Cross over to cupcake and foam



Flavor to savor

Mr. Tidbit’s jaded reaction to new Fage Crossovers — a tub of Greek yogurt with a little sidecar of mix-ins, totaling 5.3 ounces — was that they are nothing more than Fage’s response to Chobani Flips. (Or maybe that Chobani Flips — a tub of Greek yogurt with a little sidecar of mix-ins, totaling 5.3 ounces — are nothing more than Chobani’s response to Fage Crossovers. Hard to know which startling breakthrough product line preceded which.)

Just because he had nothing else to do, Mr. Tidbit decided to look at the two products’ websites to see how many yogurt/mix-in flavor combinations each firm offers.

Yow! The Chobani Flips website lists 23! And 17 of them have multiple mix-ins. (Apple Crisp Twist, for example, is apple-cinnamon  yogurt with spiced walnuts, cinnamon crunch & glazed pie crust pieces.)

Mr. Tidbit almost walked away from the Fage Crossovers website having learned nothing more than that there are 11 flavors and that each involves only a single mix-in. That’s when he noticed what might really be a startling breakthrough:

Several of the yogurt flavors are savory, not sweet. There’s Coconut Curry yogurt with roasted cashews, Tomato Basil yogurt with roasted almonds, Olive Thyme yogurt with roasted almonds and Carrot Ginger yogurt with roasted pistachios.

Mr. Tidbit suspects that your average supermarket won’t be in a hurry to push more-traditional yogurts off the shelf in favor of Tomato Basil .

And he can hardly wait for the next advance. His money is on Hamburger yogurt with caramelized onions.


mmm. Cupcake!

Mr. Tidbit couldn’t tell, at first, whether new Vanilla Cupcake m&ms are an Easter gimmick, a “limited edition” gimmick or a year-round gimmick. The pastel coatings shown in the illustration on the bag (Mr. Tidbit found Vanilla Cupcake only in the giant eight-ounce bags, not in single-serving bags) suggest spring, if not specifically Easter. The headline on a relatively small illustration on the back of the bag supplied clarification: “Easter is Better with m.”

Perhaps someone can explain to Mr. Tidbit what Easter has to do with vanilla. Or with cupcakes, for that matter.


Foam at home

Good news for folks who want a latte and have been forced to trudge to a coffee shop to get it: International Delight has applied Reddi Wip technology to coffee creamer. The result is One Touch Latte “frothing coffee creamer.” Shake, point the spout into your not-full cup of coffee and press for five seconds. There you go!

At one store the seven-serving One Touch Latte (vanilla, caramel or mocha) was $3.99 — 57 cents per foamy serving.


Sausage and cheesecake. (Mmmm!)



The Dean of Sausage piles it on

Every once in a while, the appearance of a new grocery product directs Mr. Tidbit’s faltering attention to how very many quite similar products from that same brand are already on the shelf.

Take Jimmy Dean sausage’s substantial presence in the freezer case. Before he gets to the two new items, Mr. Tidbit feels a need to convey just how substantial that presence is. At the Jimmy Dean website he found these Jimmy Dean sausage items (although probably no supermarket carries them all):

13 fresh sausage: links, patties, bulk (various seasonings)

19 cooked sausage: links, patties and crumbles, ditto

24 sandwiches: various ingredient combinations on croissants, biscuits, English muffins, bagels, pancakes, flatbread and French toast

10 Breakfast Bowls (combinations of eggs, potatoes, sausage, cheese, etc.)

14 Delights (light versions of some sandwiches and bowls;

5 pancakes & sausage (some on a stick)

2 skillets (like Breakfast Bowls but you add the eggs)

2 omelets

2 frittatas

That’s 91 offerings!

And now there are three kinds of Jimmy Dean Stuffed Hashbrowns. They come four to the box, each with its own microwave crisping sleeve. Choices (inside the hashbrowns) are: Sausage & Cheese (sausage, Cheddar & mozzarella cheese); Bacon & Veggies (bacon, tomatoes, peppers, onions, Cheddar & mozzarella cheese), and Meat Lovers (sausage, ham, bacon, Cheddar & mozzarella cheese).

Plus there’s new French Toast & Sausage on a stick. There appears to be only one flavor: cinnamon. How is French Toast & Sausage on a stick different from Pancakes & Sausage on a stick? The 30-ounce boxes of 12 pancakes on a stick were $7.99 at one store, where the 30-ounce boxes of 12 French Toast on a stick were $8.99.

So it’s now 95 items.

Mr. Tidbit is hoping they’ll make it 100 with five kinds of Sausage Sandwiches on Naan.



Convenience comes to cheesecake

  Sara Lee makes several versions of frozen cheesecake. But apparently there’s a problem: What if you can’t eat a 17- or 19-ounce cheesecake in one sitting?

Got you covered! Now there are handy individual


(somewhat undersized) slices of both the classic and strawberry-topped versions. (The tray makes the slice look a little bigger than it is.) At a store where the 17-ounce Classic cheesecake was $5.79 (34 cents an ounce), the 2.5-ounce single slice was $1.99 (72 cents an ounce — more than double)!

