Before my October issues of Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times magazines arrived, I was looking forward to each publication’s taste test awards. Partly to see if I was buying the best in the grocery aisle and partly to get the inside scoop on how the decisions were made.
Both magazines handled their contests differently, and though neither is wrong, I preferred some aspects of Cooking Light’s to Vegetarian Times’ and vice versa. Here’s how the two stack up.
Right to Vote: Cooking Light magazine‘s contest vaguely referred to its group of “tasters” who helped judge the best brands in categories like hummus, whole wheat bread, tortilla chips and light microwave popcorn. Vegetarian Times put its ballot together internally, then turned it over to its readers to weigh in on the best cereals, frozen entrees, vinegars, and gluten-free cookies and cakes.
Ulterior Methods: Though Vegetarian Times magazine gave its readers a voice, the magazine said little about its selection process. The products tested by Cooking Light had to meet qualifications like being available in major markets. Others were eliminated for being high in salts or artificial sugars.
Scattergories: My preference on how the two presented their categories is somewhat divided, though in the end, Cooking Light may be better. Its categories were very narrow, like Light Sour Cream, Mild Tomato Salsa and Long-Grain Brown Rice. By comparison, Vegetarian Times’ divisions were broader, like Quick Sauces, Frozen Desserts and Organic Plain Yogurts.
No Comparison: Cooking Light also provided additional coverage (which Vegetarian Times didn’t have) that clearly gives it the edge here. Throughout its recommendations, the magazine’s food editors shared tips on the uses of various products and what they looked for in taste. Its added bonus are awards for artisanal categories like cheeses, spirits and beer, meats, condiments and sweets, which were recognized by region rather than overall.