Just add nothing
Campbell’s already had blanketed the market for “just-add-meat” sauce pouches — including in what appliance to prepare them — with seven Skillet Sauces (for example, Beef Stroganoff and Chicken Marsala), eight Slow Cooker Sauces (Beef Stew, Buffalo Chicken) and five Oven Sauces (Classic Roasted Chicken, Sweet Teriyaki Chicken).
What was left? The microwave, of course, and not having to add anything at all. Thus we have 9-ounce microwave pouches of Campbell’s Ready Meals: Homestyle Noodles & Beef in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Creamy Dumplings with Chicken & Vegetables.
But that’s not all. Right next to those two Campbell’s Ready Meals, Campbell’s offers nine Ready Meals from two of its other labels.
From the pasta-sauce department come four Prego Ready Meals (for example, Creamy Three Cheese Alfredo Rotini, Marinara & Italian Sausage Rotini).
And the Southwest is represented by five Pace Ready Meals — not to be confused with the four kinds of Pace canned chili — (for example, Santa Fe Style Steak with Black Beans & Rice, Southwest-Style Chicken with Corn & Beans).
All 11 shelf-stable pouches microwave in 60 seconds.
It’s not necessarily helpful to price-compare pouches of sauce with pouches of ready-to-eat meals, but that doesn’t mean Mr. Tidbit won’t do it:
At one discount store, where the 11-ounce pouches of Campbell’s Skillet Sauces were $2.49 (22.6 cents an ounce), the 12-ounce pouches of Campbell’s Oven Sauces were $2.59 (21.6 cents an ounce), and the 12- or 13-ounce pouches of Campbell’s Slow Cooker Sauces were $2.59 (21.6 or 19.9 cents an ounce), the 9-ounce Campbell’s, Pace and Prego Ready Meals were $2.59 (28.8 cents an ounce).
Mr. Tidbit notes with some concern that by nailing down the oven, skillet, slow-cooker and microwave, Campbell’s hasn’t quite covered the entire cooking-appliance spectrum. At least in some parts of the country, we still might be offered Campbell’s Deep Fryer sauces.
Leggo my oats?
Speaking of blanketing the market, Mr. Tidbit would have said that, although many variations were still possible, the current line of 23 kinds of Eggo frozen waffles probably was enough for utter frozen-waffle domination. He wouldn’t have thought there might be many folks who favor less-processed foods but who might also become convinced to buy frozen waffles, but now there are two flavors of Eggo Oats & Berries waffles, featuring steel-cut oats.