There’s smart, and then there’s naked


This one really smarts

Smart Ones, the frozen entree line from Heinz (now Kraft Heinz) has introduced SmartMade, a new line of frozen entrees that joins the “ingredients you can pronounce” and “no artificial flavors or preservatives” parade. Those two claims, combined, make up the only meaningful one of four elements of the package’s “SmartMade Promise.” The others are “Made the way you do at home,” “Made with cooking techniques that bring more flavor to food — like grilling and roasting,” and (maybe count this as halfway meaningful) “Made with smart ingredient swaps that do not compromise taste.”  In the White Wine Chicken & Couscous entree that Mr. Tidbit bought, the package highlights “Smart swap of couscous for white rice.” He’s not sure why that’s “smart,” but he’s willing to let it go.

He notes that SmartMade does not make what is often the third leg of the “simplicity” claim: fewer ingredients. There didn’t seem to be any closely parallel items in the Smart Ones and SmartMade universes, so to compare with the White Wine Chicken & Couscous, Mr. Tidbit gave up and picked at random the Smart Ones Creamy Basil Chicken with Broccoli. Not very similar, but he’s willing to forgive himself on that one too. The Smart Ones item had 22 ingredients — including spelling out the parenthetical ones. The SmartMade entree had 34.

  The regular line of Smart Ones is cobranded by Weight Watchers; that doesn’t seem to be the case for SmartMade, but Mr. Tidbit isn’t sure that’s significant; it’s not as if the SmartMade stuff is full of pork sausage and whipped cream. In fact, of his admittedly unparallel choices, the Smart Ones Creamy Basil Chicken with Broccoli had significantly more fat, saturated fat and sodium than the SmartMade White Wine Chicken & Couscous.

Virtually all the varieties in both lines weigh in at 9 ounces. The biggest difference: At the supermarket where he bought them, The Smart Ones entree was $2.19; the SmartMade item was $3.69, a startling 68 percent more.


The naked truth

Godiva enters the upscale single-serve candy bar market with the Double Chocolate Bar, a small (1.2-ounce) bar described on the label as a “layer of cocoa biscuit & chocolate ganache in milk chocolate”), priced at $1.29 at one supermarket. The ingredient list had two noteworthy entries: The bar includes hazelnuts (surprisingly unclaimed on the front label), and the second entry (after sugar, of course) is palm oil.

Also surprising to Mr. Tidbit was “Product of Turkey.” Had Mr. Tidbit been paying attention, he would have noticed that Campbell’s Soup, which owned Godiva since 1967, sold it to Istanbul-based Yildiz Holding in 2007.





Al Sicherman

Author: Al Sicherman

Al Sicherman and his used dog, Gus, live in Minneapolis. Al is on the left/

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