The Salt Lake company Staff of Life is introducing two new products, "Minute Jel," a gelatin-like treat that is not made from animal products and "Minute Whip," a non-dairy topping. The 9-ounce jar of "Jel" serves 12 and does not need refrigeration to setup. The topping mix comes in a 7-ounce jar and makes 64 2-teaspoon servings. Both are on sale at Macey's for $2.59 or 2 for $5.

Don Russell (married, five children at home, ages 6-16): "Minute Jel is a fun concept with a local spin, but we weren't ecstatic about the results. The gelatin is very sweet and the thick texture just isn't that smooth or appetizing. One of our kids said Minute Jel needed to be a little more tart. The instant non-dairy whip isn't too bad. It's quite handy to keep around the kitchen and has a very palatable taste."Linda Tingey (single mother, two teenage boys at home): "Bizarre! It's almost fun just to watch this set up! It does exactly like the label says; it's ready in five minutes. The flavor is not too bad; not quite the flavor of the well-known brand, though. But what an ingenious idea for camping! When you're off in the wilds with no refrigerator, just add water and shake. And the topping is a fantastic substitute for whipped cream. I almost prefer it to real whipping cream. I'm familiar with this type of cream substitute from the school lunch program. I'll buy the cream to have on hand for when you're in a hurry. The gelatin, I'll plan on for camping."

Edyth Jensen (married, three children at home): "We tried the strawberry gelatin. It works up real fast and we enjoyed the mild strawberry flavor. As far as the topping goes, it also makes up real quick but I'm not impressed. It left a bit of a greasy taste in my mouth. If I was in a bind for time, I'd use the gelatin again. I'd also use the topping if I was in a hurry, but I doubt we'd use either very often."

Nihla Lake (married, two children at home): "What a fun way to take your vitamins! The orange-flavored gelatin-type snack was fairly tasty, especially with an extra large dollop of the non-dairy whipped topping, which was as good as any we've tasted. This combo has a lot of fun possibilities. We plan to keep some on hand for camping, travel, quick snacks, etc."

Rich Firmage (married, three children, oldest 10-years-old): "We mixed the jel just as the directions said to and it didn't dissolve all the way. It was still gritty. The flavor was ok, but the texture wasn't. The cream was much too sweet for my taste. My oldest son who loves Jell-O and cream ate both and thought they were great.

"My big concern was the list of ingredients in both the jel and the cream. There were tons of strange-sounding items that I'm not sure I want in my body, to be honest. I have no idea what most of the things were but they didn't sound like they belonged in food. I really like things a bit more natural. By the way, what are adpic acid, dicalcium phosphate or pyrodoxine hydrochloride, anyway?"

Conclusion: Hmmm. Let's call Minute Jel "The Not-Ready-For-Dinnertime-Gelatin" but "Dandy for Camping." (A note to Staff of Life: maybe explaining what adpic acid is would calm a few possible consumers. After all, even Vitamin C's real moniker is ascorbic acid.) Minute Whip got pretty good reviews, get some this minute!