How (slightly) sweet it is
When both of the new items discussed last week — Del Monte Fruit & Veggie Fusions and Dole Mixations — cost no more than the other fruit cups from those firms, Mr. Tidbit was left with an uneasy sensation. One of his very few standing observations is that every new version of an existing grocery product costs more than the original one. To be sure, there have been a few exceptions. But to the best of Mr. Tidbit’s knowledge he had never seen two in the same year, let alone in the same week.
So it was to his great relief to encounter, just a few days later, an item that helps restore balance and predictability to his world.
New Del Monte Fruit Refreshers is yet another collection of shelf-stable plastic cups of fruit. There are four: Mandarin Oranges in Slightly Sweetened Coconut Water, Grapefruit in Guava Flavored Slightly Sweetened Fruit Water, Pineapple in Passion Fruit Flavored Slightly Sweetened Fruit Water, and Grapefruit & Oranges in Pomegranate Flavored Slightly Sweetened Fruit Water.
Before he gets to his point about pricing, Mr. Tidbit must note that because he uses only one type size, the preceding list of Fruit Refreshers makes it more obvious than would a glance at the packages themselves that in two or three cases out of four (you be the judge on one of them) there’s something not exactly straightforward about the nature of the liquid in them:
The coconut water that surrounds the Mandarin orange segments is indeed coconut water — albeit from concentrate (who cares?). However, the liquid in the Pineapple in Passion Fruit is mostly pineapple juice, followed by pineapple sugar (the “slight” sweetening), and then comes passion fruit juice. Is that disingenuous? That one’s your call.
But in both the Grapefruit in Guava and the Grapefruit & Oranges in Pomegranate, the liquid involved is white grape juice (reconstituted and sweetened with sugar), and natural flavor — no guava or pomegranate juice at all.
And, finally, although the shelf price of Fruit Refreshers is the same as that of the other Del Monte fruit cups, those are four-packs of 4-ounce cups (16 ounces total). Fruit Refreshers are two-packs of seven-ounce cups (14 ounces total), so they cost 14 percent more per ounce.