Or you could slice the full-size cheesecake.


A cup of granola and a biscuit of coffee


Granola crosses the line

Clearly aware that we already have umpteen brands of granola bars in every conceivable combination of ingredients and textures, yet needing to push yet another product face or two onto the supermarket shelf, the folks at General Mills’ Nature Valley have burst into a whole new universe of possible presentations: Shape!

Yes, instead of the pleasant but boring rectangle, we are now free to select Nature Valley Granola Cups — cookie-size circles of granola with sides built up to about half an inch high, containing your choice of two fillings. There’s Peanut Butter Chocolate (peanut butter filling topped with a few peanut bits and — “dipped in” is hardly accurate; “sprayed with” might be closer — chocolate, and Almond Butter (almond butter, almond chips, no chocolate).

Now that the circle has entered the ring, so to speak, Mr. Tidbit fears that the shackles are off and we will soon see other shapes (Granola Hearts at Valentine’s Day, Granola Santas at Christmas, perhaps even Granola Dreidels at Hanukkah.


Wake up and smell the Snackwell’s


Mr. Tidbit suddenly wondered, a while ago, what had happened to Nabisco Snackwell’s Devil’s Food Cookie Cakes, the marshmallow-and-chocolate-covered cookie-size cakes that were perhaps the most prominent face of the fat-free craze of the early 1990s. He certainly hadn’t noticed them on a recent scan of the Nabisco shelf space.

Well, they hadn’t disappeared. It turns out that Mondelez, which was once part of what we used to call Kraft, which owned Nabisco, sold the Snackwell’s line in 2013 to Back to Nature Foods. Thus the Snackwell’s items are no longer positioned with the Oreos and Newtons. Armed with that knowledge, Mr. Tidbit rediscovered them on a very low shelf (at least at two stores).

And beside them was a brand-new Snackwell’s item (and the only excuse for that very long introduction). It’s Snackwell’s Biscuit Thins, in three flavors: French Vanilla Latte, Caramel Macchiato and Dark Chocolate Mocha, all “made with real coffee.”

Mr. Tidbit doesn’t know why they aren’t called “breakfast biscuits” the way so many similar products are. They follow Mr. Tidbit’s interpretation of the term — a thin, rectangular cookie-like item not quite sweet enough to be a cookie, packed in pouches of four (typically five pouches to the box).

FYI, the Caramel Macchiato version, which Mr. Tidbit bought, smells like actual coffee smells, and tastes a little like actual coffee tastes. (Give it a break! The first ingredient is whole grain oat flour.)


Looking at Peeps from both sides now


Peeps Oreos

It’s been just two months since Chocolate Strawberry Oreos appeared, but Easter is hard upon us (at least it is for those in the candy and cookie biz; for the rest of humanity, Easter is almost six weeks away) so some kind of Easter-related Oreo would seem to be necessary.

And here it is: Peeps Oreos — Golden Oreo wafers separated by two patties of Pepto-Bismol-pink “Marshmallow Peeps flavor creme — artificially flavored.”

Leaving aside the relatively recent varieties of flavored Peeps, Mr. Tidbit has never thought that the original Marshmallow Peeps had any flavor at all, beyond sugar. The filling in these Marshmallow Peeps Oreos, he must acknowledge, does taste quite a bit like marshmallow, but (and Mr. Tidbit bought a small pack of yellow ones, just to be sure) Marshmallow Peeps don’t taste anywhere near as much like marshmallow as Peeps Oreos do.


Other Peeps


Speaking of flavored Peeps, this year’s list of 12 Peep’s Delights (larger Peeps with bottoms dipped in something interesting, sold in 1.5-ounce packs of three — typically priced the same as a 4.5-ounce pack of 15 regular Peeps) seems even longer to Mr. Tidbit than last year’s, although he didn’t keep a record of the 2016 offerings, so he can’t be sure. This year there are:

Regular Peep, dark chocolate dip.   Regular Peep, milk chocolate dip.  Coconut flavor Peep, dark chocolate dip.   Blueberry flavor Peep, dark chocolate dip.  Strawberry flavor Peep, creme flavor fudge dip. Vanilla flavor Peep, creme flavor fudge dip.  Lemon flavor Peep, lemon fudge dip.  Orange flavor Peep, orange fudge dip.  Chocolate Mousse flavor Peep, milk chocolate dip. Raspberry flavor Peep, creme flavor fudge dip (only at Target).  Chocolate flavor Peep, filled with a ribbon of chocolate ganache, chocolate dip (only at Target). Vanilla flavor Peep, filled with a ribbon of caramel, milk chocolate dip (only at Target).

Did Mr. Tidbit fail to mention that there appear to be 15 flavors of regular Peeps? The list includes Cotton Candy (only at Walmart), Bubble Gum (only at Walmart), Fruit Punch, Sour Lemon-Lime Twist, Party Cake, and more.

Too many more.

Dear friends: Last Saturday would have been my son Joe’s 46th birthday. He died in a seven-story fall from his college dorm room in Madison, Wis., in 1989. He had taken LSD; he was 18.

Hug your kids.


Al Sicherman