peaches themselves were perfect in texture and burst with fruit juice when chewed, packages in recyclable #5 plastic (I prefer glass).
Cons:  Product on China (not that I don't like China, but it defeats the eating local movement and adds to carbon emissions having to send food around the world for a product that is readily available in the United States.

The Spartan brand ($2.79 -- I received it for free):

Pros: Product of the USA (though it doesn't say from where specifically or how they were grown).

Cons:  The peaches are packed in sugar water instead of fruit juice (should make you think twice when you see your kids drinking the "juice" that remains in their bowl); the plastic jar has no recycling information on it, adding to a permanent landfill near your hometown; the peaches are very firm (almost crunchy" and don't have that burst of extra fruit flavor when eaten.


For $.20 I will choose the Dole brand.  My son did drink the liquid in the bottom of his bowl without prompting (what kid wouldn't) and he did so with the sugar water from the Spartan brand.  That alone made me think that I wouldn't choose the Spartan brand again.  The last thing any of us needs is more refined sugar.  And, perhaps even bigger, I just cannot believe that Spartan would sell a product in a container that cannot be recycled.  The taste was close, but I preferred the texture and "burst" of the Dole fruit.  Winner:  Dole.

Try for yourself this week at a Family Fare near you and let me know what you think.

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